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Legacy Content / EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Tim Rutten despairs about the boorishness of public discourse, while Thomas Frank tells Democrats to fight back. Plus: Tom DeLay's "redemption tango."

September 23, 2009

• Prompted by the "You lie!" episode of two weeks ago, Tim Rutten asks how American society became so rude. "Actually," he argues, "our recent descent into boorishness didn't begin on the political platform but on the stage -- not with our politicians but with our stand-up comics."

Thomas Frank doesn't understand why Democrats are so afraid of "scary rhetoric" from the right. "Why not give back as good as you get?" he asks. "Why not simply beat the other side instead of complaining tearfully that they play too rough?"

• "Undermine our allies. Embolden our enemies. Diminish our country. Those nine words define the Obama doctrine with respect to American security policy," Frank J. Gaffney Jr. opines.


• If President Obama "seeks enlightenment as to why his health care initiative is sinking along with his job approval numbers, he need only look at the results of a little-noticed Gallup poll released this week," Monica Crowley argues. "Every September since 2001, Gallup has polled on a series of questions related to the size and activism of government. The results from this September indicate widespread disapproval of large-scale government intervention."

• "Together," the United States and China "can lead the way to an effective global response to this clear global threat," the New York Times declares. "Or together they can mess things up royally."

Thomas Friedman sees a tiny opening for diplomacy in Iran over that country's nuclear program.

• Cataloging the administration's education reform efforts, Ruth Marcus gives Obama high marks.

George Will blasts Obama's tire tariff as short sighted.

• Obama's decision not to meet with the Dalai Lama shows a split in the administration, explains Michael Gerson. "It includes some very principled, liberal defenders of human rights such as U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and National Security Council staffer Samantha Power. But it seems dominated, for the moment, by those who consider the human rights enterprise as morally arrogant and an obstacle to mature diplomacy."

• The participation of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, in the newest season of "Dancing With The Stars" is "certainly a blazing reminder that in our lowbrow-loving, no-attention-span culture, most any scoundrel can do the redemption tango simply by being a good sport," observes Maureen Dowd.

• ACORN's "unraveling" is long overdue, Kathleen Parker argues.

• Obama should address Republicans' concerns about his large coterie of czars, Roll Call advises.

• "For all the grass-roots pose, net neut has always been a weapon in the hands of status-quo companies trying to protect themselves against technological change," Holman W. Jenkins Jr. opines. "First AOL, now Google: A lot of things may be new under the sun, but regulatory incentives aren't one of them."

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