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Pundits & Editorials

Harvard Medical School dean says health care reform will fail, while Stupak defends his anti-abortion rights amendment. Plus: Is Obama's star fading?

Michael Barone senses that "Barack Obama is beginning to encounter limits on his ambition to change the world. Even as he bowed to the king of Saudi Arabia last April and to the emperor of Japan last week, the world refuses to bow back."

• "Despite all this Asia trip fanfare, the truth is, America is foundering beneath Obama's sizzle. The world doubts America's ability to achieve objectives that it has set for itself," argues Steve Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation, in Politico.


• "The China that has emerged since trade relations were normalized has become not just an economic giant but the planet's leading protectionist power," Harold Meyerson laments. "By artificially depressing its currency and making its exports cheaper, China is compelling other nations to erect trade barriers."

• Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich., defends the anti-abortion rights amendment he added to the House health care bill in Politico.

• In the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Medical School Dean Jeffrey S. Flier gives the health care bill a "failing grade" because "while the legislation would enhance access to insurance, the trade-off would be an accelerated crisis of health-care costs and perpetuation of the current dysfunctional system--now with many more participants."


• Pro-choice Ruth Marcus urges people to "dispense with three fallacies swirling about the question of abortion coverage in health-care reform. Two are being peddled by antiabortion forces. One, perhaps the most relevant, is being pushed by the pro-choice side."

• "What passes for a joke on Capitol Hill these days is that Bernie Madoff, given his experience managing Ponzi schemes, should be put in charge of the federal budget," the Wall Street Journal notes. "Nancy Pelosi & Co. seem to have taken it as a serious suggestion."

• The drug industry's "rapid price escalation over the past year threatens to make a mockery of its" health care "deal with the Senate Finance Committee and the Obama administration," the New York Times maintains. The editorial board thinks the deal "should be abandoned in favor of the much tougher demands in the reform bill passed by the House."

Michael Boskin asserts that "it would be far better to junk part of the remaining stimulus in favor of a one-year partial payroll tax cut," which Boskin says would better curb unemployment.


• "Either the opponents of a serious energy/climate bill with a price on carbon don't care about our being addicted to oil and dependent on petro-dictators forever or they really believe that we will not be adding 2.5 billion more people who want to live like us, so the price of oil won't go up very far and, therefore, we shouldn't raise taxes to stimulate clean, renewable alternatives and energy efficiency," writes self-proclaimed "clean-energy hawk" Thomas Friedman.

• Former military official James A. Lyons takes cap-and-trade proponents to task in the Washington Times for arguing the system would help national security interests. He says instead that "there will be a significant adverse impact on our military forces."

• While opponents argue that a civilian trial of 9/11-mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammad would give him a "soapbox," Steven Simon, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, contends in the New York Times that "if the trial provides a propaganda platform for anybody, it will be for our side."

Michael Gerson charges that Attorney General Eric Holder is "the most destructive member of" Obama's Cabinet because his "liberal principles have become 'detached' from the real-world struggle against terrorism."

Maureen Dowd learns from Sarah Palin what it's like to be "the lovely avatar of real Americans -- ordinary, hard-working, God-fearing, common-sense, good, ordinary, real Americans."

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