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EARLYBIRD

Pundits & Editorials

Dodd, Dorgan retirements could mark a trend, a 'thunderclap' or more. Plus: Mukasey wants failed terrorist interrogated.

• In the Wall Street Journal, former Attorney General Michael Mukasey argues that had failed terrorist Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab "been turned over immediately to interrogators intent on gathering intelligence, valuable facts could have been gathered and perhaps acted upon."

• "Democrats Chris Dodd, Byron Dorgan and Bill Ritter announced Wednesday that yes, they can get out of politics before the voters ride them out," writes the Chicago Tribune. "It's pretty clear what's going on. There's a great unease about the direction of the country and discontent about its political leadership."

 

• "Something odd is happening to the permanent progressive majority that the U.S. was supposed to have elected 14 months ago: Its Members are announcing plans to leave Congress even before the voters get a chance to pass judgment on their liberal governance," remarks the Wall Street Journal.

• "Until recently, all I knew about" Dorgan "was that he was a populist from North Dakota who had once been named Person of the Year by the durum wheat growers. Now he is the center of the universe," quips Gail Collins.

E.J. Dionne Jr. calls Dorgan's retirement a "thunderclap" moment because "not even the most optimistic Democrats think their party can escape losing seats. But with so many states now unexpectedly in play, surprise Democratic victories could offset some Republican gains."

 

• "What Republicans can rejoice over is the retirement of" Dorgan," Margaret Carlson says. "North Dakota will almost definitely revert to its natural red state."

• "Dodd's retirement announcement on Wednesday had that rarest of traits in modern politics: a note of honesty," observes Dana Milbank.

• The New York Times cautions that "Dodd's decision to not seek re-election in November could be a fatal blow to meaningful financial regulatory reform -- or a desperately needed boost. It depends on what he does now."

Karl Rove maintains that the administration's "huge spending surge" during the latter part of the year shows that "Obama rigged the game by giving himself plenty of room to look tough on spending" when he focuses on deficit reduction later this year.

 

• "The current crisis reflects not the failure of capitalism, but the failure of the people running capitalism to understand how it works. This is bound to affect how we get out of the mess," Derek Scott, economic adviser to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, explains in the Financial Times.

• The Wall Street Journal complains that guidance is needed for states applying to "Race To The Top" education funding because it's unclear whether the Obama administration is "going to side with school reformers" or if it will "reward state and local teachers union affiliates that defend the status quo."

USA Today examines reasons why the crime rate continues to drop while also warning that "crime will no doubt go back up" if budgets fail to make public safety a priority.

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• The declining crime rate doesn't mean that "decades worth of evidence about the unmistakable connection between poverty and criminal behavior can be ignored," Andrew Karmen, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, counters in USA Today's opposing view.

• The Boston Globe warns that "the Obama administration will risk forfeiting any claim to leadership in green energy if Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar does not quickly resolve the last sticking point in the Cape Wind plan: the poorly grounded finding by an Interior official that the wind turbines' site on Nantucket Sound is significant enough to local Wampanoag tribes to be eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places."

• Uganda's anti-homosexuality bill "is barbaric," protests the Washington Post. "That it is even being considered puts Uganda beyond the pale of civilized nations."

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