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Pundits & Editorials

Noonan argues that Obama is disconnected from voters. Plus: Axelrod jousts with Rove over the fiscal responsibility of the Bush and Obama administrations.

• "We're at the first anniversary of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, and the slug, the word that captures its essence, is 'Disconnect,'" remarks Peggy Noonan. "There is a disconnect, a detachment, a distance between the president's preoccupations and the concerns of the people."

• In the Washington Post, Obama senior adviser David Axelrod responds to an accusation by Karl Rove that the Democrats will run up more debt by October than the Bush administration did during eight years.


• In hearings on Capitol Hill, "bankers' testimony showed a stunning failure, even now, to grasp the nature and extent of the current crisis," Paul Krugman maintains. "And that's important: It tells us that as Congress and the administration try to reform the financial system, they should ignore advice coming from the supposed wise men of Wall Street, who have no wisdom to offer."

• When "a major earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 struck the Bay Area in Northern California" in 1989, "sixty-three people were killed," writes David Brooks. "This week, a major earthquake, also measuring a magnitude of 7.0, struck near Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The Red Cross estimates that between 45,000 and 50,000 people have died." Brooks says the difference in death tolls is caused by poverty.

• "The tragedy that has crushed Haiti was made not by God but by man," Roosevelt University's Charles M. Madigan remarks in the Chicago Tribune. "Any honest assessment of what has happened must recognize that Haiti was a disaster weeks, months, days, hours, minutes before the earthquake hit. The quake did nothing more than make us look at it and make us aware of the level of despair that defined the place."


• The New York Times wishes the "administration had found the courage, in this emergency, to take a basic but politically difficult step -- to grant temporary protected status to undocumented Haitians in the United States."

• "The Obama administration has balked at helping tens of thousands of Haitians currently here illegally by granting them temporary legal status, which would enable them to get work permits," writes the Washington Post. "Mr. Obama should immediately extend it to Haitians so they can help their quake-stricken relatives at home."

• "Nearly a year after Obama's inauguration, judging by where the Democrats stand today, it's clear that they have made a colossal miscalculation," Charlie Cook declares. He says they should have focused more on the economy.

• "It didn't seem unusual that the leader of the Republican Party would come out with a book titled 'Right Now: A 12-Step Program for Defeating the Obama Agenda.' But it was bizarre -- and, to some Republican officials, infuriating -- that [Michael] Steele would spring this project on the party without bothering to tell anyone it was coming," writes Eugene Robinson.


• In Massachusetts, Scott Brown promises to be a maverick in the Senate should he be elected, but Scot Lehigh thinks that "even as a candidate, Brown hasn't displayed the courage such a doughty role would require."

• "A Republican breakthrough in Massachusetts would signal that the country might indeed be headed for a populist eruption in November," Bill Schneider suggests.

• "A loophole in existing law allows manufacturers of brand-name drugs to pay competitors to keep cheaper, generic versions off the market. If there's to be health-care reform this year, it ought to close that loophole," argues the Washington Post.

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