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Pundits & Editorials

Kathleen Parker implores the GOP to admit they made a mistake in picking Michael Steele. A big reason Steele hasn't been fired is he's black, suggests Clarence Page.

• About that lesbian bondage club expense report, Kathleen Parker writes that "RNC Chairman Michael Steele had absolutely nothing to do with it. Got that? He wasn't there. He doesn't approve of it. Moving on. There's just one problem: RNC and lesbian bondage are now tattooed on the American brain, and the buck stops at the top."

• "What a spectacular meltdown for a once-rising star," observes Margaret Carlson. "All Steele had to do to succeed was raise money and hone a message for a couple of years. He did neither. It's hard to see how he keeps his current job (though he may be too big to fire) much less ever get one of the better ones he was destined for."


• "Exasperated Republican insiders tell me that Steele probably would have been gone by now if the party didn't have such a severe shortage of Republicans-of-color in key positions," reports Clarence Page. "They are not comfortable with looking increasingly like a white party, especially when they have to go up against the country's first black president."

President Obama's "historical significance" as the first black president "almost demands a kind of political narcissism," argues Shelby Steele of the Hoover Institution in the Wall Street Journal. "For him the great appeal of massive health-care reform -- when jobs are a far more pressing problem -- may have been its history-making potential."

Katrina vanden Heuvel calls the health care bill "a historic reform that isn't strong enough to get the job done" and contends that reality "is characteristic of the Obama administration, a progressive-centrist government in a moment that demands fundamental reform."


• "So the wave of corporate writedowns -- led by AT&T's $1 billion -- isn't caused by ObamaCare after all. The White House claims CEOs are reducing the value of their companies and returns for shareholders merely out of political pique," mocks the Wall Street Journal.

• The "first rhetorical instinct" of modern conservatives is "to seize the mantle of victimhood," complains Thomas Frank (subscription). "This is how modern political genius expresses itself, with even the biggest bullies contorting themselves to claim injury and persecution. No longer do they boast of having speared their defamers; instead they instinctively depict themselves as the skewer-ee, their innocent foreheads wrongly and unfairly pierced."

• "The Obama administration is planning to downgrade America. Now, that might seem harsh or unfair, but it is the inevitable conclusion of comparing the Obama budget with the standards for credit downgrades," opines Douglas Holtz-Eakin, former head of the Congressional Budget Office, in the Financial Times (subscription).

• "We have thousands of U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan and more heading there," asserts Thomas Friedman. "But I still fear that [President Hamid Karzai] is ready to fight to the last U.S. soldier. And once we clear, hold and build Afghanistan for him, he is going to break our hearts."


• The Wall Street Journal (subscription) calls the START agreement "faith-based nonproliferation" that "flies in the face of history. As the U.S. and Russia have drawn down their arsenals the past two decades, the rogues have moved fast to build up theirs."

• "The record speaks for itself: Our criminal justice system is very effective at punishing terrorists," contends Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in the Wall Street Journal (subscription), countering Republicans' "bid to discredit America's federal courts."

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