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Krugman charges that, despite its rhetoric, the GOP is protecting Wall Street. Plus: Will we ever leave Afghanistan?

• "It's a truly shameless performance: [Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.] is pretending to stand up for taxpayers against Wall Street while in fact doing just the opposite," charges Paul Krugman.

• "Still, there's reason for optimism, because as flawed as [Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.]'s bill remains, it has been improving in each draft. Given enough time--and without constant pressure from the Treasury for unlimited bailout powers--this bill could at least minimize the problem of too-big-to-fail banks," commends the Wall Street Journal (subscription).

 

• "One thing can be said about the current debate over the administration's financial regulation plan, or at least Senator Chris Dodd's version: the debate has sharpened the issues so that Dodd, the Democrats, and the administration can no longer hide behind slogans. If the administration thought that the bill could be passed simply because the American people resent Wall Street and the big banks, they may have guessed wrong," contends Peter J. Wallison.

• The Tea Partiers, "it turns out, are more educated than the average American, more reflective of mainstream anxieties than any populist movement in memory and more closely aligned philosophically with the wider electorate than any big-city newsroom in America," remarks David Harsanyi.

• "In a speech at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday, [President Obama] sought -- personally -- to win over his critics, offering a powerful rationale for his plan and some reasonable modifications," commends the New York Times.

 

• "So what was the major breakthrough announced by Obama at the end of the two-day conference? That Ukraine, Chile, Mexico and Canada will be getting rid of various amounts of enriched uranium. What a relief," quips Charles Krauthammer.

• Immigration reform "that provided limited legalization, further strengthened enforcement, and made room for more high-skill immigrants might be the only way to obtain bipartisan support--and could minimize the damage that each party faces from this emotion-laden issue," recommends Michael Barone (subscription).

• "Democrats can avoid the electoral bloodbath we predicted before passage of the health-care bill, but in one way: through a bold commitment to fiscal discipline and targeted fiscal stimulus of the private sector and entrepreneurship," advise pollsters Douglas E. Schoen and Patrick H. Caddell in the Washington Post.

• "Part of the pessimism is explained by the politics of the moment. Republicans, of course, are loath to give President Obama any credit for anything. Democrats don't want to appear insensitive to the unemployed, or to crow too soon. Economists want to be cautious because substantial risk remains," argues USA Today. "But an objective look at the evidence indicates that the green shoots of economic recovery are blossoming nicely."

 

Lawrence Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, counters: "The upshot of all this is not pretty. By the end of 2012 -- more than two years from now -- there is a very real chance that unemployment could still be 8% or higher."

• "Today, politicians literally speak of the 'rights' of people as they attempt to guarantee a certain standard of living for their constituent-subjects," Thomas G. Del Beccaro, Vice Chairman of the California Republican Party, writes in the Washington Times. "Now, it would be one thing if a government could actually guarantee such standards of living, but it cannot."

• "A case to be heard by the Supreme Court on Monday illustrates the deep intellectual and religious prejudices of America's academic elite and has the potential to strike a ferocious blow for -- or against -- religious liberty on university campuses," write Newt Gingrich and Jim Garlow, chairman of Renewing American Leadership, in the Washington Post.

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• To "save the Catholic church," Peggy Noonan (subscription) proposes, the Vatican needs "to let younger generations of priests and nuns rise to positions of authority within a new church. Most especially and most immediately, they need to elevate women."

• "The lessons of history are important. One, surely, is the nightmare of war. Israelis and Palestinians have proved incapable of moving beyond it," remarks Roger Cohen.

• "I can't help but worry that a larger mistake is being made. President Obama soon will have tripled the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan," Eugene Robinson laments. "How many more will die before we leave the country? And what will we have accomplished?"

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