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Pundits & Editorials

Will calls Rand Paul "extreme," and Rep. Paul Ryan critiques financial reform. Plus: Is "anti-incumbent fever" misdiagnosed?

• Republicans "are nominating strange and extreme candidates," writes George F. Will. "Their Exhibit A is Rand Paul, winner of Kentucky's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate."

• "This week's victory by Rand Paul highlights the effectiveness of his congressman father's insurgent political operation and the resonance of his combination of libertarian and conservative ideas. With the support of the Tea Party movement, these grass-roots activists proved that their enthusiasm was worth far more than endorsements from Washington insiders," commends the Washington Times.


• "The financial services sector needs reform -- yet the overhaul before Congress exacerbates the worst aspects of today's system. Washington is attempting to solve every problem with greater government control, and higher spending, taxes, and record levels of debt -- breathing new life into crony capitalism across our economy," writes Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., on

• "The idea that anti-incumbent fever, striking equally at Democrats and Republicans, is the defining feature of the 2010 election is as misguided as last year's notion that President Obama's oratory would tilt the nation in favor of his ambitious agenda," remarks Fred Barnes in the Wall Street Journal (subscription). Instead, Barnes attributes the results of Tuesday's primaries to an "anti-Obama" climate.

• "Republicans who were already planning their Nancy Pelosi retirement galas for November may want to cancel the caterer. The GOP lost the most important election that was held on Tuesday, and if it fails to learn from the experience the party will lose in the autumn too," warns the Wall Street Journal.


• Sen. Arlen Specter's "failure showed the Obama White House once again to be a toothless tiger -- with its endorsements now having failed in Virginia, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. No good news for the president there," observes David S. Broder.

• "The GOP would be better off if Mr. Specter had won. The weaknesses that became apparent in the primary would have doomed him in the fall. The race now, pitting former GOP Congressman Pat Toomey against Congressman Joe Sestak, will be among the country's hardest fought races," predicts Karl Rove.

• "My best guess is that we're entering a period in which anti-incumbent fervor will become the default attitude of an electorate whose economic prospects have dimmed. This is not just because of the recession. Even after steady economic growth resumes, more and more Americans will find themselves struggling," suggests Matt Miller.

• "In Arizona -- nobody's idea of a liberal state -- voters supported a temporary increase in the sales raise $1 billion annually. This, coupled with a large tax increase on businesses and high-income earners endorsed by voters in Oregon earlier this year, suggests a pragmatic electorate that is far less reflexively opposed to taxes or government than Tea Party cheerleaders would have us believe," argues E.J. Dionne Jr.


• Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal "could be forgiven for not wanting to go to Vietnam and taking steps to avoid service there. What's not forgivable is his audacious claim that he deserves praise, not criticism, at this moment of exposure," admonishes the Washington Post.

• "In an attempt at damage control, the attorney general called a news conference at which he cynically surrounded himself with supportive vets," observes USA Today. "Give us a break. He lied, and those 'few misplaced words' are a grievous insult to those who did serve and fight in Vietnam."

• Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin "seems to have stopped dancing around it and finally claimed" the feminist label "as her partner," writes Meghan Daum. "Granted, this is a conditional relationship; there's a qualifier here as big as Alaska. She's talking not about your mom's or Gloria Steinem's feminism but, as she put it, an 'emerging, conservative, feminist' identity.

• "The number of states jointly suing to overturn the new health care reform law on constitutional grounds swelled to 20 last week," observes the New York Times. "It is the latest example of conservatives' determination to thwart reforms that will do enormous good -- and the latest reminder that politicians will continue to posture and demagogue the issue through the November elections and beyond."

• "Family planning has stalled since the 1980s. Republican administrations cut off all American financing for the United Nations Population Fund, the main international agency supporting family-planning programs," laments Nicholas D. Kristof. "Paradoxically, conservative hostility to some family-planning programs almost certainly resulted in more abortions."

• "The new U.N. resolution won't stop Iran's nuclear program any more than the previous three did," contends David Ignatius. "The United States and its allies will top up the U.N. sanctions with some tougher measures of their own, but those won't be enough to halt Tehran either."

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