- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 17, 2009



The following are excerpts from editorials that ran in other newspapers:

Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, on President-elect Obama’s economic stimulus plan:President-elect Barack Obama is right to want Congress to move quickly on his economic stimulus plan.

But not too fast.

The confusion following the $750 billion financial industry bailout bill is evidence enough that Obama – not to mention taxpayers – can’t afford to rush into place a bill that isn’t properly thought out.

Yes, many economists say speed is of the essence; in an economy slowing daily, getting the stimulus circulating as fast as possible is crucial to arresting the decline short of a depression. …

But the same warnings and demands for speed preceded the previous bailout. And now we clearly see that it was poorly thought out, and there were not enough safeguards to ensure the money would be used as intended; worse, officials handling it seemed to change their minds about how to use it every week.

So while we agree that this bill should not be unnecessarily delayed, we’re talking about $800 billion or more over two years; you can’t draw that up on the back of an envelope. Congress, and Obama’s administration, need time to ensure that the money is properly targeted. …

On the Net:


Daily Record, Parsippany, N.J., on U.S. troops in Iraq and beer: The nation’s top military commander in Iraq, Raymond T. Odierno, has his roots in Morris County. And we’re proud to commend the Rockaway Township native for an order he recently issued: It allows U.S. troops to drink beer.

There is a catch, of course. Troops are limited to two beers per person and they only will have the privilege on Super Bowl Sunday. …

The order marks the first time all American service members in Iraq will be allowed to break the ban on liquor in combat zones without risking being court-martialed.

“Feels good to be trusted!” Spc. Justin Roark, 23, of Little Rock, Ark., told the Washington Post. “Keeping in touch with an American tradition.” Indeed.

History tells us that beer was part of the rations for troops in George Washington’s Continental Army. Odierno’s in good company.

On the Net:


The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky., on President Bush and protecting marine ecosystems: … The President has created three new marine monuments in the Pacific, covering 195,210 square miles, including the Mariana Trench, the deepest place on Earth, as well as ecosystems that include hundreds of corals, fish, birds and other creatures. It could have been bigger, but let’s not quibble. It deters mining for minerals and limits fishing, while protecting indigenous activities and military presence there.

For a chief executive whose demonstrable record on an array of environmental issues is abysmal, and whose administration’s relationship with science has been rocky at best, this is most welcome – if almost unbelievable – news. … Bush said his consciousness about marine life was raised … after a White House showing of a documentary film by Jean-Michel Cousteau and a lecture by marine biologist Sylvia Earle of the National Geographic Society.

We wish other explorers, scientists and experts had had similar impact on the President and his actions, on everything from global warming to pre-emptive war. But we will park that snark for now and salute this unlikely protector of vast spreads of ocean frontier.

Well done in the deep blue, Mr. President.

On the Net:


Los Angeles Times, on Attorney General nominee Eric Holder: When Eric H. Holder Jr. comes before the Senate Judiciary Committee … for confirmation as U.S. attorney general, he needn’t worry about a challenge to his qualifications. The panel has been deluged with testimonials to his intellect, integrity and experience. The harder question for Holder is whether his role as an advisor to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign will hamper him in restoring trust to the Justice Department after its politicization by the Bush administration. …

At another point in U.S. history, it would be unremarkable for a president to install a political advisor as attorney general. Sometimes, as with Robert F. Kennedy, presidential intimates have discharged their duties at Justice in a disinterested way. Others have placed their loyalty above the law - in the case of John Mitchell, President Nixon’s attorney general, to the point of committing crimes. … The burden on Holder is to convince the Senate that he won’t be a kinder, gentler (and smarter) Alberto R. Gonzales.

On one issue - Holder’s involvement in President Clinton’s pardon of fugitive financier Marc Rich - that promise must accompany an explanation of why he didn’t try to thwart an outrageous abuse of executive power. But that error isn’t disqualifying if Holder can demonstrate that he has learned a lesson and recognizes that the attorney general is the people’s lawyer, not the president’s lawyer. …

On the Net:


Austin (Texas) American-Statesman, on the end of the Bush administration: Few presidents leave the Oval Office hoisted upon the shoulders of a grateful, cheering American public, but usually there is at least some standing applause and thanks. That is not how it will be next week for President George W. Bush, and that is sad for the American people.

Bush leaves office with some of the lowest approval ratings in the history of presidential polling, thanks to the war in Iraq, the bungling of Hurricane Katrina relief, the collapse of the financial markets and more.

His supporters say that, like President Harry S. Truman, who also left office under deep disapproval, the verdict on his presidency will improve as Americans gain more perspective. Perhaps.

It seems more likely that Bush’s reputation will never fully recover, that, like President Richard Nixon or President Lyndon B. Johnson, his presidency’s failures will overwhelm any achievements that can be cited. …

We’re disappointed and surprised by Bush’s performance as president. Nothing in his record as governor of Texas suggested that he would so badly handle the job of president and that he would try to take the nation so far to the right politically. He governed here as a moderately conservative Republican and campaigned under the same colors for president. …

This page endorsed Bush in 2000 and 2004 based on what we knew at the time, not only about him but his opponents. He won office in 2000 in an election marred by the Florida vote count controversy. The American people gave him a solid, if unspectacular, victory in 2004.

But we don’t deny the obvious: Bush as president failed, and that failure has hurt the nation.

On the Net:


The Blade, Toledo, Ohio, on President-elect Barack Obama’s choice for director of the Central Intelligence Agency:Leon Panetta, President-elect Barack Obama’s unconventional choice for director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is being criticized for what he isn’t. He should be praised for what he is.

What he isn’t is someone who has had a long military or national security career, which some politicians and pundits have deemed to be essential in a CIA chief. Why this should be so isn’t obvious.

The CIA is a large bureaucracy that does specialized work, as do many other bureaucracies in government and the private sector headed by knowledgeable directors who are nonprofessionals in the relevant field. For this job, intelligence experience is certainly helpful but isn’t necessarily essential. A sweeping insider’s knowledge of government with a record of sound managerial judgment and achievement – which Mr. Panetta has in spades – should also count for a lot. … The praise for what Mr. Panetta is should be loudest for this: Unlike some others who may have been natural candidates for the job, Mr. Panetta has clean hands and is on record as opposing the use of torture, America’s recent shame.

Those hands can lift the stature of the CIA if the critics are confounded and he is confirmed.

On the Net:


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