- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 24, 2009



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

Houston Chronicle, on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s adherence to nonviolence as a tactic in the midst of the often bloody confrontations of the ‘60s and his optimism that it could eventually win African-Americans their full civil rights won him a Nobel Peace Prize and carried him beyond assassination to greatness.

… (W)e celebrate the life of a man who worked within his own troubled times to create a future in which Americans of any ethnicity, sex or religion would be judged by individual merit, and that from the school house to the court house to the White House, doors would be open to all with the talent and ambition to seek entry.

The Baptist minister often described that future in biblical terms as a dream and a promised land, but his real work was down to earth, with riders boycotting segregated buses, citizens denied the right to vote, and on the last night of his life, striking sanitation workers in Memphis. King may have been a dreamer, but he was also a pragmatic man with a plan.

In one more affirmation of the acuity of King’s vision, Barack Hussein Obama, the son of a mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father, will be sworn into office … as the 44th President of the United States. In a hard-fought primary campaign against Sen. Hillary Clinton and a general election contest with Sen. John McCain, Obama demonstrated qualities reminiscent of the man whose work made his own triumph possible. He too is clearly a man with a plan. …

On the Net:


Paducah (Ky.) Sun, on the presidency of George W. Bush: The cloud of controversy hovered over George W. Bush’s head even before his first inaugural address on Jan. 20, 2001. He thanked his opponent, Vice President Al Gore, “for a contest conducted with spirit and ended with grace.”

Bush was well aware that many Gore supporters were convinced the veep had won. Controversy surrounded the results of the decisive vote in Florida, which Bush carried by the thinnest of margins. …

But that didn’t change the widespread perception that Bush had “stolen” the election. And even if he didn’t, it was irrefutable that Gore won the popular vote nationwide. Bush won the electoral college.

The cloud never left the president. The attacks were relentless. Even now, as Bush relinquishes the reins of power to Barack Obama, pundits are getting in a few last punches. …

Bush inherited a faltering economy, but otherwise the country appeared to be in good shape in 2001. …

As he leaves office, the president’s approval ratings are at a dismal 34 percent, according to two new polls, one by USA Today/Gallup, the other by Fox News. …

In his farewell address, the president admitted mistakes. “You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I have made,” he said. “But I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.”

Indeed. George Bush was a “good person” – compassionate, courageous and honorable. And that’s why we believe history will be kinder to him than the polls.

On the Net:


Albany (N.Y.) Times Union, on President Barack Obama’s inaugural speech: A country deep in its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and at war as well, looked to its first black president to lead the way on an arduous and difficult path to recovery and peace.

President Barack Obama delivered, with a powerful inaugural speech that emphasized personal responsibility and demanded an end to both an era of greed and one in which Americans had failed to make difficult choices.

His tone went beyond the preinaugural focus of prevailing upon Congress to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on government stimulus programs and more federal bailout efforts. …

Recovery will be a collective task, the President made clear, involving not only the government but also the 300 million people served by that government. …

Through it all, in the first moments of his presidency, Mr. Obama, was pragmatic yet unyielding.

“Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter,” he said, harkening back to the days of the American Revolution.

On Day One of the Obama administration, who would dare say that he – and we – can’t prosper accordingly?

On the Net:


Los Angeles Times, on President Obama and same-sex marriage: Pastor Rick Warren, the famous leader of Lake Forest’s Saddleback Church, became a lightning rod in the same-sex marriage controversy when he was chosen to deliver the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration. Yet he didn’t give his opponents anything to shout about Tuesday, offering a prayer that was short, inspirational and above all uncontroversial. That points up an uncomfortable truth for proponents of gay rights: Warren may not be as big a problem as the president he blessed.

Warren, who has infuriated many by equating homosexual unions with incest, child molestation and polygamy, is entitled to his religious beliefs. President Obama is too, but … he swore allegiance to a document quite separate from the Bible: the U.S. Constitution, which forbids all forms of discrimination. …

Obama is caught up in semantics, apparently believing that gays and lesbians should be allowed to engage in civil unions with all the rights of marriage, as long as they aren’t called marriages. That’s an evasion that was rightly rejected in May by the California Supreme Court when it overturned a previous ban on same-sex marriage, because such semantic distinctions tend to cast doubt on a union’s legitimacy.

At the time of Obama’s birth in 1961, some states would not have allowed his interracial parents to marry. He, of all people, should know better.

On the Net:


The Chicago Tribune, on last-minute rules issued by the Bush administration: The Bush administration has issued a bevy of last-minute rules governing everything from commercial trucking to factory farming.

One rule makes it easier for companies to dump coal-mining waste into local waterways. Another allows factory farms to exceed air pollution limits. There’s a rule that lets commercial truckers drive for longer stretches without a break, and one that makes the Family and Medical Leave Act harder to use. …

Such rules issued by federal agencies don’t require the approval of Congress. They usually go into effect 30 or 60 days after they’re issued.

Why do this now? Midnight rules allow an outgoing president to extend his legacy and avoid the political consequences he might have faced if they had been issued earlier in his term. …

There is a proposal in the U.S. House to give new administrations more leeway to recast rules set near the end of the previous administration. It’s intended to let Obama trump George W. Bush. It’s unlikely that the bill will be enacted in time to bury the Bush rules – but that shouldn’t stop Congress from passing it. Regardless of who is entering or leaving the White House, a curb on the midnight madness is a good idea. …

On the Net:


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