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Flotsam and Jetsam

The Obama administration is adding more names to the long list of exceptions to its anti-lobbyist ethics rules.

Could card check become a decisive issue in the Virginia gubernatorial race this year? The state capitol’s newspaper things so — and blasts the Democratic candidates for recently joining a picket line in this right-to-work state. “The last thing Virginia — or any state — needs now is a monkeywrench the size of card check sticking in the economy’s gears. The November gubernatorial election remains several months away, but on at least this issue the contrast between the candidates could not be more stark.” Yikes.

The Washington Post has a new ombudsman who spends his first column assuring readers he’s going to field their questions and hold reporters accountable. But then he gives the game away at the end, declaring that his job is to be a “‘translator, explaining the new-gathering process.” Hmm. Sounds more like the PR, rapid-response team than the in-house watchdog.

Bill Kristol on the White House’s week: “Well, Rick Santelli really hit a nerve, and that’s why, of course, Robert Gibbs personally denounced it from the White House podium, I think, six times. It’s really a wonderful week for the White House. They’re denouncing a guy who says what he thinks on a private T.V. network, and it happens to get some traders in the Chicago pit applauding him. They denounce the rest of us as a nation of cowards. They’re really, you know, supportive of middle America there, doing its best.”

Boy does Josh Gerstein have this right: “With the U.S. government racing toward $10 trillion in spending and loan guarantees to confront the recession, President Barack Obama on Monday will say it’s time to clamp down on federal expenditures. Huh? Obama’s decision to convene a ‘Fiscal Responsibility Summit’ amid the current bailout bonanza might strike some as an act of sheer chutzpah, or at least some serious cognitive dissonance.” Imagine the ridicule to which a Republican would be subjected if he spent trillions and then had a three-hour fiscal discipline photo-op.

The trap for governors: take the stimulus money and wind up with bigger fiscal problems when the stimulus runs out?

Picking up where Rick Santelli left off, Larry Kudlow argues that if “we penalize the good guys and subsidize the bad ones, we are undermining the moral and economic fabric of this country.” And because this issue is so fundamental and easily understood, the Obama administration must declare that anyone who objects is uninformed or unhinged. A reasoned discussion on the merits? They’d rather not.

Michael Goodwin thinks the public may have reached their breaking point: “The ranks of doubters grew after each of President Obama’s latest bailouts, an $800 billion spending package and a $275 billion plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. That’s more than $1 trillion in just one week, and more cash for banks is expected this week. As taxpayer money is thrown at every hole in the economy, politicians have, in an instant, seized vast new powers to pick winners and losers. . . Life is not fair; we know that. But the bailouts are proving that life is even less fair when the government plays God with your money. It can be a soul-sapping experience.”



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