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Flotsam and Jetsam

No more Misters Nice Guy — Senate Republicans go right after the president and his agenda. Their aim is clearly to go after those who voted for candidate Obama but may be disappointed or even shocked by what they are getting. (Like Maureen Dowd? Well, at least David Brooks.)

How can the Geithner public-private plan for toxic asset purchases work if we still don’t know what they are worth? It really can’t. Which reminds us that they have been having this same discussion for six months now.

In the wake of Arlen Specter’s surprising declaration of opposition to card check, Big Labor and their helpful bloggers try to keep up a brave face. But unless Republicans start leaving the Senate there isn’t a way to 60. (The Maine gals have let their positions be known — “no” on card check.)

Larry Kudlow won’t run for the Senate. Rob Simmons breathes a sigh of relief — he can save his money for the general contest against the embattled Chris Dodd.

Phil Klein describes some of Obama’s magical budget.

Yuval Levin dissects Obama’s unthoughtful approach to stem cell research. (On this and other questions, credit is due to some fairly incisive questions by the media.)

The Washington Post editors look for helpful signs: “Last night, unlike in his original announcement, he referred to “embryos that are typically about to be discarded,” of which many thousands exist in fertility clinics. Does that mean he might draw a line at the creation of embryos for the purpose of research? That’s unclear, but it would be a positive step if his comment means he will decide, rather than leaving to scientists, the question of whether to limit the research to embryos already slated for destruction.” Why do we have to guess? If he had truly thought this through, you’d think he would give an insightful and complete address, like his predecessor did, on this vital subject.

The New York Times reporters miss the good ole days on the campaign trail: “This was Mr. Obama as more enervating than energizing, a reminder of the way he could be in his early days as a presidential candidate, before he became defined by rapturous crowds.”

Obama gets snippy with a reporter for his delay in responding to the AIG bonus debacle. Did it really take him two days to figure out what was going on? Actually he did respond — cheering Congress on and “choking on his anger” — and then reversed course when the mob got unseemly. Understandably, he’s sensitive about a shabby display of non-leadership.

This report dryly notes: “Obama has been criticized for relying heavily on a teleprompter, even for short speeches and brief appearances. Last night, the teleprompter was moved to the back of the room, out of sight of the cameras.” Well, that makes it perfectly okay.

After detailing the mendacious behavior of the president and Congress in the AIG bonus debacle, Holman W. Jenkins, Jr. delivers the final word on Andrew Cuomo: “whose office has been implicitly threatening to publish names of AIG employees who don’t relinquish pay they were contractually entitled to. Mr. Cuomo is a thug, but at least he reminds us: It can happen here.” Indeed.



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