There are two columns in today’s Washington Post that continue the debate about the wisdom of Congress’s plan to retroactively tax bonuses paid to companies receiving financial assistance from the U.S. government under its Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).  Anyone who’s been reading my postings of the last several days will know my views on the subject.  The two Post columns go further than the AIG bonus debate, however, and lodge more broadly substantial criticism of Congress and the Administration.  The perspectives come from the right, George F. Will, and the center-left, Richard Cohen.  There is much truth in both columns, which is to say, again, that I am in substantial agreement with both.  While one expects a strong critique from Will, one does not expect it from Cohen, making it all the more salient.  He is critical, although subtly, of Nancy Pelosi, acknowledging clear strengths but pointing out clear dangers to the President of abdicating too much control to her. 

I continue to believe that unless reined in, Nancy Pelosi and her left-leaning cohorts have the potential to sink Mr. Obama.  Cohen, citing Charlie Cook, concludes that Obama is beginning to slip in the polls, with a notable loss of independents.  The loss of political independents is a bad sign.  (The Cook column, Are Independents Hedging Their Bet?, from which Cohen apparently got his information is a most valuable-read.)  It is a sign of a backlash against liberals.  It is a sign of the country beginning to see merit in divided government.  For Obama, it signals that he needs to control the Pelosi House of Representatives in order to stave off a Republican resurgence in the next election.  That’s what many of us thought that was one of the reasons that Obama selected Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff — to keep Pelosi and the House under control.  Well, he clearly hasn’t been doing it.

The George Will column is entitled The Toxic Assets We Elected and the Richard Cohen piece, With Friends Like Pelosi…