–As Mark reports, the Obama administration’s Afghan war review depicts a fragile effort nonetheless on track for draw-down starting next year. The Times gets a Taliban commander on record saying “the government has the upper hand now” in Kandahar.
–Reince Priebus is the only RNC chair candidate to have more openly declared support than Michael Steele. It looks like someone’s dumping oppo: Tim Mak reports Priebus’s law firm helped clients secure federal stimulus dollars.
–John Cassidy pens a critical, fair and funny farewell to Larry Summers.
–It’s a mistake to read too much into the specifics of one poll, but I think this writeup of a NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey nails the trend:
Mr. Obama retains a strong reservoir of good will, considering the string of bad news that has buffeted his White House…. And while Mr. Obama’s job-approval rating remains at a mediocre 45%, it has stayed relatively steady for a year. While only 35% of independents approve of the job the president is doing, 57% of that group say they are reserving judgment on whether his presidency will succeed or fail.
—Oral arguments begin today in the Florida challenge to health reform.
–Jeffrey Carr suggests Stuxnet may have been a gambit by China to stop Iran’s nuclear program without undermining the relationship with its third largest supplier of oil.
–A good overview of our very ephemeral tax policy from the Wall Street Journal.
–And this photo illustration done by Finlay Mackay for our Person of the Year issue is fabulous:
What did I miss?