Morning Must Reads: Decisions, Decisions

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Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Official White House photo by Pete Souza

–President Obama has decided to delay his trip to Asia, originally scheduled to begin March 18, in order to work on health care. He is now slated to depart March 21. The window is still tight; the House has just nine days before he leaves to pass the Senate bill and the final CBO score has yet to materialize.

–Numerous outlets are reporting Obama plans to select Janet Yellen, the president of the San Fancisco Federal Reserve Bank and a former CEA chair under Clinton, to be Bernanke’s number two. She’s considered an inflation dove, and the left will likely approve of the appointment.

Krugman applauds: “She’ll provide exactly the kind of intellectual flexibility the Fed needs.”

David Rogers disputes yesterday’s widely circulated account that parliamentary rules prevent Congress from voting on a health reform fix before the president signs the Senate bill into law. Over to you, Mr. Frumin.

The New York Times and AP have the latest on health care negotiations, but there isn’t much new to say. No one really knows where Speaker Pelosi’s count stands; as we’ve said before, the real action starts when the CBO scores the final changes.

–Former Democratic presidential pollsters Patrick Caddell (Carter) and Doug Schoen (Clinton) write in today’s Washington Post, “The battle for public opinion has been lost. Comprehensive health care has been lost,” calling the entire endeavor “a march of folly.” The latest in a long line of political operatives — Democrats and Republicans alike — to suggest doing reform piecemeal, they recommend passing popular initiatives (such as outlawing discrimination based on preexisting condition) incrementally, either unaware or unconcerned with the fact that such a plan is completely impossible.  I think they may be overstating the unpopularity of the bill, but it’s hard to say; polls don’t tell us much on such complex policy.

–Vice President Biden, who returns from the Mideast today, is still hoping to secure direct talks between Israelis and Palestinians by summer despite the latest settlement flap.

–A brief follow-up on Joe’s posts on military suicides: David Wood tells the story of a soldier saved from taking his own life by the intervention of a friend. Part of the tragedy in this piece is that any soldier in such a circumstance would feel hesitant to seek help from readily available mental health professionals.

What did I miss?