Democrats go it alone on health care reform; Afghanistan prepares to go to the polls.

A summary of what's in the major U.S. newspapers.
Aug. 19 2009 5:36 AM

Majority Rule

(Continued from Page 1)

And finally, all the papers note the passing of Robert Novak, the 78-year-old conservative pundit and self-branded Prince of Darkness, who died early yesterday morning from brain cancer. The Post, which ran Novak's column for 45 years, reports his death below the fold and gushingly editorializes about his merits as an old-school reporter turned political insider; unsurprisingly, the WSJ's opinion-page editors are equally effusive in their praise. Of course, Novak's immediate legacy is less his columns (which Slate's Jack Schafer reminds us won't be anthologized anytime soon) than the lingering fallout from his 2003 outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame—a move that earned Novak enduring opprobrium from liberals. Still, perhaps the grizzled old ideologue wouldn't have minded leaving a slightly sour aftertaste. "Novak loved his vampire-like public persona," recalls one Republican strategist. "His one last dream was to play an assassin in a movie."

Ben Whitford writes for the Guardian, Mother Jones and Newsweek.