Conventional Wisdom 2009

Article excerpt

Diehard climate-change deniers, death-panel hypesters, seething teabaggers, gun-toting town-hall screamers--what a year. Is this the same country that elected Barack Obama with a strong majority? Here's to a more civil decade.

The Beltway

UP-Obama

Takes on wrecked economy, two wars, health care.

Think again: His reward: more popular in Europe than in U.S.

UP-Biden

Notorious windbag has earned gravitas.

Think again: P.S.: Looks like hair plugs paidoff after all.

UP-Hillary

Old CW: Her husband willget in the way.

Think again: New CW: Bestsec. of state since George Marshall.

SIDEWAYS-Geithner

Bailing out Wall St. pals prevented a global collapse.

Think again: Now needs to get tough and block those bonuses.

DOWN-Karzai

Has BO's Afghan war policy in his grubby hands.

Think again: How do we find friends like these?

UP-Michelle

Making White House the "people's house."

Think again: Watch out for East Wing overreachers.

UP-Sotomayor

Life story trumps "wise Latina" remark.

Think again: Supremes gain first Hispanic justice. !Ole!

UP-Palin

Flip-flopping, quitter gov has bestselling book.

Think again: Is she running for prez or Oprah's seat?

DOWN-Cheney

Rottweiler in Winter accuses Obama of treason.

Think again: Didn't he call attacking wartime prez unpatriotic?

SIDEWAYS-Bill

Gains respect by (mostly) staying out of the picture.

Think again: Pic with Kim Jong Il in North Korea is instant classic.

UP-Teddy

Captain of the Senate makes his final voyage.

Think again: For the have-nots, he was greatest brother of all. …