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Knowing When to Quit | The Nation

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Katrina vanden Heuvel

Katrina vanden Heuvel

Politics, current affairs and riffs and reflections on the news.

Knowing When to Quit

As we remember Johnny Carson's many gifts, perhaps his greatest was his ability to know when it was time to voluntarily step out of the spotlight and never look back. A talent that's all too rare in American life.

It's hard to know if Harvard President Larry Summer's foot-in-mouth disease is the result of nature or nurture, but his political tone deafness was once again on display at a diversity conference where he suggested that women were innately less skilled at math and science then men.

Despite continuing revelations that torture was endemic in Iraq and our efforts to stabilize the country are failing, Donald Rumsfeld not only holds on to his job but apparently is targeting sites in Iran. The septuagenarian should have retired after Afghanistan.

And if that weren't enough, Newt Gingrich, who was deposed by his own revolutionary comrades for being too much of a loose cannon, is floating the idea of running for President.

The only bright spot this week: Michael Powell, having secured America from any future Super Bowl wardrobe malfunctions, is stepping down. One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.

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