Paul Revere by Cyrus Dallin, North End, Boston



Friday, December 10, 2010


I have not been a particular fan of Charles Krauthammer since he wrote a column about John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign where he diagnosed Kerry as mentally ill.  Krauthammer, who was head of psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital, crossed the ethical line when he did that. 

But no one disputes that he's a very smart guy and a leading conservative columnist admired by the right and by people who watch FAUX NOOZ.  He was one of the few conservatives who acknowledged Mr. Obama's "first-class intellect and first-class temperament" in a column he wrote just before the 2008 presidential election. 

Here's what Krauthammer said about Mr. Obama in July of this year:

Krauthammer: 'Don't Underestimate Obama'

"It’s not too often that we say this, but you should really read Charles Krauthammer’s Friday column. The conservative columnist has a warning for Republicans: 'Don’t underestimate Barack Obama.' The net effect of health-care reform, financial-regulation reform, and the stimulus is a 'structural alteration of the U.S. budget' that will eventually 'require massive tax increases' (because, Krauthammer says, 'there just isn’t enough to cut' if you take Medicare and Medicaid off the table, as Obama has). He then compares Obama to Reagan—'highly ideological, grandly ambitious and often underappreciated by their own side.' He says that Obama’s accomplished everything that he needs to for his first term, and that the next things on his agenda—energy, education, and immigration—will not be tackled until 2012. For that reason, 'For Obama, 2010 matters little. If Democrats lose control of one or both houses, Obama will probably have an easier time in 2012, just as Bill Clinton used Newt Gingrich and the Republicans as the foil for his 1996 reelection campaign.' ”

I wonder what Krauthammer's admirers think about his assessment of how President Obama got the GOP to do what they never would have done in the new Congress.  Hmmmmm?

At this point, some of President Obama's detractors on the left still don't understand what Mr. Obama manuvered the GOP into doing for him.

Swindle of the year

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, December 10, 2010

"Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 - and House Democrats don't have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years - which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?

If Obama had asked for a second stimulus directly, he would have been laughed out of town. Stimulus I was so reviled that the Democrats banished the word from their lexicon throughout the 2010 campaign. And yet, despite a very weak post-election hand, Obama got the Republicans to offer to increase spending and cut taxes by $990 billion over two years. Two-thirds of that is above and beyond extension of the Bush tax cuts but includes such urgent national necessities as windmill subsidies.

No mean achievement. After all, these are the same Republicans who spent 2010 running on limited government and reducing debt. And this budget busting occurs less than a week after the president's deficit commission had supposedly signaled a new national consensus of austerity and frugality.

Some Republicans are crowing that Stimulus II is the Republican way - mostly tax cuts - rather than the Democrats' spending orgy of Stimulus I. That's consolation? This just means that Republicans are two years too late. Stimulus II will still blow another near-$1 trillion hole in the budget.

At great cost that will have to be paid after this newest free lunch, the package will add as much as 1 percent to GDP and lower the unemployment rate by about 1.5 percentage points. That could easily be the difference between victory and defeat in 2012.

Obama is no fool. While getting Republicans own reelection chances, he gets them to make a mockery of their newfound, second-chance, post-Bush, Tea-Party, this-time-we're-serious persona of debt-averse fiscal responsibility.

And he gets all this in return for what? For a mere two-year postponement of a mere 4.6-point increase in marginal tax rates for upper incomes. And an estate tax rate of 35 percent - it jumps insanely from zero to 55 percent on Jan. 1 - that is somewhat lower than what the Democrats wanted.

No, cries the left: Obama violated a sacred principle. A 39.6 percent tax rate versus 35 percent is a principle? "This is the public option debate all over again," said Obama at his Tuesday news conference. He is right. The left never understood that to nationalize health care there is no need for a public option because Obamacare turns the private insurers into public utilities, thus setting us inexorably on the road to the left's Promised Land: a Canadian-style single-payer system. The left is similarly clueless on the tax-cut deal: In exchange for temporarily forgoing a small rise in upper-income rates, Obama pulled out of a hat a massive new stimulus - what the left has been begging for since the failure of Stimulus I but was heretofore politically unattainable.

Obama's public exasperation with this infantile leftism is both perfectly understandable and politically adept. It is his way back to at least the appearance of centrist moderation. The only way he will get a second look from the independents who elected him in 2008 - and abandoned the Democrats in 2010 - is by changing the prevailing (and correct) perception that he is a man of the left.

Hence that news-conference attack on what the administration calls the "professional left" for its combination of sanctimony and myopia. It was Obama's Sister Souljah moment. It had a prickly, irritated sincerity - their ideological stupidity and inability to see the "long game" really do get under Obama's skin - but a decidedly calculated quality, too. Where, after all, does the left go? Stay home on Election Day 2012? Vote Republican?

No, says the current buzz, the left will instead challenge Obama for the Democratic nomination. Really now? For decades, African Americans have been this party's most loyal constituency. They vote 9 to 1 Democratic through hell and high water, through impeachment and recession, through everything. After four centuries of enduring much, African Americans finally see one of their own achieve the presidency. And their own party is going to deny him a shot at his own reelection?

Not even Democrats are that stupid. The remaining question is whether they are just stupid enough to not understand - and therefore vote down - the swindle of the year just pulled off by their own president."
Pardon me while I ROTFLMAO!!!  Thank you, Mr. Krauthammer for telling the conservatives and the liberals what they couldn't see happening in front of their noses!


Dave Miller said...

Shaw, count me as one who is still upset the Dems and Obama did not handle this issue before the elections.

I hope Sir Charles is correct in his assessment and this is indeed good for President Obama...

Shaw Kenawe said...

I think I said it on someone else's blog that it was a terrible mistake for Congress not to take this up before the election. Cowardly! I don't know how much pressure Obama could have put on the House--separation of powers and all that, but presidents can jawbone with his Congressional leaders.

I don't deny Krauthammer's intelligence (and he once was a liberal, BTW) so when he analyzes what has happened, I pay attention and think about what he says.

Another conservative pundit, David Frum, has said just about the same thing about Mr. Obama. I'll have to look for the piece he wrote just after health care reform was passed. He said just about the same thing as Mr. K did.

Do NOT underestimate Mr. Obama-- what he has accomplished and what he WILL accomplish.

Too many of our liberal friends are too caught up in the emotion of the moment and not looking at the long view.

And today President Clinton endorsed the tax-cut package.

TAO said...

Actually, Shaw, I do look at the long view...

Its like DADT...the right WANTS the court to decide the issue that way then they have another "Roe vs. Wade" opportunity.

In regards to the tax cut, it is also now official that we cannot, as a society have a progressive tax system.

We have also dramatically increased the deficit and will now have to focus on cutting entitlements.

Obama has stimulated the economy but that does not mean there will be jobs created. Obama has stimulated the economy but he has also in one swoop made the wealth distribution in this country even worse.

Its kind of like NAFTA....that was a great boon to Wall Street, to shareholders, and to the wealthy but the idea that globalization would create higher paying jobs here never occurred.

What occured was we created service industry jobs, that were lower paying with less benefits for the manufacturing jobs we off shored.

You have not had the battle yet over funding healthcare reform...

Until it is funded it has not occurred....

Leslie Parsley said...

Krauthammer is very intelligent but like people who convert to one religion or another he can be rather rabid since he converted to conservatism. However, I think this time he's analyzed the situation pretty well.

And he's not the only one to call the left out for its infantalism - as you and a very few others have.
Here's another criticism of the left's canibalism of Obama by a leftie. He has a different slant on the GOP.

Infidel753 said...

Well, that's an interesting perspective on it.

There's no doubt that the deal has some bad features from the Democratic viewpoint. But what Krauthammer himself may not quite grasp is that the Republican party doesn't have much allegiance any more to the principles he claims it let down. Republican leaders care a lot more about frustrating Obama than they do about, say, reducing the deficit. All the energy on the right is in the tea party, which is ideologically incoherent, or in the religious fundamentalists, who didn't have much of a dog in this particular fight.

For the last two years the ideological left has been swinging wildly back and forth between praising Obama and denouncing him as a weakling or a sell-out. What we're seeing now is just more of the same.

K. said...

Chuckles generally invests great rhetorical skill into a false premise and usually writes nothing that is not in the service of the Likud party. His analysis seems a little overblown, but he actually makes a point. PoliticusUSA was on the money.

TAO, another way of looking at this is that instead of cutting entitlements, we're in position to reform Medicare on a progressive basis. It's in error to fight the Medicare battle along the lines of how hard we're going to swing the axe and at whom. Health policy experts need to make themselves heard, making the argument that while health care has been driving economics in the wrong direction, it doesn't have to. There are many alternatives to reducing the cost of Medicare that don't put everyone on vouchers.

Shaw Kenawe said...

Thanks for all your thoughtful comments.

But TAO, the social conservatives did not overturn Roe v. Wade, even though they had the WH and Congress for 6 years.

The increase to the deficit is the most disturbing part of this tax-cut legislation--but as Saint Ronnie said "I don't worry about the deficit. It's big enough to take care of itself."

What do the fiscally conservative members of Congress say about that?


Agreed. I don't understand how liberals can call Obama a Republican-lite president when the fact is that he had the MOST liberal voting record of all senators, including Hillary Clinton, in 2007. In three years Obama became a Republican? Or is it that he understands that he would get absolutely nothing done if he were to insist on a far-left agenda for the country. What he understands is that this is NOT a left-leaning country. Why can't we liberals get that important fact? IMHO, we are unduly influenced and driven by conservative corporatists and southern religionists.

Citizen K,

I read Krauthammer the same way. As tnlib put it, there's nothing like a newly converted ideologue when it comes to trashing the group he once belonged to. But Dr. K grudgingly does admire Mr. Obama's intelligence and what he has managed to accomplish in this miasma of a political swamp of wallowing cri di coeurs from wounded liberals. (Did I leave anything out?)

I read this over at Politico this morning:

Craig Shirley: Reagan biographer and president, Shirley and Banister Public Affairs :

"The Republicans had their pants taken off by Obama and they don’t even know it.

Rather than making the marginal rates permanent (or even lower) they left themselves to fight again over the same terrain in two years, rather than mounting an offensive campaign to continually lower the rates.

Even a mediocre commander would tell you that you shouldn’t have to fight for the same terrain twice."

More opinion here.

Sue said...

if my head isn't exploding it sure is spinning. I love the link with all the different opinions, it makes me feel a little less dumb for changing my opinion daily. I am leaning right now towards this view by Robert Reich...

"The real problem is that the $900 billion tab for this deal gives Republicans a bigger rationale for cutting domestic discretionary (non-defense) even more, and for gutting Social Security. They'll be giving vast rewards to their wealthy constituents through the tax cuts for the rich, which they have every intention of continuing beyond 2012, while being able to satisfy the Tea Baggers and deficit hawks who demand cuts in spending. It's a double-win for Republicans and a strategic trap for Democrats - as well as for the American middle and working class."

While I agree Obama is highly intelligent and a master at his job, I don't trust those rethuglicans. I'm nervous imagining what the next 2 years hold for us. Will Obama use the veto pen or will he cave to their demands for spending cuts? We know where they will focus their demands.

dmarks said...

As he is a former liberal, Krauthammer is one of the few actual neoconservatives.

And yes, Dave, Shaw, etc. This is probably very good for President Obama. But it's good for the country too, which counts the most.

Shaw Kenawe said...

This has nothing to do with my blog post, but since this is my blog, I guess I can bend the rules now and then.

Think of it as a gift of laughter to all who visit here. I found it on Dr. Orly Taitz, Esquire's blog where she's phishing for more birther information and then, strangely, brings majical[sic] tiny fish into the discussion--it seems these miniscule ichthys were found while fishing? for more evidence to prove Mr. Obama is not a citizen.

Enjoy. And you're welcome.

"More on the majical discovery of microfish announcements of Obama’s birth. Keep in mind, nobody ever saw actual newspapers with announcements of his birth. The only thing that was found, is a microfish, which could be as reliable as a computer image or a Certification of his birth issued in 2007. This fraud needs to be prosecuted. We have to end this corruption in the government.
Posted on | December 10, 2010

Joe "Truth 101" Kelly said...

I can see how an NFL team would lose a game to get a higher draft pick.

So Chuck thinks Obama purposely gave in to Boner and McConnell because he knows all this will drive the economy forward?

Obama has a fool proof crystal ball that told him continuing tax cuts for the wealthiest and adding another trillion to the deficit would be good for his reelection effort?

Shaw; I've written some cockamamie stuff in the four years I've been blogging. I don't think any of it compares to this birtheresque nonsense Chuck wrote.

It does make for asn interesting conspiracy piece though. Your addition of the Orley taitz thing is entirely appropriate to this post.

Leslie Parsley said...

"The Republicans had their pants taken off by Obama and they don’t even know it."

And neither do the Democrats!

Shaw Kenawe said...

"The Republicans had their pants taken off by Obama and they don’t even know it."

Mitch McConnell in his jockeys or boxers? Not exactly eye candy.

But, hey! It might give Boehner a boner.

dmarks said...

Shaw; Aren't they called minnows?

Stephen said...

I like the new look!
Great blog!

B.J. said...


Sunday morning I followed Leslie's link to "Progressive Eruptions" and read with interest what Charles Krauthammer had to say aboout Obama. It's 3 a.m. ET Monday, and I have just now had a chance to read the comments.

IMO, Krauthammer's column is a two-edged sword - praise and criticism, both equally damning in the eyes of many.

Charles Krauthammer is one of those intellectual liberals who broke with the Democatic Party to form the ranks of neoconservatism, because they did not think there was enough emphasis or spending on defense. They permeated the Bush administration and, caught up with their own hubris and dreams of nation building, gave us the war in Iraq. I'm certain you know all this.

In the past, I've seen Krauthammer on the panel known as "The Fox All-Stars," and he is as adept at lying and distortion as fellow neocon Dick Cheney.

Other than the fact that he did peg the far left who are complaining about everything Obama does, I found the column as a whole disturbing.

And, he is so disingenuous to talk about “a spending orgy” given the record of the previous administration and his support of it.

David Frum is much more believable. He attacked the Tea Party Movement and was immediately dismissed from the American Enterprise Institute. He has put himself on the line in several columsn, and I would be far more prone to listen to what he has to say.

After weighing everything and examining how this all unfolded, I stand by my president.


dmarks said...

BJ: Cheney is a traditional conservative, and never was a liberal, and is thus not a "neocon".

B.J. said...

Thanks, dmarks. That might be the case, but if you go to the neocons' Web site and click on their "Statement of Principles" (top center), you will find that he signed it. LINK:

B.J. said...


dmarks said...

Generally, it has become a catch-all term as an epithet used of any conservative that liberals don't like (with the exception of Pat Buchanan). It also has some antisemitic overtones, as I have seen the "neoconservative" cabal bashed by those trying to "educate" the public of undue Jewish membership/influence in it. Such as this hardcore racist site.

B.J. said...

dmarks: gimme a break.

dmarks said...

Look it up.

Leslie Parsley said...

Anti-Semiticism has absolutely nothing to do with this post or with BJ's criticism. She has a right to her opinion when it comes to CK. Many share it with her. But in none of these cases is there even a hint of anti-Semiticism.

Why in hell do you bring this up? It has nothing to do with anything here.

dmarks said...

It has everything to do with the "neocon" subject, which I did not bring up in the first place.

"She has a right to her opinion when it comes to CK".

As do I.

Arthurstone said...

'Neoconservatism' as distinguished from more traditional conservatism enthusiastically embraces the projection of American military might to encourage other nations to embrace our goals. Many of its adherents were/are Hawkish Democrats (many spawned from Scoop Jackson) but the New American Century crowd is mainly long term Republican/Conservative.

The thing which unites them is their enthusiasm for the expansion of American empire and the national security state.

They're war mongers.

dmarks said...

Perfect example of how it is a meaningless epithet that applies to few if any. The nonexistent expansion of a nonexistent empire. They probably want to build better flying saucers too.

Arthurstone said...

I imagine our folks are hard at workingbuilding a better
flying saucer even as we speak

Still, by definition a military presence in 120 countries with 700 bases is the very definition of empire. Sadly the only upside is for those comprising the forces & their support & those doing business with the national security state.

dmarks said...

"Still, by definition a military presence in 120 countries with 700 bases is the very definition of empire"

Something that has no connection to the definition of empire at all. Then you look for example at a typical example, the presence in South Korea, something which staves off empire (conquest from North Korea)

Anonymous said...

Where exactly are North Korean military bases located besides in North Korea?

Leslie Parsley said...

No, damarks. You didn't bring up the neoconservative thingy first, but you most certainly brought up the anti-Semitism thingy first. I repeat, it has nothing to do with the subject of this post or with BJ's comment. And that was my only point.

dmarks said...

"Where exactly are North Korean military bases located besides in North Korea?"

Thank you, Dear Leader, for logging in.

Arthurstone said...

Suggested reading:

American Empire: The Realities and Consequences of U.S. Diplomacy

Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War

I've read American Empire and will start Washington Rules in Mexico next week.

Bacevich is an interesting thinker. He describes our political leaderships enthusiastic acceptance of the fact of American global leadership and maintaining preeminence in the world's strategically significant regions. Thus the necessity of permanent global military supremacy is a given. He doesn't argue against empire (too late in his view) but he does suggest we admit to who we are and smarten up a bit. Our endless support of pliant right-wing governments and hereditary monarchies doesn't seem to be paying off too well.

More carrot. Less stick.

dmarks said...

While there is a complete nonexistence of modern empire, it sure did exist in the past. Ask Mexico (in one of your book titles) and the Native Americans.

Arthurstone said...

The title is 'Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War'

I'm going to read it while in Mexico.

Sorry you didn't quite get that.