Krauthammer’s Take

by NRO Staff

From Monday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On the announcement that President Obama would give a speech on the budget on Wednesday:

The president is in reactive mode. I’m not sure, as Mara implies, that he had this all planned out as a strategy — “I will give a dummy budget in February and wait and see what the Republicans do and then I will respond.”…

There was an election in November. The message appeared to be opposition to the entitlement-state leviathan Obama is trying to construct. But he ignored it, thinking the electorate is not serious [and that] he could get away with the budget (which he presented at the State of the Union address) … and which was laughed out of town as unserious, did not address anything on debt.

The response which he got — particularly the respect that Ryan got, the Democrats expected that he would touch all of the third rails and would be electrocuted. In fact, he [Ryan] was considered serious — by centrists, even some on the left, people on the right — as a serious person who had a serious plan.

Given all of that, he [Obama] is now leading from the rear. He is catching up. And he is going to give a speech. But unless it has got details in it, it will not be worth the air he inhales in giving it. …

I think the person who had the best take on this is Sen. Sessions, who said: Look, a speech is a speech. But unless he redoes the budget, in other words, he submits a new budget based on these new ideas with numbers that the CBO can score … it’s not worth anything. And that’s going to be the real test. A debate is nice, but let’s see it on paper and let’s see what it really costs and what it really does in terms of cuts.

On Mitt Romney’s video announcing his presidential exploratory committee on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Romneycare:

For Romney, it’s clear what the issue is. He’s a serious guy. He could be president. He’s got the right history, background, experience. He is serious on policy. If it were not for one thing, he wouldn’t only be leading in the polls, he’d be the prohibitive frontrunner.

But unfortunately it’s a big thing. It’s Romneycare. For Republicans to win in 2012 it has to be about one large issue: the size, scope, the reach of government, of which Obamacare is the big symbol, and the actual [major] policy which is at stake.

Romney, unfortunately, introduced something that is like it in Massachusetts and he has to explain it away. The way he explains it away today is on federalist grounds:” Well, every state ought to be able to experiment, but you can’t have this on a national scale.”

Unfortunately, that isn’t exactly a ringing way to make your case. It’s extremely defensive and it’s weak. I’m not sure how he explains it away.

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