Krauthammer’s Take

by NRO Staff

From Monday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On Standard & Poor’s downgrading its outlook on U.S. government debt:

I don’t think what S&P issued was a plea. I think what it issued was a review, and it was a review of the president’s speech. This is not about whether there‘ll be an agreement on the debt ceiling — as the White House would like to pretend. What we heard from S&P is [that] this is about: Will there be real deficit reduction agreed to by the president and the Republicans? … And their answer is no.

And this credit rating is not in jeopardy today. It is an outlook. But what it means is there’s a one in three chance — it [S&P] is saying today — that within two years it’s going to have to downgrade [the] American AAA rating, which would be a shock to the system unlike any we’ve ever had.

The debt ceiling vote is not what this S&P forecast is about. It’s about what are the prospects of getting control of the debt itself. And the answer is: little. And the reason is the Wednesday [Obama] speech, the beginning of a campaign kickoff. That’s why the president is out in the country now [campaigning].

That was not a speech about reducing the deficit. The numbers the president offered were suspended in air, un-tethered to anything. That was a kick in the teeth at Republicans — with incidentally, the House leadership and [Paul] Ryan sitting in front of him.

It [Obama's speech] was not an invitation to any negotiation. It was a way of saying: You [Republicans] walked into my trap — I’m going to now attack you from now until Election Day.

On four prospective 2012 GOP candidates — Barbour, Bachmann, Palin, Trump — who were on the stump this weekend:

Well, of the sound bites you just showed, Haley Barbour looked — he was rather calm and collected there compared with the other three. I think he’s the only serious one of the ones you showed — serious with a chance of winning in 2012. I think Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann in a sense are competing for the same constituency. They’re wonderful Republicans but I don’t think either of them has a chance of winning the nomination.

Bachmann could do well in Iowa. She’s originally from Iowa, [where there] is a very heavy evangelical constituency that surprised the world last cycle by giving Huckabee the victory. So that is possible. But it’s hard to see her way after that through the thicket.

And then there’s Trump. Trump is the Al Sharpton of the Republican Party, provocateur and clown, unserious. I think he’s going to harm the party if he runs for the same reason that Sharpton harmed the Democrats.

I know. You can now see all the mail coming in. Address it to me, not to Bret [Baier]. He’s not responsible.

Which means: Because in the debates he’ll be up there — I think he’s going to run, this is not just a trial run — he’ll be up in the debates, and like Sharpton he’s going to monopolize the discussion, draw it away on issues that are irrelevant, like Obama’s birth. And that can only hurt the party. …

It’s all name recognition. And he’s a celebrity, he’s on television. He’s a guy who talks about winners and losers. The vulgarity of him is offensive. He talked about today, comparing himself with Romney, ‘I have a bigger net worth.’ That’s what you expect from somebody who wants to promote himself in business and make a name. That’s not what you want from a presidential candidate.