Krauthammer’s Take

by NRO Staff

From Special Report with Bret Baier, Wednesday, Dec. 28, 2011

On why President Obama’s approval rating has recovered in recent weeks:

It can’t be explained by anything the president has done in a positive way. I think it’s explicable by two things.

First is the ridiculous way that the Republicans [acted] in the Congress, particularly in the last couple of weeks, where they were given a victory early on [on the payroll tax cut] and they kicked it away and achieved nothing… but suffered politically, making Obama look like at least a grown-up.

And second, I think, is the almost year-long exposure now to a weak Republican field…. Think of how this has gone: Trump, Bachmann, Perry, then Cain, then Newt, who is really in decline now, Ron Paul, who is on the ascent, but he’s not electable, and now Santorum. Every single alternative is going to get a try — or looks like it will get a try — because… the electorate in large part is unhappy with Romney. He is stable and sober, but he’s considered ideologically suspect.

Imagine if you had a race with a Mitch Daniels, a Paul Ryan, Christie, Jindal, and others, Senator Thune. It would have had a completely different complexion.

And I think with some of those embarrassing candidates like Cain and others along the way, it has made the president — who is by, by who he is, presidential — look better. And I think that explains the reason his numbers are up. He has been a passive observer of this. And the Republicans in Congress and in this [presidential] race have not actually distinguished themselves.

On Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz:

Look, if the United States military, particularly the navy, has one role in the world, it’s keeping open international waterways. We have been doing that since the Second World War. The British had done it for 200 years. It’s now our job. And for Iran to threaten the Strait of Hormuz, which is the most important strait on the planet… is quite risky on the part of Iran.

It’s doing it because the Obama administration is on the verge of imposing very serious sanctions on Iran which will essentially shut down, at least gradually, its oil exports. And the Europeans are considering a boycott. That will really hurt the economy. The regime is already a weak and worries about that, so it’s threatening.

But the United States Navy can certainly handle the speedboats of the Iranian Navy. And I think this would be a mistake [for Iran] because it will not intimidate the West.

The fact [is] that Saudi Arabia said it will increase production two million barrels a day. If Iran is cut off, it’s a loss of three [million barrels of oil a day], and the rest could be made up by Libya, Iraq, and our even strategic petroleum reserve…. I think it’s a mistake [by Iran], because if you provoke the United States Navy, it could really do damage to any military capacity Iran has.

On continued violence in Syria despite the presence of Arab League Observers

There is one point on the Arab League delegation. The head is a Sudanese. And not just any. He is a military commander who was actually in charge of establishing the militias that  carried out the genocide in his own country [in Darfur]. So this is a guy who isn’t exactly a human rights advocate.

Also remember that the Sudan is an ally of Iran and Iran is that chief sponsor of the Assad regime in Syria…. This is an Arab League delegation which might give cover that Assad could use, particularly headed by a guy like this. He has said “I haven’t seen anything,” which if you are a demonstrator being shot, arrested, or tortured is not good news.

On the funeral of Kim Jong-il:

As Orwellian as it gets, the mass demonstration, the expressions of grief. People have been predicting instability and collapse of the regime since the 1950s. It hasn’t happened then, it’s not going to happen now. It will happen eventually, but there is no sign whatsoever of any cracks in this regime.

The Corner

The one and only.