The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Thursday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On the Senate omnibus:

I think the reason that the president wants to sign this and the Democrats are insisting on passing the omnibus bill is all about power.

And it all sounds arcane — a continuing resolution on the one hand … versus [an] omnibus — it sounds all complicated. But it’s really about who controls the future. Continuing resolution is a way of saying we’re going to … extend the government’s running for a couple of weeks, and then the new Congress will take over and decide what to do in January.

With an omnibus … it’s a way of the past reaching into the future. The omnibus is a way for the 111th Congress — which has been repudiated, voted out, [with its] Democratic control — to influence and constrain and control what happens next year because the omnibus directs a trillion dollars of spending up until October 1 of next year.

So what it is — it’s the dying 111th, controlled by Democrats, constraining what the Republicans in [the] 112th … will be able to do. And the one example that we mentioned last night was a billion dollars in it to implement Obamacare. That’s in the omnibus. It would constrain how Republicans could act in trying to repeal Obamacare next year.

On the administration’s assessment of the situation in its Afghanistan review:

I thought it was a modest portrayal of modest progress — and the modesty is well-earned. In the long run, everybody understands there is a Karzai problem, a corruption problem, a Pakistan problem. However, on the ground, I believe them when they say — [and] Petraeus is saying — there has been improvement. They are widening the circle and area of control outside the Taliban.

This is a country in which opinion polls show that the Taliban has something like six or eight percent support, Pelosi-levels essentially. And if the problem is the fear that people have of them [the Taliban], that is a problem you can handle with the military. You do as with the surge in Iraq and give them protection. As long as it’s not trying to change [the local people’s] ideology but make them have a sense of security, it’s in principle doable. That’s why there is some optimism.

NRO Staff — Members of the National Review Online editorial and operational teams are included under the umbrella “NR Staff.”

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