The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Friday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s appointment as chair of the Obama administration’s new Council on Jobs and Competitiveness:

Immelt has been a very reliable supporter of Obama. He didn’t only support him on Obamacare and the $1 trillion stimulus. He supported him on cap-and-trade. There weren’t even Democratic senators who were with Obama in all of this, so he’s not exactly an antagonist.

But as a political gesture, this is smart. This fits in with the 180-degree spin he has done since Election Day trying to portray himself as centrist [and] to be on good terms with business. So he does an extension of the Bush tax cuts and appoints William Daley, a banker, to be chief of staff. He makes nice with the Chamber of Commerce. He appoints a commission that won’t make a difference but it has the word “jobs” in it.

And he pens — or signs — an op-ed piece where he comes out against regulation, which is rather amusing since he is defending tooth and nail a health-care reform he passed that will add probably 100,000 pages of regulations to the books.

Nonetheless, the appearances of all this, which is all he’s interested in — this is repositioning himself to appear to be pro-business, pro-growth, no longer the old ideologue because he wants to be re-elected. …

Appointing a council called Jobs and Competitiveness headed by a guy who is already in his pocket is not exactly a change in economic policy. … His approval is over 50 percent. He has had an undeniable bump, and it tells you how important symbolism and gestures are no matter how empty …

It’s less a start than it is a pose.

On the latest legal problem for Silvio Berlusconi:

The Europeans have a director, Roman Polanski, who rapes a young girl in Los Angeles, and the Europeans say, oh, well you have to understand the needs of the artiste and we mustn’t be judgmental. Here you got a prime minister who apparently was in a dalliance with a Moroccan dancer called Ruby — I didn’t know that Ruby was a common name in Morocco. And apparently she’s underage. I’m not sure of the details because I haven’t been keeping up with the latest issues of L’Osservatore Romano, which has been very, very hot on the case. Look, I’m as neutral on this as is Switzerland. I would say: Let the chips fall — or however you say it in Italian.

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