The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Thursday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On whether House Republicans and the White House are getting any closer to a deal:

I think one interesting sort of personal item was when the president walked out yesterday. I think it did a little bit to put a dent in the image he has always had as the “no drama Obama,” the [man] of Olympian detachment. He obviously is feeling heat. …

But in the end, I think … the McConnell plan, which was excoriated for a couple of days — Jim DeMint attacked it today, a lot of House Republicans are very upset with it — it may be the escape hatch everybody needs because it will allow the issue essentially to be punted and decided in November next year.

Now I think if it is used it’s only because all the other ideas fail. I have an idea of my own, which is for the House Republicans to pass a relatively short, half a trillion dollars … debt-ceiling increase with commensurate cuts which would get us to the end of the year, and we could extend negotiations.

That doesn’t have a high chance of passing, and [therefore] I think in the end we’ll probably have a McConnell with a lot of stuff added on.

On the criticism of the McConnell plan:

Well, I don’t [like it] either. I don’t think anybody does. I’d prefer a plan with real cuts. I’d like to see entitlement cuts and all of that. I’d like to see a man on the moon again. But the problem is if you’re a party, a conservative party, and you control one house of Congress. It isn’t enough. You can’t run the government. You can stop but you can’t force. That is the lesson from ‘95 and ‘96 when the Republicans actually had two houses of Congress.

Look, you try to force the issue, Obama is resisting. In the end, do you really want to put us into default? I think neither party does. Therefore, in a democracy, what you do is you have to punt. And people will decide in November, which is exactly how an issue of this magnitude ought to be decided.

On whether House Republicans ought to pass their own debt ceiling extension unilaterally:

If the House Republicans offer a plan, let’s say for half a trillion, which is all cuts — let’s assume it passes. I’m saying that would be the preferable result.

If it passes in the House, if the Republicans get their act together and agree it’s a good idea, Obama has no argument against a cut of that size, a debt limit increase of that size. He says, ‘I want something big. I’ll veto something short.’

Are you [the president] going to put that [out] and make an argument on that? And put us in default — over what? What is the principle? …

The only reason Obama wants a longer deal is so that it gets him through Election Day. It’s raw partisan politics and self-interest. He doesn’t have an argument, so you force him on this issue and see how he reacts.

On the recent release of White House attempts to ostracize Fox News, including e-mails dating back to 2009 calling Bret Baier a “lunatic”:

As for lunacy and Bret, I can speak as a psychiatrist — the only one on the panel. I definitively say that he’s not. I am not ruling out everything, but a lunatic he’s not.

But actually you’ve got a flipside here, which is: For somebody high up in the White House press office actually to think or to write of Bret Baier — who I think is the most level-headed, together (to use an old adjective) man I’ve ever met — as a lunatic, tells you a bit about the psychology of the people in the White House and how – well, I won’t use the word deranged — upset they might be about Fox News.

And the reason is that liberals, particularly liberals in government, are very upset at that Fox came along and broke the liberal monopoly on the news.

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

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