The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Wednesday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On Senate Democrats’ threat that they will block the Boehner plan:

I see this letter and the threats coming from [Charles] Schumer and from [Harry] Reid as bravado. They’re really worried. They were hoping yesterday that the Republicans in the House would implode — they would be suicidal, kill the Boehner plan, and be left with no initiative and be the ones who would take the blame.

Instead it looks as if there’s every indication now that the House Republicans are going to get together on this. They’re going to squeak by, get the required majority, and pass the Boehner plan. That will put the spotlight on the Democrats in the Senate. Then they’re now on the defensive if that happens. The Republicans will seize the initiative. The blame is now shifted entirely onto the Democrats.

They’re trying to scare the Republicans away with a letter saying it [the Boehner plan] is dead on arrival. Well, it’s not going to be dead on arrival. What Reid will have to do is to add a curlicue or two, some kind of amendment, something on it [the Boehner plan] so he can at least say it’s an amalgam, it’s a compromise between the Reid plan and the Boehner plan, which would allow the Democrats… who are going to be up for reelection next year [an out].

The president, who has issued what I think is a phony veto threat — I’m sure that if it reaches him there’s no way he’ll be able to actually do that.

So that will be the protection. The president will say, ‘Well, there was a compromise, it wasn’t the Boehner plan, therefore I can sign it.’

On the prospect of a U.S. credit downgrade:

If it does [happen], it will be because the ratings agencies and the markets have seen no desire in this country, particularly among Democrats, to make real changes, real cuts, entitlement cuts that everybody understands is a source of the deficit.

This argument that the ratings agencies will lower our rating because of the debt extension in the Boehner plan is not long enough is a phony. It’s nice to see — it’s touching to see how the Democrats have all of a sudden become attached to the idea of certainty — after injecting uncertainty on taxes, health care, regulation into our economy month after month for two years. All of a sudden you have to have certainty.

In the letter that the Senate Democrats have just issued, they warn that there’s going to be a ratings agency downgrade if there is a short-term extension. [Yet] six months is roughly the historic average. It was the average in the Reagan years, which Obama cited as a paragon of being serious about debt.

The reason the ratings will drop — and I think it will within a year, if not less — is because one of the two major parties — in every argument, every negotiation, every plan that’s been offered — has been looking for loopholes, as a way to appear to cut spending when it doesn’t. And the worst example is the Reid plan, which has $1 trillion of cuts for a ten-year extension of the surge in Iraq and Afghanistan, a phony cut from a phony spending idea.

That’s the reason why nobody has confidence. It can’t happen if one of the two parties is clearly unserious about debt reduction.

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

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