The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Special Report with Bret Baier | Thursday, June 14, 2012

On President Obama’s “vision” for America –recited in yesterday’s speech in Cleveland– education, energy, innovation, infrastructure, and deficit reduction:

This isn’t a vision. This is a rehash. There is absolutely nothing new here. His own staff admitted that days ago, saying this is a way to frame the debate again. To frame the debate means there is nothing in the frame, that the picture is empty. It’s the same one….

It’s small ball. The reason is, the big answers he thought he had in 2009, he has tried. Gigantic stimulus… with healthcare [legislation] that somehow reduces expenditures and helps us on debt and deficit. Of course his healthcare monstrosity will increase spending by $1.76 trillion.

So the big answers, the vision answers, are the ones he had in 2009. They produced an economy growing at under 2 percent, which cannot sustain even the current horrible unemployment rate. …

His argument today is the same Keynesian argument: We have to do another stimulus. He won’t use that word because it’s toxic after the failure of the first, but he believes it — Keynesian expansion, tax and spend, more government and more hiring, and somehow that will cure economic ills….

You can argue that hiring a teacher is a good idea. But to make an argument to hire a teacher today will change the rate of growth for the economy, which is now 1.7 percent… is simply an argument you can’t make. And he refuses to seize the big things, the ones that people like William Galston, who was an adviser to the Clinton administration, [have suggested]: seize tax reform, seize entitlement reform.

But he won’t because he wants to attack Republicans on the [Paul] Ryan ideas, and thus he has no option of doing something large that would be credible.

On the frequent charge that Pres. Bush’s economic policies led to the financial collapse of 2008:

How did the [Bush] cut in taxes lead to the collapse of Lehman Brothers? The Bush tax cuts — how did they give us Lehman Brothers? It’s a complete non sequitur.

On Russia’s support for the Assad regime:

Look, the Russians have interest in Syria. The Russians have influence in Syria. Russia is rebuilding a naval facility in Syria in the port of Tartus on the Mediterranean, so it can re-establish a presence which it lost in the post-Soviet days.

Putin is the man who said the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century was not the Holocaust, the Second World War, who knows, the famines, but the collapse of the Soviet Union. His idea is to rebuild Russian strength and Syria is part of that. He thinks in strategic terms and he is not susceptible to the kind of chiding and pleading and bleating that you get out of the State Department….

Putin knows that in Obama he has no adversary. He has total contempt for Obama, who on every front has given him everything he wanted in the “reset” policy — on missile defense, [etc.].. And that’s why he does exactly as he pleases. Whether it’s a new helicopter [provided to the Syrian regime to attack civilians] or old one is irrelevant. If you take… an old one out of storage because it can’t be used and restore it, it’s a new helicopter.

On the UN General Assembly’s meeting on the crisis in Syria:

It’s a statement of how weak our position is. We know that anything we attempt in the one place that might have had an effect, the Security Council, is going to be stopped by a Russian veto, because, again, they have contempt for American opposition. So [the State Department] is going to go through General Assembly where the Russians don’t have a veto, but the General Assembly has no power to do anything about anything ever.

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

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