The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take


From Special Report with Bret Baier | Thursday, July 19, 2012

On Mitt Romney’s use of the President’s “you didn’t build that” remarks:

The content here is utterly damning. Romney said it’s not a gaffe. A gaffe is defined in Washington as when a politician accidentally speaks what is really in his heart. This is his political philosophy. And it’s elaborated.

I would say, disagree with Steve about that one sentence. [“If you have a business — you didn’t build that.”] As I just heard it, and as anybody looking at it would see in print… “that” is a reference to a person’s idea that he built his own business. It is not a reference to roads and bridges.

But let’s look at the whole context and let’s ignore that one sentence. He starts with a mocking reference to people who succeed — believing it might have something to do with intelligence or hard work….

So he is mocking people — a Korean immigrant working 16 hours a day in a candy store and builds it and sends his kids to college with … the money he finally makes 20 years later; or a physician in medical school who goes 60 or 80 hour weeks, works hard, and then in his 50s, begins reaping the rewards of his work. That is number one.

Secondly, everybody he says who helped you along the way — it’s no accident [that] everybody in his example — is an agent of the government. It’s either a teacher, or a road, or a bridge, or the Internet, which he says, incorrectly, was invented by the government so it could create opportunities in the marketplace. So it’s all government. And this is his philosophy, that government is the root of American success — individual and national. It’s not individual enterprise. Yes, to some extent individual enterprise, but anybody who thinks it’s that — obviously is [crediting] himself in a way that is undeserved.

It’s the government. And that is the heart of his philosophy.

That is the real division between left and right in the country. That’s why Romney should hit it every day until Election Day.

On the diplomatic effort to address the crisis in Syria:

When you hear our spokesman at the U.N. speaking, you know the policy is getting weirder and weirder. Apart from being entirely empty, all the words spoken, this denunciation, impassioned denunciation, of Russia over the veto is OK. But then at the same time the White House is releasing a read-out of the discussion that Putin had on the phone with Obama in which they say “the presidents agree there has to be x, y, z, a peaceful transition, et cetera, et cetera.”

Why are we agreeing with the Russians on one hand and denouncing them at the U.N. on the other? Why are we focused on the Russians? Why are we speaking about the Russians?

The Russians are anathema in Syria — and the regime will fall — those people know that Russia has been working to kill them. We at least have been on the sidelines or at least giving rhetorical help [to the rebels].

We ought to speak with the Turks and the Saudis and the Europeans, speaking on our own and not with Russia.

I think that we ought to, tomorrow, de-recognize the regime in Syria, recognize the Syrian National Council as a legitimate government, announce a supply of arms, and work with them, because the real issue is who’s going to emerge on top, and we want to have influence with the rebels who are, as of yet, seriously disorganized.

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

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