The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Special Report with Bret Baier |Tuesday, August 7, 2012

On President Obama’s decision to remove work requirements from welfare:

The reason the 1996 welfare reform is one of the great successes … — cut in half child poverty, a huge decline in the rolls of the welfare — is because you didn’t allow governors to relax the rules. Of course every governor wants to relax the rules. Why not? The money is a free check to his state’s economy from the feds. Why not? You take from the other 56 states (Obama’s account of the number of states). Why not do that? That is why you have to have the federal law.

Robert Rector of  the Heritage Foundation, the expert on this, pointed out that some governors in some states count as work hula dancing, attending Weight Watchers, and bed rest, among other examples. This is a way to get more federal money in your state.

If you want this [welfare reform] to succeed as it has succeeded, you have to say work is work or rigorous job training. Nothing else.

Obama himself showed — as we saw in the clip from 1998, shortly after the reform of welfare — that he, like a lot of other liberals, did not like this law. Peter Adelson, a principled liberal in the Clinton administration — he resigned on principle over this [signing the welfare abolition].

This [abolition of welfare] is a great social success. The liberals have always hated it, and here is the administration acting what is essentially illegally in granting waivers in a bill that does not allow the granting of waivers under these circumstances.

On Secretary Sebelius’s claim that this is much ado about nothing because the work waivers are temporary and could be rescinded if the states do not increase work placement:

It’s much ado about everything. The White House is saying: You grant us the authority — which we do not have in the law — to grant a waiver and we promise you we will only allow the waiver where you increase employment and doesn’t extend staying on the dole indefinitely. I don’t want to rely on the promise. I want to rely on the law as written. This administration will make a lot of promises. If you believe they will adhere to it, I’ll sell you a bridge. And the reason that you have the law is so it isn’t under the discretion of an administration which, as we know, has no love of this law in the first place.

On intervention in Syria:

We can argue all we want about intervention. Under this administration it’s not going to happen.

And hearing the secretary of state speak, with all due respect, what is she talking about? Who cares what she says about our expectations of the absence of sectarian warfare afterwards? The U.S. is not a player in this. The players are Iran and Russia on one side, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar on the other side. These are the people who matter, not what the secretary of state is saying.

What is happening right now is I think the crucial battle, the battle of Aleppo. Aleppo is in the north. Assad is prepared to destroy it entirely in order that it not fall, because if it does, it becomes what Benghazi was for the rebels in Libya — the capital of the opposition state. If Aleppo goes and the rebels control it, they will control the whole north and be on the border with Turkey. They will get all of the arms and weapons that they want, Syria will be split in half and Assad will fall.

And what we have to remember is that Assad’s father in 1982 had a rebellion in the city of Hama. He utterly destroyed it. He paved it over and he killed 20,000 people in three weeks. So the Assads are capable of this. And if Aleppo has to be destroyed in order that Assad save his skin, he will do it. It’s all happening now. I think the fulcrum of the battle is occurring [in Aleppo]….

On the claim that the US has indeed expressed support for the rebels:

It [administration expressions of support] has as much importance as if you and I came out against Assad. It has none. It’s empty air. And everybody on the ground knows it.

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

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