The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From last night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On the state of the economy:

When you hear the Speaker of the House say that we have saved or created many jobs, you notice she said “many,” because she didn’t have a clue what that number is. And the number is entirely unknown. It’s angels on the head of a pin.

We have lost jobs. You can always imagine. But the reality is the one city in the country that is increasing employment is Washington, where they’re hiring bureaucrats who are going to decide how other Americans are going to be running their lives.

But otherwise, what we’re getting is an increase in unemployment. The pace of increase of unemployment is decelerating, so we are going to hit a plateau. But it will likely only occur next year or late next year. It will be surely over 10 percent and that will hurt the Democrats in the elections.

However, I think for Obama personally, the calendar here actually helps him. I think if you’re a president and you want a second term, you want to have your recession early. Reagan did. It was a severe one. He got hurt in the midterm in 1982, but of course there was a recovery, and he was reelected.

Now, we are not going to have the spring-back that we had in the ’80’s because of the global issues and competition abroad. We’re going to have a much slower recovery. But still I think Obama will be in reasonably good shape.

Our unlucky presidents are the ones that had recessions late [in their term], Carter and Bush one, and you don’t get reelected when that happens.

On Democrats voting yesterday to insert some changes into the Patriot Act:

I think the big story here is how little the Patriot Act has changed given the fact that we have a large majority of Democrats in the House and the Senate and how liberal the leadership is.

We’re retaining the roving wiretaps. We’re retaining the telecom immunity — the fact that the telecom industry is not going to be subject to prosecution for helping the Bush administration. We are retaining the lone wolf provision, which means you don’t have to show that a guy is a member of a group, a terror group, in order to wiretap him.

All the major provisions are retained. And as you said, the Obama administration behind the scenes is supporting the minimal — it’s supporting the idea of no changes.

And that’s a tribute to the Bush administration. Remember, this was passed a month-and-a-half after 9/11 in the heat and the fury of that time. It totally restructured the way we go after terrorism domestically, and it got it right.

Eight years afterwards, in retrospect, with liberals in the House and Senate, it is remaining almost intact. We have not had a second attack in the eight years and we have not had any significant scandals or abuse of these powers in violating the liberties of Americans. It is really quite a remarkable achievement.

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

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