The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From last night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On Rep. Anthony Weiner’s statement that the expansion of Medicare is “an unvarnished, complete victory for people like me who have been arguing for a single-payer system”:

What Weiner did today is: He committed the classic Kinsley gaffe. [Michael] Kinsley defined a Washington gaffe as a politician who accidentally speaks the truth — and then you have to apologize and retract.

 

He [Weiner] spoke the truth on this because what you’re getting in the [Senate health-care] bill now — if you have expansion of Medicare to include a younger decade — you have got an enormous expansion of government control: You have an expansion in Medicaid, which is for the poor; an expansion of S-CHIP which is for the near-poor children; and you add on to that expansion of Medicare — and you have got about three-quarters of the population under a direct system of government insurance.

 

What’s left is a shrunken private sector which is heavily regulated.  And you have individual mandates, penalties, and a huge amount of regulation — 118 commissions and other regulatory bodies … As Weiner has said, you’re on the road — you’re almost there — to a government takeover.

 

Now, if we want to have that — and there are arguments in favor of that: Canada and the U.K. are humane countries and they work with a government-run system. But we ought to have an open debate on that and not have it shoved in in the middle of the night with eight days to go in a self-imposed deadline on a radical change in one-sixth of the American economy.

 

The problem here is the substance, and also the process, which is out of control and makes no sense at all. …

Look at the madness of this [Medicare expansion]. Why are the doctors and the hospitals opposed to it? Because the existing system of Medicare repayment is ruining them.

 

We are killing the golden goose. We have the best doctors, the best hospitals in the world. This is going to be catastrophic. Without doctors and hospitals, you don’t have a health-care system. All you have are politicians in Washington.

On President Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech:

Well, I thought it was the best speech he has ever given on foreign soil.

 

Now, I know that sounds slightly ironic and cynical because it is a low bar, but he did have a defense — in the first third of the speech, which was the good part — a defense, robust defense of war in general as a necessity, of the Afghan war, and also [of] America’s role, as he put it, in underwriting the security of the world for 60 years, something he hadn’t emphasized in the past and that he did [in Oslo].

 

And it went against the grain of that audience of his, which was overdressed, over-titled, underemployed, one-world Scandinavian lefties. And they only applauded when in the second half of the speech he gave his usual shtick about Guantanamo, torture, and Geneva conventions …

 

But that’s old stuff he has done over and over again abroad. The new stuff was at the beginning. … It was a good statement and it is good that it came from him. That made it unusual. It wouldn’t have been unusual [coming from] a Kennedy or a Truman or any of his predecessors. But from him it was new and very welcome.

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

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