The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From “All Stars” last night.

On Panetta:

Look, this is somewhere between surprising and shocking. Choosing someone with no experience in intelligence to head CIA at a time of two wars, what we saw in India just a few weeks ago, bad guys out there trying to do collect weapons of mass destruction.

The reason this happened is because Obama has caved to his left. The left will not accept anybody who served in any way in the last eight years under the Bush administration because of the enhanced interrogation, the secret prison programs, and the eavesdropping programs.

That’s why, for example, Jane Harmon, who is head of the House Intelligence Committee, who would be an excellent CIA director and the first woman, was nixed because she early on had approved of the listening in on terrorists abroad.

So he chose a novice. I think it’s a mistake. I think he’s going to get a lot of heat in the end. He’ll pass because Panetta is known and liked. But you got a rookie as a president, a novice as head of the CIA in a time of war–not a good idea.

On tax cuts as part of Obama’s stimulus:

I think it was a very smart political stroke. Look, Bernanke, the head of the Fed, once said the way to cure recessions is to drop dollars out of a helicopter. Attacking our recession can be done with spending or tax cuts, either way.

Democrats like both. The Republicans only like cuts. So by having a large percentage of this package, about a third of it or more, being in cuts, this is the way Obama is drawing in the Republicans.

Why is that important? It isn’t just that it creates an atmosphere of comity at the beginning, it’s because it’s going to be a long recovery. It’s going to be slow. And the last index of recovery is unemployment. It could be at 10 percent in two years at the midterm election.

If you started entirely with Democratic votes, it means the Democrats will be blamed and attacked and could have a massacre in that election.

If he brings in the Republicans as he has, he is ecumenical, he brings them in, he protects himself in two years in what is going to be a very slow recovery.

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

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