The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Friday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On President Obama as the winner in the tax cut deal:

He had these huge majorities in the House and the Senate. Remember, he’d governed for basically two years on a radically partisan style without getting a single Republican on health care, getting only a few on the first stimulus bill. So I think that [the tax deal] makes him look very centrist, it repositions him.

And if you compare him to where Clinton was after his shellacking in the [1994] midterm election, it took Clinton basically a year to get back, to get his stature back, his relevance back. Indeed, there was a press conference in April [1995], that was about half a year after the [1994 midterm] election, where he was asked a question: ‘Are you still relevant?’… So that’s how low an ebb he was at.

I think Obama, basically a month after the shellacking he took, is now a player. He’s the one who brokered the [tax] deal. As I said on the night that Obama announced it … just as an analytic point — not arguing this over again with McConnell — as a candidate Obama ’s helped because he’s gotten a trillion dollars of debt added on to the budget, which will give the economy a sugar high right into the election in 2012. The piper will be paid the year after and the year after, but if you’re a candidate, it’s what every candidate wants, a huge injection of money into the economy.

On the Republican claim that most of what they got in the tax deal was Republican policy:

Just because a policy is something that Republicans had wanted, doesn’t negate the fact that it adds to the deficit. It adds a trillion dollars to the deficit. And I don’t think that’s what you want, particularly when your party had run for a year on controlling deficits, [controlling] spending, and trying to have a new kind of rationality in Washington. I think it contradicted that and it’s going to hurt the Republicans going into the future.

On the DREAM Act:

I think it will deservedly not succeed because it’s much larger than [it] actually appears. It’s been sold as simply helping unfortunate young folks who were born here, but it’s going to have ripple effects that will include the families ultimately. It is a huge step to general amnesty — before we shut the borders. That I think is the problem.

On the prospects for the START treaty:

They probably will get a vote on START, and it’ll really hinge on McCain, whose protest, his objection, now is on missile defense, which I think is the key issue here. And he wants assurances. I don’t know whether he’ll get them. But if he doesn’t he should oppose the treaty.

On Obama’s relations with the Democratic left:

I would discount all the squawking and the dancing and the protest on the part of the congressional left. They do that habitually. It was done on Obamacare and they folded. They did it on tax cuts and they agreed with what Obama did in the end. In the end they have nowhere else to go. They are never going to have a president as left as Obama is and they know it.

On whether Obama is moving to the center:

I think he’s trying to reposition himself. And I think it started with the tax cut deal. I think he’ll stand firm on stuff like Obamacare if there’s an attempt at repeal. But if he wants reelection he needs the center, which he lost in the midterm elections. And he knows that. He’s a smart guy. I think he’s going to go for it.

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


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