The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Thursday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On whether Congressional Democrats will accept the rumored $3 trillion debt ceiling deal being negotiated by President Obama and Speaker Boehner:

No. I think what happened is Congressional Democrats got a whiff of a possible deal where you get entitlement cuts and tax reform, say, next year — which might increase revenue or might not — and they panicked because a) they have a religious belief in raising the taxes. If you don’t have that, you can’t have a deal, so it created a kind of a theological panic.

But secondly, the more important element is if the Democrats concede anything on entitlements, let’s say a modest structural change — you raise the Medicare age to equal what is now the age of Social Security — then you have taken away from the Democrats next year their one issue. They have to defend a lousy economy, Obamacare, and everything else. It is a disaster the way it was in November ‘10. Their one issue is the “Mediscare” issue. If the Democrats have agreed to structural changes in Medicare, it’s gone.

And especially the Senate Democrats — who know that they are going to lose control of the Senate under almost all conditions — hang on to “Mediscare” as the one element which might save the Senate [for the Democrats].

It was the Senate Democrats who were up in arms. They raised the ruckus as a way to kill the baby in the crib. But there wasn’t a baby and there wasn’t a crib.

On a possible short-term debt ceiling extension coupled with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts:

I’d say it’s half a trillion. I think it would pass in the House. And I think then the Senate Democrats and the president are in deep water, because would they kill it and throw America into default instead of accepting a half-year extension which would give them half a year to continue negotiations on the big items, on entitlements and on tax reform? I think the answer is no. I think the Democrats will have to swallow it, including the president.

On President Obama’s admission in a recent interview that “I’m probably going to win or lose depending on [voters’] assessment of my stewardship”:

He’s right about that. I’m surprised he said it, because I guarantee you next year the billion dollars in ads he runs are not going to be about his great stewardship and how good the economy is. It’s going to be all negative. It’s going to be all about the challenger. He’s going to try to make it a choice and not a referendum. That’s his entire strategy.

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

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