The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From Monday night’s Fox News All-Stars.

On Ron Paul’s showing in the Ames straw poll:

Ron Paul is not going to be president of the United States. A libertarian is not going to be elected. We are not a libertarian country. It’s a very important strain of conservative thought but it’s not the dominant one. …

This was a straw poll, which is self-selected. It measures enthusiasm, but it doesn’t measure the breadth of support. It measures the depth. If you do a [regular] poll, his numbers are under — usually in single digits. So, that’s why people aren’t speaking about him. The next president of the United States is going to have the name Bachmann or Perry or Romney or Obama. And that’s probably it — unless somebody enters the field.

On Rick Perry’s strengths and weaknesses:

In the first round against Bachmann, I think he has an advantage. Pawlenty left a knife in her back as he left the stage when he said: You have all the passion, you have all of those principles, but you’ve never achieved anything. Not only have you not been an executive, but even your principles, your advocacy has not succeeded in the Congress.

And that’s what Perry will use in attacking her. He may not do it as directly as Pawlenty did, but he’ll say I’m an executive, I ran Texas, it did well, what have you shown? …

He has the passion and the principles that Bachmann has, which Pawlenty did not in his encounter with Bachmann. And he also has the executive experience. So I think that’s really going to help him in the preliminary bout.

Look, the liability he has is what would show up in the general election. It’s Texas. It isn’t his fault but I’m not sure that the country is ready for a Texan after its disappointments with the Bush administration only three years ago.

And Bush, remember, was half-New England. Perry is 100 percent Texas.

On whether Krauthammer’s socks are knocked off by President Obama’s statement during his Midwest bus tour that he’ll have a plan on the economy, jobs, and the deficit in September:

Absolutely — I’m almost shoeless.

Look, this is one of the great events in American history. He has had this issue of debt on the table for two and a half years, especially since December when … his deficit-reduction commission reported. He’s done absolutely nothing on this. And even today, after the gyrations of the market and after the downgrade and after the whole debate in the country on how we’re going over a cliff on debt, all of a sudden he says well, we’re going to wait until September?

If he has an idea, how about giving it?

He hasn’t. In the whole debate on the debt ceiling he never once gave a plan. He never once — in fact, his Democrats in the Senate have not even issued a budget in 800 days, in two years. The Republicans have put a budget on the table, which was extremely radical — $6 trillion in cuts, including a radical reform of Medicare — which the Democrats have attacked incessantly. The Democrats have proposed nothing.

And now he tells us well, in September, of course, after I have ten days on the Vineyard where I can relax and really think really hard in the presence of Larry David and other luminaries, I’m sure, I’ll come up with a plan.

Pathetic. …

In part, the reason he doesn’t propose anything is because he’s already proposed. It was called the stimulus. It happened in ‘09 and it didn’t succeed. It left us with a huge debt and an ailing economy, a stagnant economy, an economy stuck in neutral.

He also had Obamacare, which is adding on to it. It’s going to cost over a trillion dollars. It’s weighing the economy down — with uncertainty, higher cost, higher insurance costs, etc.

So he tried his program. It failed. And now he’s got small stuff that he talked about. You know, extending the payroll tax cut, which everybody agrees [is] probably a good idea, other small stuff, patent reform, yes, a great idea, [but] it’s not going to have any impact in the short-term or even in the medium term. So he doesn’t have anything.

Unless he’s going to propose a giant stimulus which will not go anywhere. [Or] more tax cuts. Maybe he would have an entire holiday for all payroll taxes. Who knows? But I can’t imagine it’s going to be anything of significance.

He has to give the appearance of movement and the appearance of a plan, because the fact is he doesn’t have one.

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


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