The Corner

Krauthammer’s Take

From last night’s “All-Stars.”

On Senate Democrats blocking Obama’s request for funds to close Guantánamo:

When you have the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Daniel Inouye, refusing to appropriate a penny on this until he has a plan, when you have, as you said, Jim Webb, a distinguished Navy guy who — excuse me, Marine, who is sort of de facto spokesman on defense issues for Democrats because of his history of actually having been in the Reagan cabinet, and when you have Harry Reid chiming in and saying nowhere, no how, nobody, you got a problem.

And I must say that Obama deserves it. He is the last prisoner on Gitmo right now, and he incarcerated himself.

The Bush administration, which he demagogued mercilessly on this, made a wise decision, a difficult and wise decision. They’d understood at the beginning of the war, the beginning after 9/11, that this is going to be a long war and you would have, as in all wars, people you would have to detain without trial.

And the way to do it is on an offshore island under American control. I liked the idea of an island not just because of security, but that’s where you send — Devil’s Island, Sr. Helena. Islands are where you put people who are outside the pale of civilization.

I know it’s the romantic in me. But it was the right place. Everyone now knows that, because you have a Democrat in the White House instead of a Republican. So it is a serious issue that has to be dealt with seriously.

Obama, I think, in the end will have to get Democrats to accept something like perhaps a prison in a remote area of the United States.

But walking all the way back on the promise of Guantanamo is going to be a hell of a thing for him to swallow. It will be a huge embarrassment.

On Obama’s plan for national auto emissions and mileage standards:

Well, with an essentially nationalized auto industry, the president has decreed that by 2016 autos will have exactly on average 39 mpg and trucks 30.

Well, if you do the math, it is a seven-year plan. Stalin restricted himself to five-year plans.

It’s quite ambitious, and it’s the most inefficient way of curtailing gasoline consumption, which we ought to do for a host of reasons, including national security. We want to reduce the amount of oil imported.

But instead of having it in mandates from Washington, arbitrary numbers picked out of a hat, what you do is you impose a gasoline tax and you refund it immediately a reduction in the payroll tax, so Washington keeps not a penny of it.

And the beauty of that is when you had the gas at $4, we had a change in consumer habits and the buying of smaller, efficient cars. What you do is you recreate that with a gas tax, except that instead of all the money ending up in Saudi Arabia and in the pockets of Hugo Chavez, it ends up in the pockets of the American consumer.

And that’s what we ought to do instead, but nobody has the political courage to propose that.

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

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