December 24th, 2010

Is Krauthammer right?

Charles Krauthammer seems to think that the legislative achievements of the last couple of weeks—the tax “cut”[sic] deal , the repeal of DADT, and the approval of START—have changed Obama’s fortunes with the American public, and that the playing field has been leveled between him and the new Congress.

I think that that the voters are fickle, but not that fickle; they may have short memories, but not that short. Nor (unlike pundits such as Krauthammer or obsessive-compulsive bloggers) are most of them paying the sort of close attention that would make such things matter. The biggees of the economy and high unemployment rate, as well as Obamacare, have hit the public where it hurts and remain to be resolved.

It certainly could end up that Obama’s star rises significantly and stays risen, and that he’s re-elected in 2012. The latter especially depends on who the Republicans manage to nominate to oppose him. But the outcome will depend on much more than the last couple of weeks.

I’m a bit puzzled as to why the extension of the tax policies of the Bush administration, against the oft-stated desires of President Obama, is seen as a victory for him rather than a victory for Republicans in Congress and an Obama capitulation. Perhaps it’s merely because it makes Obama seem more centrist.

As for that Republican Congress, although I’ve expressed my own wariness about their present and future actions, I’m also puzzled by the many comments around the blogosphere and in the press to the effect of “they’ve just been elected in a big landslide, and see how quickly they fold!” I would like to remind everyone that all this legislation was passed by the old Congress, not the new.

30 Responses to “Is Krauthammer right?”

  1. Retardo Says:

    This legislation is just the Establishment lashing out at the American people in a fit of narcissistic rage.

    That having been said, I’m still 90% sure we’re better off without DADT. Time will tell. Sure hope I’m right.

    As for Obama, this helped him with the media, but they’re not the American people. If they were, November would’ve been a landslide in the other direction. Meantime, the EPA and the ATF are also lashing out at the American people and the Executive branch is fixing to lash out any way they can.

    This administration is still run by the same petty, resentful, vicious, dishonest, grasping, delusional, incompetent, obscenely arrogant clowns it always was. Their feet are still squarely in their crosshairs. Any boost they get out of anything at all, they will squander on some imbecile whim.

    Of course, you could substitute “GOP” for “administration” in that paragraph and be just about equally right. God help us all. It’s like Barney the dinosaur came back as an axe-murdering zombie, and there’s nobody to defend us but Barney Fife.

  2. Occam's Beard Says:

    I’d rate Obama’s chances of a comeback as roughly comparable to those of Ricky Martin, and for the same reasons.

  3. DirtyJobsGUy Says:

    The true “tea party” goals were largely supported. The old bush tax rates were extended (plus a few new ones), the pork laden omnibus bill was killed, the 911 responders bill was made much more responsible and the most radical judicial nominees of Obama were not confirmed. Odd things like DADT repeal and START were approved that have only minor interest from most americans.

    The difference is that Obama didn’t go to the mat on the others (even though they contradict everything he had said). He has not recovered he’s just lost.

  4. Baklava Says:

    I don’t know how to read the voters anymore.

    I pay attention too much myself: There is absolutely no way I can forget the decisions that Obama made repeatedly and with arrogance (not listening) and condescension towards people with good ideas.

    But as a partner of a person who continues to support Obama – for not well reasoned policy position…. I don’t know how to guage the rest of everyone else seeing that stubborness.

    I hesitated to write the word stubborness because she thinks what she thinks and it’s alright with her – and she may view me as stubborn.

    She doesn’t look at the policy.

    Tax rates the same – going up – going down – hey he’s compromising and working with Republicans and doing what he has to do to lead. That’s what she thinks. He’s leading.

    The hardcore left won’t like which direction he’s ‘leading’.

    The right doesn’t like the fact that estate taxes are going up as well as spending.

    I believe I’m a centrist 🙂 but I sympathize with the so-called right because so many people are unemployed and yet pro-growth policies are ignored by ∅bama.

    It’s almost as if he WANTS people to be unemployed. He has to be dragged kicking and screaming (exaggerating yes) to make a decision that is pro-growth and this TAX DEAL IS NOT PRO-GROWTH.

    Businesses and people are still going to be bracing themselves for tax increases in 2 years.

    Estate taxes kill jobs.

    The health care (∅bamaCare) bill continues on being implemented.

  5. SteveH Says:

    If i didn’t know better i’d swear Krauthammer thinks Americans are as stupid as the democrats do. And what the hell is it with conservative pundits like this who sometimes seem to grasp democrats are killing our country and yet have positive things to say about their skill at doing so?

    If a democrat helps an old lady across the street, you don’t praise and admire him. You note how she could have driven herself across before democrats came to power.

  6. jon baker Says:

    The republicans need to push hard and loud supporting more domestic drilling being allowed. Gas prices are going up and people need to hear the Democrats blocking new drilling. The EPA is seizing from the state of Texas liscening for “greenhouse gases”. This is huge.

  7. Bob From Virginia Says:

    I can only elaborate a bit on what was already touched upon by other commenters. I don’t understand why the Messiah’s legislative victories are supposed to make him more popular. Those who care are either mostly suspicious and therefore opposed to the legislation, such as DADT or START, or wouldn’t trust Obama to act in any matter that would do anything other than harm America. These are victories that are additional nails in his coffin.

    That is what should kill him in 2012. Enough people have taken his measure. His leftist appointees, Honduras, and Obamacare allow him only to be seen as a left wing fascist by anyone cares to look. No other candidate has ever had to recover from such an impression. Krauthammer is assuming that enough of the 53% will make excuses for him or start liking what he has done and forget what he did and was prevented from doing. In short he is assuming that the electorate consists largely of complete idiots.
    That’s too much stereo-typing even for a pessimist like me.

    One wonders why Krauthammer would make such easily contestable assumptions.

  8. jon baker Says:

    Here is the part specific to Texas. The EPA is acting unilaterally without Congress, its time for a showdown between Congress and the administration.

  9. I R A Darth Aggie Says:

    The old bush tax rates were extended

    Better yet, they can become a point of debate in 2012, because they’ll be up for renewal/expiration in January 2013. Just have to ask The Won if he plans to renew them or not.

  10. Occam's Beard Says:

    That’s what she thinks.

    Wrong verb.

  11. Mr. Frank Says:

    The higher gas prices can be a gift to Republicans if they tie it to Obama’s anti oil policies.

  12. Steve Ducharme Says:

    CK is one of the best but I suspect that he is spiritually too close to inside Washington goings-on. Out here in flyover country nobody thinks Obama has done a damm thing except very reluctantly capitulate to the Republicans. His liberal credentials are set in stone in the minds of the public and it will take more than window dressing to overcome the Limbaughs and bloggers aligned against him. He’s no Clinton… and never will be.

  13. Steve Ducharme Says:

    It’s as though the very loud message sent by the voters just a few months ago has fallen on the tin ears of the beltway insiders. Pivot to the middle? Not this time people.

  14. Scott Says:

    I’d estimate I agree with Krauthammer about 90% of the time on his policy opinions.

    But I think this is the third column he’s written recently “praising” all that’s gotten done in the lame duck — and giving Obama full credit for it. It’s almost like Frank Rich or Paul Krugman have invaded his body.

    It’s starting to be annoying, Dr. K. And demoralizing. Please find a new topic.

  15. Data Schlepper Says:

    There may be an assumption that any improvement in the economy will make people forgive Obama and forget why they dislike him.
    But he is still expanding the government. And there are plenty of new regulations about to be enacted. The conservative blogs are always talking about it.
    Don’t conservatives believe that the economy will be hurt by bigger government and more regulation?
    So how can people like Krauthammer predict that there will be any improvement so great that people will change back to the way they voted in 2008?

  16. rickl Says:

    Krauthammer is an inside-the-beltway type. The hell with him.

    I will not forget or forgive the way he dismissed and belittled Palin and O’Donnell.

  17. IGotBupkis Says:

    > I’m a bit puzzled as to why the extension of the tax policies of the Bush administration, against the oft-stated desires of President Obama, is seen as a victory for him rather than a victory for Republicans in Congress and an Obama capitulation.


    Neo, Neo, Neo.

    Stop trying to apply facts and reason to the issue. These are Democrats and their drooling sycophantic shills, the MSMs.

    Facts and reason don’t enter into it.

    If some “scientist” predicted that AGW was going to make the sky turn orange, the media would start suddenly asking everyone: “Hey, doesn’t it look a BIT more orange these days?”

    The have an agenda to sell. Not a thing that fails to promote that agenda, on anything — AGW, alternative energy, The Grand March of Obama Into History — isn’t true, can’t be verified, is only expounded by tin-foil hat wearing tea party racist bigoted sexist half-wit charlatans.

  18. neo-neocon Says:

    rickl: I completely agree. Krauthammer is good when he’s good, but when he’s bad he’s horrid.

  19. br549 Says:

    The unelected, non-removable bureaucrats are taking over. It no longer matters who is in the Whitehouse, or the chambers inside the Capitol building. But they do have a decidedly left wing, progressive agenda, eh?

  20. Radney Says:

    Krauthammer is probably correct, think of it this way. Any Democrat is assured of 40% of the electorate, all they have to do to win is convince enough independents to come over to give them a plurality. That’s assuming there is not a major third party candidate, though that is likely to be the case in 2012, so like Clinton in 1992 victory can be had with much less than 50%.

    Obama’s team left many independents with the impression that like the Congress, they were committed to a pretty hard left wing agenda. Even the friendly media couldn’t argue otherwise.

    Now in the lame duck session Obama got two things he really wanted, New START and the end of DADT. But to win these he had to lose the immigration bill and to push the tax increases he wants back to 2012 or 2013.

    Now it absolutely cannot be argued that his administration is totally hard leftist, they lost on a major bill and will portray themselves as reasonable compromisers on the big issue that hits everybody, taxes. Extending the current tax rates will prevent a big hit to the economy and may permit a stronger rebound between now and the election of 2012.

    By that time the persuadable independents will be weary of conflict between the GOP House and the Senate and administration, a pox on all their houses. But if jobs start rebounding, they will forget a lot of the present discomfort with the Obama administration. GOP candidates trying to get Tea Party support may be sounding kind of radical to the moderate independents, while Obama the compromiser looks less threatening, especially if spending is forced down by the House.

    Remember that most Americans basically tune out politics until the last weeks before the elections, as long as things are not going either extremely poorly for the country. If conditions improve a little, the current angst will dissipate and Obama absolutely will have a decent chance to win again.

  21. Gary Rosen Says:

    Krauthammer is brilliant on foreign policy but not so much on domestic politics because he doesn’t have much intuition for what the average American thinks. Of Obama’s three “achievements”, the extension of the tax cut was strictly Republican, not Democrat policy, and I don’t perceive much popular groundswell for either the repeal of DADT or the START treaty.

  22. Vieux Charles Says:

    The tax bill largely retained the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy (I know, we’ve all got a 30% estate tax hike) and even increased some of Obama’s liberal big spending.

    A perfect recipe for increased deficits.

    I’d rather have seen it the other way around – a reasonable tax increase for those making over $1 Mill and reduced spending.

    As far as the repeal of DADT – why have conservatives so completely capitulated?

    Listen, I come from a liberal background, had gay friends, hung out with them at their gay bars, been there done that – I also spent 22 years in the service.

    I’m not a hater. I am just concerned about military readiness, order and discipline. Repeal is a bad thing.

    Homosexual bahavior is incompatible with military service – even with traditional conservative outlets I feel I’m arguing completely in a vacuum.

  23. Mr. Frank Says:

    There are going to be some situations where the repeal of DADT creates problems. Submarines and remote radar sites come to mind. The services will have to come up with some strong sanctions for on duty sexual behavior including harassment.

  24. Vieux Charles Says:

    There are going to be some situations where the repeal of DADT creates problems.

    You got that right. I can’t wait to see Gunny’s face the first time PVT Miss J gives him three snaps.

  25. Bee Says:

    Public still sees an economy is stagnation … High unemployment … Political turmoil abroad

    The extention of tax law was a defeat for Obama regardless of beltway perceptions … Public sees Obama loss

    Start is a non issue for public … Reagan endedthe coldwara long time ago … Defense middle issue will likely bite Obama in the a** next election

    EPA and FCC actions not well register by masses …

    Net I see free fall for those whoare not feeding at the trough … The american public

  26. SteveH Says:

    “”As far as the repeal of DADT – why have conservatives so completely capitulated?””
    Vieux Charles

    I’d say the issue has been successully made into a civil rights cause. Which is really a farce, because now what are they going to do for all the kinky hetero’s with their own civil rights to debauchery that demands the military’s respect?

  27. Mike Mc. Says:

    Krauthammer is more right than wrong.

    A tremendous amount of work and energy of the Tea Party Spirit leading to the election and its results was just thrown away by weak Republicans. It will have to be rebuilt and restored, and I only hope the new Congress works diligently to distance itself from the old Congress of both parties.

    Mitch McConnell is a disaster. With him in power, it means that we can never rest assured that someone is fighting for the right principles and actions. He cannot be trusted and I wish there was a groundswell movement to replace him. I am going to call my new Senator (Toomey) and suggest just that.

    In the long run, who knows, it may work out for the best if it keeps the Tea Party spirit engaged and involved. Turns out you can’t turn your back on these statists, R or D, for even a second, even over the holidays, or they will steal all you’ve got and then some.

    We need a Restoration Congress. We need new leadership. Primary every Republican who voted with the Dems here. Get rid of McConnell.

  28. NeoConScum Says:

    I’m almost always on the same page as Charles the Great, but I’m going to say,”Your lips to God’s ears”, to Neo-Neo on this one.

    I’m 100% sure that the Obamites and their toad-lapdogs in the MSM-Press will do everything possible to promote the LIE that the Bush Tax Cut Extension was The One’s Invention-Triumph. ALL he did was get a 35% Death Tax on $10-Million+folks added. Hijacking Mr.Bush’s Tax Cuts must NOT be permitted.

    Also, the Dems need to have the repeal of DADT hung around their flabby necks. AND, the EPA is about to dictate the Cap & Tax Ponzi which didn’t make it through congress. This, too, must be Hung around their necks–constantly in 2012.

  29. Joseph10 Says:

    I think there is another angle to this article by Krauthammer.

    He like many is frustrated by the RINO attitude and actions of many in the leadership of the Republican Party. He sees that they have been given a gift by the actions of the Tea Party and Americans fed up with that cold fish and failure Obama, who is furthering the rupture of American by liberals. Having been given the gift of an almost miraculeous revival only 2 years after defeat in 2008,they then allow Obama all these “victories” in the lame duck session because they have been beaten into silence by the liberal environment and media in the Beltway.

    Krauthammer like the rest of us are fed up of the cowardice of some Senators and Congressmen and the liberal leanings of others.
    In his articles he is merely saying ” You clowns were given so much more that you could ever imagine and now you squander it therefore just expect that as long as you remain turncoats and cowards then Obama, aided and abetted by the left leaning media, will eat your lunch come 2012.

  30. daniel Says:

    The general voting population will not even know that anything happened during this lame duck session.

    Think about it…

    DADT is meaningless to all but a very, very few gay people who want to say that they’re gay while serving. There is only downside for Obama to this one if there are problems with recruiting and retention because of it.

    The tax package doesn’t change the status quo, so the average voter will miss that anything happened at all.

    START means nothing to the average voter and will also be ignored.

    Both parties will not be able to spin anything out of any of this legislation because there is nothing that the average voter can get a grip on. This will all be forgotten by March.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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