Who Is Charles Krauthammer?

Then there is Krauthammer’s recent suggestion that the Republican Party should not attempt to defund ObamaCare but let it flounder of its own accord, thus depriving the Democrats of the opportunity to blame the other side of the aisle for its demise. Such advice is myopic and self-defeating. As Bryan Preston pointed out here at Pajamas, once massive social policies are implemented, they “take root and create dependencies,” becoming “so entrenched that [they] can’t be killed off without significant pain for the American people.” AllahPundit at Hot Air delivers the same message: “if you want to kill a bad entitlement, kill it quickly before expectations calcify.” This is sound advice which, we might have assumed, would surely have occurred to a supposed “fiscal conservative” like Krauthammer. Though it didn’t take long for Krauthammer to reverse course. Suddenly, we learn that since ObamaCare is “the biggest budget buster in the history of the welfare state” and is based on an array of “phony” numbers, then “everything begins with repeal.” There’s quite a bit of zigzagging going on here. One expects more from the best, or at least, from someone who has built a stellar reputation over the years.

It doesn’t stop there. We also discover that from his viewscape, Barack Obama is the “new comeback kid.” According to Krauthammer in a Washington Post column, following the president’s “shellacking” in the November 2 congressional elections, “Obama fashioned out of thin air his return to relevance, an even more impressive achievement” than Bill Clinton’s adroit triangulating. Admittedly, Krauthammer is justly critical of the Republicans who gave Obama a free pass on hundreds of billions of superfluous spending and sprinkled his path “with rose petals.” And yet when the noted columnist tells us that “Obama’s repositioning to the center was first symbolized by his joint appearance with Clinton,” he does not mention in this context that Obama literally turned his back and left that famous press conference to Clinton’s better management, thus presenting a most unpresidential image of weakness and irresponsibility. Obama’s “repositioning” was not so much toward the center as toward the exit.

Krauthammer believes that “the president is a very smart man,” but one may have to modulate this gesture of cerebral anointment. What Krauthammer is apparently getting at is that Obama is street smart and a canny manipulator. What he does not say is that Obama is neither well educated — he has little knowledge of history or economics and zero understanding of foreign affairs — nor does he seem capable of sustained reflection. Krauthammer is right to target the president’s “vanity” but, unless I am seriously mistaken, he tends to give Obama rather more than his due.