Friday, July 15, 2011

Charles Krauthammer Is Missing Something

Today's op-ed from Charles Krauthammer has one craaaazy headline: Call Obama's Bluff

Hasn’t the White House leaked that he’s prepared to raise the Medicare age or change the cost-of-living calculation?
Anonymous talk is cheap. Leaks are designed to manipulate. Offers are floated and disappear.
Say it, Mr. President. Give us one single structural change in entitlements. In public.
Now obviously, when in the course of negotiations, it's a pretty dumb idea to float your ideas in public as far as specifics are concerned. And of course, Mr. Krauthammer knows this - surely he's not that stupid. He's just trying to shoehorn his perspective into his piece. But apparently, Mr. Krauthammer hasn't been listening when it comes to statements in public.
Obama signaled at his press conference today that changes to Social Security could be a bargaining chip in a deficit reduction deal with Republicans – something many Democrats have staunchly opposed.
“The reason to do Social Security is to strengthen Social Security to make sure that those benefits are there for seniors in the out-years,” Obama said. “ And the reason to include that potentially in this package is if you’re going to take a bunch of tough votes, you might as well do it now, as opposed to trying to muster up the political will to get something done further down in the future.”
There's your public statement, Mr. Krauthammer, right in the middle of a news conference, for which the President has taken a barrage of hits from the fringe left that would rather primary him, to the Democratic members of the House. But no matter. He continues:
The Republicans are being totally outmaneuvered. The House speaker appears disoriented. It’s time to act. Time to call Obama’s bluff.
A long-term deal or nothing? The Republican House should immediately pass a short-term debt-ceiling hike of $500 billion containing $500 billion in budget cuts. That would give us about five months to work on something larger.
Well, President Obama has already stated he will accept no short-term deal. The time for that passed, by Mr. Krauthammer's calculation, about 5 months ago. And his premise sits on the notion that the GOP would work in good faith to "work on something larger" and not use the borrowed time to drag their feet until the next debt ceiling increase vote all the way to November, 2012. Past performance has dictated such an outcome. But let's see what Mr. Krauthammer's proposal on "something larger" is:
Republicans should call for urgent negotiations on tax reform along the lines of the Simpson-Bowles commission that, in one option, strips out annually $1.1 trillion of deductions, credits and loopholes while lowering tax rates across the board to a top rate of 23 percent. The president says he wants tax reform, doesn’t he? Well, Mr. President, here are five months to do so.
And that's where Mr. Krauthammer's fist shaking falls apart. He is still under the impression that the Republicans are actually serious about debt reduction.

From the very beginning the Republican negotiators have stated unequivocally that any revenue increase is  a non-starter, including closing tax loopholes, streamlining deductions and even an expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Krauthammer assumes the Republicans will automatically change their mind if only that stubborn, mule-headed Obama would accept a short-term deal to work out the kinks of these reforms in the meantime. ...Please...

And taking a jab at the President as a "born-again budget balancer" when St. Ronnie tripled the debt and George W. Bush doubled it in their respective terms in office is just comical. Look at your own party's White House leadership history when it comes to deficit spending, Mr. Krauthammer. Don't try crying crocodile tears now.

Krauthammer ignores the fact that the supposed leader of these negotiations on the GOP side, House Speaker John Boehner, doesn't even have full support of his own members, where somewhere between 60 and 70 Tea Party House members have stated they wouldn't vote for a debt ceiling increase under ANY circumstances, which means Boehner needs Democratic votes in order to pass ANYTHING. To get those votes he needs to make it palatable. It's called "compromise." So please spare me the Republican superiority. The current crop of Krauthammer's party are the ones who decided to tie spending cuts to the debt ceiling increase in the first place. To cry foul now and project that it's President Obama who is holding the debt ceiling hostage is completely preposterous.

And then he ends with this kicker:
If conservatives really want to get the nation’s spending under control, the only way is to win the presidency. Put the question to the country and let the people decide. To seriously jeopardize the election now in pursuit of a long-term, small-government, Ryan-like reform that is inherently unreachable without control of the White House may be good for the soul. But it could very well wreck the cause.
Ah, the cause. Not to save the economy, but to win back the White House. So ultimately, Krauthammer's suggestion of calling the president's bluff is a political ploy to implode the economy in order to gain traction in winning back the Presidency, apparently not aware of polls showing that if there is a US default, the American people will blame the Republicans in Congress before the only adult in the room occupying the White House. How will that bode for the 2012 elections up and down ticket? It is to laugh.


NowhereMan said...

A short term deal that gives them 6 months to work out a deal!?Didn't he watch the press conference when Obama explained he was against as you have noted, because in 6 months it will be closer to the election so the Republicans will be more stubborn?
The bottom line is as Obama has admitted,many in his party are angry with him for putting the BIG THREE on the table and is willing to risk his presidency while the Republicans cower under the shadow of Grover Norquist refuse to increase taxes despite the fact Obama was offering a 4 to 1 deal!.They were never serious about their concern s about the budget deficit.They are to afraid to call his bluff idiot!Krauthammer admits Boner looks disoiented(is it the vodka or the tea baggers bashing him in the head?)who during this whole thing has continued to demonstrate hes the empty suit we've all known him to be.
His column shoud've been about the debt ceiling being the wrong issue to take a stand on because you simply don't fk around with the nations credit!He should blame Mconnell and Boner for not standing up to extremist in their party by simply say that making the debt ceiling a political chip has never nor will ever be used to score political points because if you do, you would hold the country's money hostage.But then again,thats what real leaders are suppose to do. Instead hes trying to guide their dysfunctional leadership to do things Obama has already said are off the table.He really ought to pay more attention to what the POTUS says-that way he would'nt write such a disingenuous dysfunctional column.

Rupert said...

Beware of the Ides of March
DOB March 14: Albert Einstein
DOB March 13: Charles Krauthammer
DOB March 13: L Ron Hubbard
DOB March 12: Mitt Romney
DOB March 11 Rupert Murdoch
DOB March 10 Osama Bin Laden