T Nation

Krauthammer's Warning to Conservatives/Republicans

I think he’s absolutely right - we need to focus on 2012, not this November. I actually hope we don’t take the Senate/House.


JULY 16, 2010 12:00 A.M.

Obamaâ??s Second Act

If he wins another term, heâ??ll only get worse.

In the political marketplace, thereâ??s now a run on Obama shares. The Left is disappointed with the president. Independents are abandoning him in droves. And the Right is already dancing on his political grave, salivating about November, when, his own press secretary admitted Sunday, Democrats might lose the House.

I have a warning for Republicans: Donâ??t underestimate Barack Obama.

Consider what he has already achieved. Obamacare alone makes his presidency historic. It has irrevocably changed one-sixth of the economy, put the country inexorably on the road to national health care, and, as acknowledged by Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus but few others, begun one of the most massive wealth redistributions in U.S. history.

Second, there is major financial reform, which passed Congress on Thursday. Economists argue whether it will prevent meltdowns and bailouts as promised. But there is no argument that it will give the government unprecedented power in the financial marketplace. Its 2,300 pages will create at least 243 new regulations that will affect not only, as many assume, the big banks, but just about everyone â?? including, as noted in one summary (the Wall Street Journal), â??storefront check cashiers, city governments, small manufacturers, homebuyers and credit bureaus.â??

Third is the near $1 trillion stimulus, the largest spending bill in U.S. history. And thatâ??s not even counting nationalizing the student-loan program, regulating carbon emissions by EPA fiat, and still-fitful attempts to pass cap-and-trade through Congress.

But Obamaâ??s most far-reaching accomplishment is his structural alteration of the U.S. budget. The stimulus, the vast expansion of domestic spending, and the creation of ruinous deficits as far as the eye can see are not easily reversed.

These are not mere temporary countercyclical measures. They are structural deficits because, as everyone from Obama on down admits, the real money is in entitlements, most specifically Medicare and Medicaid. But Obamacare freezes these out as a source of debt reduction. Obamacareâ??s $500 billion in Medicare cuts and $600 billion in tax increases are siphoned away for a new entitlement â?? and no longer available for deficit reduction.

The result? There just isnâ??t enough to cut elsewhere to prevent national insolvency. That will require massive tax increases â?? most likely a European-style value-added tax. Just as President Reagan cut taxes to starve the federal government and prevent massive growth in spending, Obamaâ??s wild spending â?? and quarantining health-care costs from providing possible relief â?? will necessitate huge tax increases.

The net effect of 18 months of Obamaism will be to undo much of Reaganism. Both presidencies were highly ideological, grandly ambitious, and often underappreciated by their own side. In his early years as president, Reagan was bitterly attacked from his right. (Typical Washington Post headline: â??For Reagan and the New Right, the Honeymoon Is Overâ?? â?? and that was six months into his presidency!) Obama is attacked from his left for insufficient zeal on gay rights, immigration reform, closing Guantanamo â?? the list is long. The critics donâ??t understand the big picture. Obamaâ??s transformational agenda is a play in two acts.

Act One is over. The stimulus, Obamacare, and financial reform have exhausted his first-term mandate. It will bear no more heavy lifting. And the Democrats will pay the price for ideological overreaching by losing one or both houses, whether de facto or de jure. The rest of the first term will be spent consolidating these gains (writing the regulations, for example) and preparing for Act Two.

The next burst of ideological energy â?? massive regulation of the energy economy, federalizing higher education, and â??comprehensiveâ?? immigration reform (i.e., amnesty) â?? will require a second mandate, meaning reelection in 2012.

Thatâ??s why thereâ??s so much tension between Obama and the congressional Democrats. For Obama, 2010 matters little. If the Democrats lose control of one or both houses, Obama will likely have an easier time in 2012, just as Bill Clinton used Newt Gingrich and the Republicans as his foil for his 1996 reelection campaign.

Obama is down, but itâ??s very early in the play. Like Reagan, he came here to do things. And heâ??s done much in his first 500 days. What he has left to do, he knows, must await his next 500 days â?? those that come after reelection.

So 2012 is the real prize. Obama sees far, farther than even his own partisans. Republicans underestimate him at their peril.

This seems a bit scarey to me. I do think I agree with his assessment on Clinton’s re-election, and this could help Obama. America has a short term memory for some reason. Obama must be a one term president, and keeping Hilary out is also a must.

I think we should at least take the house, that would bring some balance to the 3 branches. No more ramming crap through.

[quote]katzenjammer wrote:
<<< That’s why there’s so much tension between Obama and the congressional Democrats. For Obama, 2010 matters little. If the Democrats lose control of one or both houses, Obama will likely have an easier time in 2012, just as Bill Clinton used Newt Gingrich and the Republicans as his foil for his 1996 reelection campaign >>>[/quote]This might also explain Gibb’s rather flippant attitude about GOP chances this fall. They may be quite rightly looking to an increased Republican presence in the legislative branch to mitigate the urge to expel Obama in 12.

We need to focus on this November first…We have to stop the expansion of government as soon as possible. Once it’s done it’s all but impossible to undo.

The republicans are trying to fuck up this golden opportunity in what I am seeing. The back lash is because of the extreme socialist tendencies of this administration. It’s not a call to arms for extreme conservative view points and family values.

The backlash is about liberty being taken not a rehashing of the same old tired message that put these idiots in power in the first place.

They need to promote freedom, putting the power back in the hands of the people, small government, and fiscal reparation. Not we hate obama and we want our family values back. That is a death sentence for sure. “Family values” may indeed be a better way to live, but it’s not the place of the government to make that influence in any way. A lot of the fliers and automated phone calls I have gotten has been touting the Christian right message. The reason there is a Tea Party, Libertarian Party, and swaths of independents is because they cannot identify with those values as a government model. I find it hard to believe the republicans, after all they have been through are resorting to this Bush I, type message.

[quote]dmaddox wrote:
This seems a bit scarey to me. I do think I agree with his assessment on Clinton’s re-election, and this could help Obama. America has a short term memory for some reason. Obama must be a one term president, and keeping Hilary out is also a must.[/quote]

To get him out you will have to reach out to the libertarians, if the GOP thinks they can put another Mccain, Romney, or even Huckabee on the ticket and win we will find ourselves with Obama a second term.

"With his approval numbers hitting new lows itâ??s no surprise that Barack Obama’s numbers in our monthly look ahead to the 2012 Presidential race are their worst ever this month. He trails Mitt Romney 46-43, Mike Huckabee 47-45, Newt Gingrich 46-45, and is even tied with Sarah Palin at 46. The only person tested he leads is Jan Brewer, who doesn’t have particularly high name recognition on the national level at this point.

It’s not that any of the Republican candidates are particularly well liked. Only Huckabee has positive favorability numbers at 37/28. Romney’s at 32/33, Gingrich at 32/42, Palin at 37/52, and Brewer at 17/20. But with a majority of Americans now disapproving of Obama it’s no surprise that a large chunk of them would replace him as President if they had that choice today.

There are two things driving these strong poll numbers for the Republican candidates. The first is a lead with independents in every match up. Romney leads 48-35 with them, Gingrich is up 50-39, Huckabee has a 46-40 advantage, Palin’s up 47-42, and even Brewer has a 38-37 edge

Krauthammer - that name is a freakin riot…

[quote]pat wrote:
We need to focus on this November first…We have to stop the expansion of government as soon as possible. Once it’s done it’s all but impossible to undo. >>>[/quote]
There is of course a real point here too.

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:

[quote]pat wrote:
We need to focus on this November first…We have to stop the expansion of government as soon as possible. Once it’s done it’s all but impossible to undo. >>>[/quote]
There is of course a real point here too.[/quote]

Yes, but don’t you think their power to continue expanding government is rapidly declining? Perhaps if we merely achieve a greater balance of power in both houses we can slow everything down sufficiently; and yet, on the other hand, not decrease the urgency of getting Teleprompter Barbie out of the White House?

[quote]Tiribulus wrote:

[quote]katzenjammer wrote:
<<< That’s why there’s so much tension between Obama and the congressional Democrats. For Obama, 2010 matters little. If the Democrats lose control of one or both houses, Obama will likely have an easier time in 2012, just as Bill Clinton used Newt Gingrich and the Republicans as his foil for his 1996 reelection campaign >>>[/quote]This might also explain Gibb’s rather flippant attitude about GOP chances this fall. They may be quite rightly looking to an increased Republican presence in the legislative branch to mitigate the urge to expel Obama in 12.
[/quote]

Is there a precdent for Obama winning re-.election in 2012?

Republican House in 2011 bdcomes a “Do-Nothing House…” Obama runs against them and their obstructionism of all that good stuff he is doing for the country, and he tars the Republican candidate with the same brush.
Added by disgruntled ideologues–like John S., and self-styled purists and libertarians who do not compromise–and poof! Obama’s second term.

Yes, of course, history does not repeat itself, but as the great Varqanir pointed out, it sure does rhyme.

Or even 96 though that was anything but a do nothing congress. However, while I think Dole would have been very much preferable to Clinton he was a terrible candidate to run against the very campaign friendly Billy. If the GOP retake, especially both houses, what they do next is of monumental import and they better get united behind somebody vastly more competent than Steele if they want to actually make a difference.

[quote]DrSkeptix wrote:

Added by disgruntled ideologues–like John S., and self-styled purists and libertarians who do not compromise–and poof! Obama’s second term.

Yes, of course, history does not repeat itself, but as the great Varqanir pointed out, it sure does rhyme.
[/quote]

I see we are already getting ready to blame me when I refuse to vote for the Fascist you will most likely try and put on the GOP ballet.

This is a very good article, and I think hit the nail right on the head.

The insider liberal’s perspective, for years, has been that you don’t need an electoral mandate if you have structurally persistent legislation. That is, entitlements that are hard to repeal and budget reforms that force a revenue increase. It ain’t stupid. Liberals (self-described liberals, which are a subset of Democratic voters) are a minority of the US electorate. This is how you govern if you’re a minority ideology. You don’t need your policies to poll all that well. You just need to make them really hard to get rid of.

Why the ? I’m not disputing your points, especially the last one, but why would that make you sad? Do you wish those means to those ends weren’t necessary? Or are you saying you don’t favor the ends themselves? Or, maybe just a general distaste for that style of power jockeying? OR, I have no idea and should just let you tell me.

I don’t like the ends.
I don’t want government to be that big, and it’s disappointing that an election cycle probably won’t be enough to fix it.

Either you have been veering a bit to the right, at least in some areas since you’ve been around here or you have not clearly annunciated yourself, OR (here we go with the Or’s again) OR I have not been attentive enough to what you’ve been saying to reach a reliable conclusion, a thing I would be mortified to learn was the truth.

I’ve been veering a bit right. I think you and I would see eye to eye entirely on economic issues.

[quote]AlisaV wrote:
I’ve been veering a bit right. I think you and I would see eye to eye entirely on economic issues.[/quote]
Well Alisa. I must say you’ve gone up another notch on my respectometer. I’ve always known you were a smart girl (though more than a tad misguided here and there =] ). That’s rather big of you to simply say you’ve revised your views. Many people would have contrived a timeline wherein this is what they were really driving at all along. Then we’d have to dig up some old posts and listen to tortured explanations of what you actually meant. This way is better.

[quote]AlisaV wrote:
You just need to make them really hard to get rid of.

[/quote]

I would even say, impossible.