What Charles Krauthammer thinks about Obama and the election

Charles Krauthammer
Photo by Steve BarrettCharles Krauthammer

The 2012 election represents a historical crossroad with the fundamental question of the nature of the American “social contract” on the table, Charles Krauthammer told the audience at the annual dinner of the Center of the American Experiment last night.

Barack Obama sees himself as “the new Reagan, the liberal Reagan.” Reagan’s presidency ended the decades of liberal dominance that prevailed from the 1930s. Obama’s idea of a “transformational presidency” is to shift America back on a leftward path that will continue for a generation, Krauthammer told an appreciative pre-dinner audience at the downtown Minneapolis Hilton.

Krauthammer, one of the leading righty columnists and a frequent commentator on Fox News, is often such a glowering sourpuss on Fox that I was surprised at how funny he was. I’ll pass along a bit of his humor at the end of this post. But first his serious analysis:

Because Obama had such a thin pre-presidential resume, it was hard to tell during the 2008 campaign he might be the moderate liberal he claimed or whether he would try to move the U.S. sharply to the left. It turned out to be the latter, Krauthammer said, although conservatives ought to stop calling President Obama a “socialist,” because the term is too broad and covers the old Soviet-style Communist model. Obama, he said, should be called a “social democrat” who aims to shift the United States significantly in the direction of the kind of cradle-to-grave welfare statism that that prevails in Europe.

If Obama succeeds, Krauthammer says, he will end the long American tradition of a more-freedom-less-government-more-individualism model that has distinguished us from Europe since the founding and which, Krauthammer believes, has contributed greatly to the U.S. ascendancy to world leadership. 

(Personally, I appreciate Krauthammer’s effort to be accurate in his word choices to describe Obama. Of course there are grounds to challenge whether Obamism really represents such a sharp leftward shift. Krauthammer cites Obamacare, which he considers a not-very-disguised government takeover of that sector, and he also cited Obama’s 2009 State of the Union message in which he expressed ambitions to transform American practices in energy and education as well.)

Over-read mandate

But Obama “over-read his mandate,” Krauthammer said. Obama’s convincing 2008 election was secured largely because of the financial collapse that occurred in the fall of ’08. America wasn’t really craving a lurch to the left, he said, but under those circumstances “even the Italian Communist Party” could have beaten the Republican nominee.

Having mistaken his mandate as a call for a major shift to the left, Krauthammer said, Obama received his comeuppance in the 2010 midterms, which demonstrated that the country wasn’t hankering for European style social democracy, especially since the European “Leviathan state” model was collapsing even as Obama sought to adopt it.

Now comes 2012 and an election that – despite Obama’s efforts to disguise this fact – must be about the fundamental liberty-or-big-government question. A year ago, Krauthammer said, he would have predicted a Republican landslide. But the Republican primary campaign was a disaster for the party, and while Romney was the only “plausible” candidate in the field, Krauthammer could barely bring himself to praise the presumptive nominee, whom he often trashed earlier in the year. Now, he says, the odds of the Republicans taking back the White House are only 50-50.

The Repubs big advantage, Krauthammer said, is that Obama has nothing on which to run. He can’t run on “the past,” namely his record in his first term, because it is an abject failure. He can’t run on the future, namely his ideas on where he would take the country in a second term, because that form of social democracy is unacceptable to the U.S. electorate.

So Obama is reduced to running on “sentiment and fear,” which translates to “I care” and “Romney’s a monster.”

A guy walks into a bar…

Well, perhaps that’s enough of Krauthammer’s substantive message, which was warmly received at an annual fancy-dress event that is often nicknamed the “conservative prom.” As I advertised above, I was surprised at Krauthammer’s humor, so here are a couple of morsels from that category (I don’t doubt that Krauthammer has been using some of these lines as a dinner speaker for many moons, but they made smile::

Krauthammer, in case you don’t know, was a practicing psychiatrist in Boston before he went into journalism, and the two phases of his career have more in common than you might think. In both Boston and Washington, he deals with people who suffer from paranoia and delusions and of grandeur. “The difference is that the ones in Washington have nuclear weapons.”

Chad Ochocinco
REUTERS/Adam HungerChad Ochocinco

When discussing all the smart conservatives that he wishes had run for president, Krauthammer said the best candidate would have been Jeb Bush, if only he had a different last name. Krauthammer said he has suggested that Bush change his name, perhaps to “Jeb Ochocinco.” That would simultaneously appeal to two constituencies, Hispanics and wide receivers. (If you don’t get it, ask the football fan in your family.)

Krauthammer said that at the pre-dinner receptions several American Experiment members told him that he should run for president. He said he repeated his long-standing policy: “If nominated I will not run. But if elected, I’ll serve. I’m just lazy and not willing to go through the whole process.”

I dunno. Maybe you had to be there.

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Comments (31)

  1. Submitted by Paul Scott on 05/23/2012 - 10:51 am.

    Tacking leftward at best

    One only wishes that Obama had taken a sharp turn to the left.

  2. Submitted by Roy Everson on 05/23/2012 - 11:17 am.

    Stick to the shrink biz

    If he’s professionally equipped to handled paranoid personalities then Faux News is the place to be. So he distinguishes socialist from social democrat, big deal. Obama is a left-leaning centrist and governing that way. Perpetuating that very tired talking point, the ” far left Obama”, proves C.K. to be a fraud.

    There was a clear mandate for health care reform in 2008. Obama chose the path of least resistance by enriching the insurance industry. Voters tossed out Democrats in 2010 because they demand quick results when unemployment is high and because voter turnout was poor. C.K. perceived a different message from those voters and he is entitled to his opinion, but happily for him his view sells tickets to the conservative prom.

  3. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 05/23/2012 - 11:34 am.

    “European `Leviathan’ State collapsing”?

    To paraphrase Mark Twain, the rumors of the demise of European social democracy are way premature so Krauthammer gets that wrong. Just as he does most everything else. The right makes such a big deal about European social democracy painting it in the worst way possible but never willing to acknowledge that it actually works. With respect to health care services and financing, it works better than the US “model” if the train wreck that exists here can actually be described as a model of anything.

    Of course, the right has nothing to replace or reform this train wreck so they are forced to dissembling or name calling, at which they are quite good. Obamacare, which is a feeble, less than halfway gesture in the direction of a true social democratic solution, bears no comparison to the kind of health care system that has existed in Europe for decades. And Obamacare, which has not even gone into effect yet, is the only act for which the Obama administration can take credit, that even qualifies as somewhat liberal. Given the fact that it was patterned after Romneycare in Massachussetts, even that is suspect.

    Krauthammer is just another windbag in the mighty rightwing Republican Wurlitzer that has been playing only a one theme note since Obama was elected. That theme is “even though we are bankrupt of any ideas for fixing the country’s problems, we must oppose and block anything Obama proposes so that at the end of his first term we can say he failed.”

  4. Submitted by Biff Pow on 05/23/2012 - 12:06 pm.

    Leftward Lurch?

    It’s great to hear Mr. Krauthammer is so charming in person. By chance did he provide substantive backing for his claim of a “leftward lurch” under the President?

    When even the Wall Street Journal (http://articles.marketwatch.com/2012-05-22/commentary/31802270_1_spending-federal-budget-drunken-sailor) can point out that federal spending has grown at the slowest rate in 60 years under President Obama, this is hard to fathom.

    And then you consider that public employment has shrunk at both the state and federal level, taxes have gone down and the annual deficit has decreased? Well, just further evidence of Obama’s incompetence, I guess.

    Apparently audience are hungry for fantasy these days. Mr. K supplies it in abundance.

  5. Submitted by Jackson Cage on 05/23/2012 - 12:16 pm.

    Yeah, I guess you DID have to be there…

    On top of being a guy who’s only funny half the time, this was obviously just another prom I’m glad I missed. I don’t need to waste a few hours listening to a polished up Rush Limbaugh.

  6. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/23/2012 - 12:31 pm.

    My understanding of the 2008 election is that the Republican party doubled down on crazy/incompetent/clueless and the Democratic party offered a new racial era and a more rational approach without the inevitable rerun of the best hits of the Clinton crazies. I don’t recall Obama offering a hard-let turn. All he had to do was appear rational and string sentences together in a statesman-like manner without the risk of incipient senility.

    The strategy of making Obama as a hard-left person is entirely based on trying to make the crazy/incompetent/clueless nature of the Republican party in the Bush administrationas an OK alternative.

    And given the reprise of the crazy/incompetent/clueless show of the current Republican primary, the only strategic way forward is to make the other person look more crazy/incompetent/clueless than the Republican candidates have proven themselves.

    And by the way, who died and made the Bush family the “royal family” of politics in the US? Can anyone point out permanent good results from the programs of the the previous Bush presidents?

  7. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/23/2012 - 01:37 pm.

    Obama’s leftist bonefides

    were sealed when he

    1. Told a citizen that “spreading the wealth around” would be a good thing for the country.

    2. Chose to fix the problems with the health care system by having the federal government take over the health insurance industry by mandating what they will cover and mandating that all citizens buy it. (He could have solved the problem by simply adding those without coverage to a government plan like Medicare or Medicaid but that’s not the lefty agenda.)

    3. Employed the socialist policy of crony capitalism, using taxpayer funds to subsidize private enterprise in companies like Solyndra that were either friendly to his agenda or to him personally.

    4. Bailed out car manufacturers and banks when he should have let the market work, even if that meant allowing them to go into bankruptcy.

    5. Told an aircraft manufacturer it couldn’t build a new plant in the state of their choice because the unions opposed it.

    6. Preferred higher taxes to cuts in spending to solve the debt and deficit problem.

    7. Took over the school loan program from private banks.

    Yep. Like Maggie Thatcher said, “the trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money.” And most people would have said we were out of other people’s money before we reached $16 trillion in debt.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/23/2012 - 02:16 pm.

      Leftist Bugbears

      Just to go through your list:

      1. Isn’t one of the advantages of capitalism that it offers a chance to “spread the wealth around” by letting everyone have a chance to become wealthy? Isn’t it better when the system works that way?

      2. Single payer health care! I’m with you on that one!

      3. Crony capitalism = socialism? You mean, like Halliburton? Like the Chinese model so beloved of certain Republicans?

      4. Massive unemployment in an important sector is so good for the economy. I know GW Bush disagreed with you on that one.

      5. I think you’re misremembering. The President has no authority to say a business may not locate in a given state. Whether government contracts will flow to that business when it defies policies of the Administration is another matter.

      6. Instead of lower taxes on the wealthy, which accomplishes nothing.

      7. The government was already insuring the student loans that were taken over. In other words ,the banks were letting the public assume the risks of student loans, instead of the banks who were actually making the loans. I’m just flipping through a copy of Capitalism and Freedom, looking for the capitalist justification for that one.

      • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/23/2012 - 02:44 pm.

        No exactly

        1. The advantage of capitalism is consumer choice, which moves wealth around as dictated by the market, not having the government take from one person and give it to another.

        2. It’s not “single payer health care.” It’s helping those who need help, but ONLY those who need help. I know that liberals are unfamiliar with charity, but that’s the way that works.

        3. Halliburten wasn’t “crony capitalism.” Halliburten was the only American company who bid on a government contract who was able to deliver the goods. Solyndra didn’t deliver anything except a bad investment. Crony capitalism is subsidizing one company at the expense of others … picking winners and losers/ Halliburten was the only American company who is in that marketplace.

        4. It’s not the taxpayers’ job to prop up private enterprise, even is that means jobs are lost. If GM had filed bankruptcy they could have stayed in business without the taxpayer bailout.

        5. The NRLB told Boeing it couldn’t relocate it’s plant to South Carolina and the president backed them up. That’s outrageous and not the role of government. They’ve since backed off, but it’s that kind of anti-business attitude that is causing companies to relocate out of the country.

        6. Lower taxes on anybody, wealthy or not, allows them to spend in it the marketplace instead of allowing government to spend it as if it was their money.

        7. The government doesn’t belong in the banking business. It’s not a constitutional function of the federal government.

        • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/23/2012 - 03:15 pm.

          So . . .

          1. Moving wealth. That’s what I said.

          2. I’m confused: I thought you said Medicare and Medicaid should be extended to everyone who doesn’t have insurance. Sounds like single-payer to me.

          3. Halliburton was the only bidder on contracts because the contracts were not open to other bidders. Why is that not cronyism?

          4. GM needed capital to file bankruptcy, and private investors (like Bain Capital) weren’t interested. Anyway, if the government is not supposed to be propping up private enterprise, why are private contractors doing overseas security work, running prisons, etc.?

          5. Boeing was violating a clearly established federal law on collective bargaining. This was not a law enacted by the Obama administration.

          6. Taxes are necessary to pay for the functions of government. Those functions, like them or not, agree with them or not, were decreed by duly elected representatives of the people. Keeping taxes too low is ruinous. Not cutting spending is a policy call that has survived Republican as well as Democratic administrations. There’s nothing “leftist” about it.

          7. Tell that to your local bank. See how much they like the idea of unprotected risk.

  8. Submitted by Gerald Abrahamson on 05/23/2012 - 01:55 pm.

    Got a chuckle from his own internal conservative contradiction.

    Conservatives supposedly oppose “Big Govt”. Thus, they HAVE to oppose any type of govt ID (such as Voter ID). Why? Because any govt big enough to ENFORCE Voter ID is “Big Govt”–which is opposed by conservatives. Catch-22.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/23/2012 - 02:25 pm.

      Except that …

      if the primary role of government is to protect my constitutional rights, then ensuring my vote will not be invalidated by a fraudulent one is a valid government role.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/23/2012 - 02:57 pm.

        Basic civics

        The only thing that can invalidate your vote is proving that YOU did not have the legal right to vote.
        And a valid -government- role is not necessarily a valid -Federal- government role. Note that the Constitution (at least of this country) gives most control of elections to the states, not to the Federal government. The Feds get involved when a civil rights abuse is involved (equal standing before the law).

      • Submitted by Richard Schulze on 05/24/2012 - 07:14 am.

        One thing I don’t need to know is which pundits party activists (from either party) are influenced by. If they were influenced by anyone with a whit of sense, it would be right out of party activism.

    • Submitted by Andrew Richner on 05/24/2012 - 09:03 am.

      Not about “Big Government”

      That’s because the “Big Government” line is just superficial rhetoric, which is what invalidates Krauthammer’s analysis of the underlying meaning of this year’s election. Conservatism is not really about the size of government, but the scope. If you look at Barry Goldwater or William F. Buckley or Ronald Reagan, the founders of today’s conservatism, their understanding of society is that it’s an unruly mob which will erupt into chaos if not kept in check by an organizing elite — the business community, religious leaders, the police, and of course, conservative politicians.

      According to this view, the reprehensible Left would loose these untamed mobs and institute anarchy. Welfare is bad when it’s for poor people and good when it’s for rich people because the rich people are upstanding, moral, and have proven that they know what to do with “their” money, while the poor will squander it on bad investments (like mortgages!).

      Here’s another example: conservatives flooded munitions and arms suppliers with orders after Obama’s election not just because they feared the prospect of gun control, but because they are afraid of the property theft, muggings, etc. associated with the ascendancy of the Left and the institution of liberal policy.

      The scope of a conservative government is in keeping the wild, uncivilized elements of society in check, with whatever means possible, which is what justifies Voter ID, strict immigration laws, anti-gay marriage, cuts to welfare, etc. It’s only when government operates outside of that mandate and starts trying to restrict the “good” people (like Wall Street bankers, investment capital firms, Mitt Romney), while helping the “bad” people (like so-called illegal immigrants, the impoverished, Barack Obama) that it becomes “Big.”

  9. Submitted by Ginny Martin on 05/23/2012 - 02:50 pm.

    Democrats and DFLers

    I think the mess the Republicans have made of their own party is going to doom them. Certainly in MN where ideological confusion as well as financial failures are almost surely going to turn things back to the Democrats. I just hope people are paying close attention on the national level as well to what the republicans are offering–which is what? An ideologically and memory handicapped presidential candidate who thinks everything but tax cuts are “job killers.”

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/23/2012 - 03:18 pm.

      There’s no ideological confusion, Ginny

      All those who call themselves republican, for whatever reason, all agree on one thing: We’re not democrats. That’s sufficient.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/24/2012 - 09:39 am.

        In other words

        You don’t know what you believe in, just what you don’t believe in.
        Impressive.

      • Submitted by Steve Roth on 05/24/2012 - 03:00 pm.

        After your list was shot full of holes…

        …not being a democrat is sufficient to be a republican made me laugh out loud! Thank you!

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/25/2012 - 11:42 am.

        Talk about a big tent!

        The following people also agree that they are not Democrats: Kim Jong-un, Vladimir Putin, and Ratko Mladic. By your logic, that makes them Republicans.

  10. Submitted by Joseph Fleischman on 05/23/2012 - 04:46 pm.

    Krauthammer

    In attributing GOP loss in 2008 to economic disaster, Krauthammer ignored the fact John McCain told America that he only cared about his election when he assured nomination of Sarah Palin, an act of disregard for the nation.

  11. Submitted by Lance Groth on 05/23/2012 - 05:37 pm.

    Softballs

    Can’t resist Dennis’ softballs:

    >1. Told a citizen that “spreading the wealth around” would be a good thing for the country.

    When the top 1% control 35% of the country’s wealth, and the bottom 80% control only 7% (2007 data), that is capitalism run amok, and the wealth needs some spreadin’ around. Further, if taxation is what you are referring to, then the United States (and every country in history) has always “spread the wealth around”, and always will, under both Repub and Dem administrations. This is how the real world works.

    >2. Chose to fix the problems with the health care system by having the federal government take over the health insurance industry by mandating what they will cover and mandating that all citizens buy it. (He could have solved the problem by simply adding those without coverage to a government plan like Medicare or Medicaid but that’s not the lefty agenda.)

    As I recall, that option was discussed, and the Repubs wouldn’t go for it. Paul Ryan in particular. They don’t want to expand either program, they want to eliminate them. While we’re on the subject of health care reform, the Repubs all like to talk about repealing “obamacare” (even Romney, who now repudiates his own crowning achievement as Governor, which was the blueprint for “obamacare” and which includes the individual mandate, which as we all know was originally a Republican idea), but I have yet to hear a single one offer a plan to replace it. They don’t have one – zero, zilch. Apparently they’re happy with the idea of going back to the old broken system in which insurance companies, which are supposed to exist for the purpose of spreading risk and cost over the largest pool possible, can instead refuse to cover anyone who isn’t perfectly healthy, or can raise the premium to astronomical levels just because you were seen to sneeze once. Yeah, that’s a plan alright. If Obamacare/Romneycare is so awful, then I want to hear what the Repub plan to replace it is. If “repeal” is the whole deal, then sorry, not interested – mainly because I’m not rich.

    >3. Employed the socialist policy of crony capitalism, using taxpayer funds to subsidize private enterprise in companies like Solyndra that were either friendly to his agenda or to him personally.

    No-bid contracts are crony capitalism, and Halliburton and other companies were granted such contracts under Dubya. And no, I don’t believe Halliburton’s favored treatment had nothing to do with the fact that it was Cheney’s old company. Repubs are no strangers to corruption, Dennis.

    >4. Bailed out car manufacturers and banks when he should have let the market work, even if that meant allowing them to go into bankruptcy.

    You won’t get many other than Paulites to agree with you on this one. The auto bailout was a smashing success, preserved many jobs and an entire industrial sector, and the companies involved are now healthy, at the top of their industry. I guess many on the right now have selective memory concerning the acute terror of those days in 2008, watching the entire system implode and wondering if there would even be an economy left by election day. No one who remembers clearly can honestly claim that Obama only “made things worse”, or “created no jobs”, or any of the usual rhetoric we hear in political ads. His actions (and Bush’s too, in the final months of his presidency, credit where it’s due) stopped the implosion, staunched the hemorrhaging, and put a floor under the whole collapse. Recovery is slower than desired, but that’s because of the depth of the hole we were in. Let’s not forget also, the problem is global, not just American, and is still ongoing, Dennis, ideology doesn’t mean a frak when catastrophe is upon you. You do what you have to, whatever will work, to fix it.

    >5. Told an aircraft manufacturer it couldn’t build a new plant in the state of their choice because the unions opposed it.

    No comment as I’m only vaguely aware of the issue and don’t know either side of the story.

    >6. Preferred higher taxes to cuts in spending to solve the debt and deficit problem.

    Because it’s not fixable through cuts alone, unless you want to essentially eliminate the Federal government aside from the Pentagon and devastate the economy in the process. Simple math, you can’t do it through cuts alone, it needs to be a mix of both revenue and cuts. And IMO, it’s dishonorable and unpatriotic for the aforementioned tiny percentage who control almost all the country’s wealth to refuse to chip in to help solve the problem. Talk about an entitlement mentality – the repub wealthy want the services of government, but don’t want to help pay for them. The right loves to wave the flag and mouth platitudes about patriotism, but kick in to the kitty to keep things running? Nah, let the middle class and poor do that. That’s contemptible.

    >7. Took over the school loan program from private banks.

    I’ll go with RB Holbrook’s answer on that one. Funny, the financial sector and the health insurance sector also like to rake in the profits while letting the taxpayers assume the risk. I believe we’ve detected a pattern.

  12. Submitted by Jerry Von Korff on 05/23/2012 - 07:14 pm.

    Khammer

    This may be unfair, but I feel as though there are pundits on the left and the right who make their living by regurgitating talking points that are sent to them by Republican or Democratic, or labor or chamber of commerce folks in D.C. and Khammer is one of those. For balance, count Ed Schultz as one on the labor-left. Or perhaps they are just playing a role: pro labor pundit; pro republican right winger, and they have been paid to stay in the role religiously.

    What if, when they go home to their spouse or significant other, they say, I can’t believe it, another day at the office where I had to pretend to be a mindless liberal or conservative, as the case may be?

  13. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 05/23/2012 - 08:54 pm.

    “Socialism?”

    Mr. Tester’s near-total lack of understanding of socialism is truly a thing to behold. Obama is to socialism as Mr. Tester is to liberalism.

    “Big government” is the latest dog-whistle phrase for people who think THEY should be the only ones who benefit from government policies. If the primary role of government is to protect Mr. Tester’s constitutional rights, then that same government, and that same role, exists to protect the constitutional rights of other people with whom Mr. Tester presumably heartily disagrees. That’s what makes government a kind of balancing act that requires intelligence and finesse rather than the Republican broadaxe and name-calling.

    We can all take Mr. Tester more seriously about this particular issue when he’s able to produce evidence that voter fraud is actually taking place in Minnesota elections. I look forward to seeing his example(s), since no one else has been able to show evidence of such fraud.

    Mr. Tester – and perhaps Mr. Bills, as well – ought to go back to “Econ 101” in regard to lowering taxes. While it’s true that lowering taxes ALLOWS people to spend money in the marketplace that would otherwise go to government, it does not COMPEL them to do so, and people who are actually wealthy don’t go out every Friday night to buy groceries for the family. They can eat only so much food, no matter how expensive it might be. They can buy only so many mansions, drive so many expensive vehicles, etc. There’s plenty of research to show that the wealthy spend a far smaller proportion of their income than do people in the middle of the income spectrum. The wealthy are already paying a lower tax rate than I am, and neither need nor deserve tax breaks.

    The government ALWAYS takes wealth from one person and gives it to another. Redistributing wealth has been part of government function from the very beginning, and the whole meme of the “free market” is the opium dream of ideologues. There’s never been one, and there won’t ever be one. “Consumer choice” is a wonderful concept that virtually never appears in the real world, since it requires honesty and transparency on the part of producers and sellers, and genuinely accurate information and rational decision-making on the part of users and buyers. Neither of those scenarios takes place in any but the most rare of occasions.

    Why does Mr. Tester assume that “liberals” are unfamiliar with charity? How would he know? Or… gasp… could this be a case of someone on the right unfairly stereotyping those with whom he disagrees? The virtue of the republic trembles at the thought.

    Since government always influences the market, the really important question is “Who benefits from that influence?” When the benefits are confined to a small group of plutocrats (the phrase “the one percent” comes readily to mind…), the policies that produced that result are not in the public interest, and richly deserve to be ended. I heartily recommend to Mr. Tester and other MinnPost readers “Winner Take All Politics” by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson. Relevant and enlightening summer reading during an election year.

    It’s true that the Constitution doesn’t explicitly grant the government authority to be “in the banking business,” but the implied powers clause could certainly be interpreted to mean that, and as we’ve seen in the past few years – not to mention numerous other times in the nation’s history – quite a number of banks, large and small, don’t belong in the banking business, either. Since banks can no more be trusted than any other institution run by humans, and usually less so, based on their historical performance, a reasonable response is to oversee their operations. That’s still a reasonable response. I’d be very happy to see an updated version of Glass-Steagall restrictions on banking activities become a federal statute.

  14. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 05/23/2012 - 09:33 pm.

    Odd, Republicans like to call Democrats fiscally irresponsible. I think that in the worst case Democrats might be called “tax and spend” but over the past 30 years the Republicans seem to be “borrow and spend” party which is far more morally bankrupt in my view.

  15. Submitted by Pete Barrett on 05/24/2012 - 05:42 am.

    Are There Two Obamas?

    Obama? Hard left? Really?

    One third of the stimulus was tax cuts. The Affordable Care Act PRESERVED private, for profit health insurers, unlike a what single payer plan would have done. No mega banks were broken up, much less nationalized, no one went to jail, and very tepid Wall Street reforms were passed. The Administration spent no time or capital on card check authorization for union organizing campaigns.

    If I ever had any respect for Krauthammer before, I have none now.

    The trouble with modern day conservatism is that eventually you run out of money to redistribute upwards.

  16. Submitted by Bruce Johnson on 05/24/2012 - 08:19 am.

    Scientists differ on shape of the earth

    Sorry Eric, this just seems lazy reporting. I think it is important to hear what people like Krauthammer say in such contexts, but simply recording it and thereby amplifying it seems like the worst sort of ‘objective reporting’. “Hard Left”, “Government Takeover”, “Failure” — there’s no evidence cited for those claims and no challenge from our reporter. Lazy.

  17. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 05/24/2012 - 11:28 am.

    I Agree With Bruce

    Most of us here on MinnPost likely found (as I did) the comments of Mr. Krauthammer to be completely predictable. The only way such comments would have been worthy of examination is if they represented some major “come to Jesus” moment wherein it became clear he had broken out of the alternate reality in which so many conservatives dwell and had come to see the world in a far more accurate, fact-based, logical, rational way.

    In comparison to Mr, Krauthammer, today’s “liberals” are cold-eyed, fact-based realists.

    The truth is, there IS no “far left” in this country at this time. What’s considered “left” leans only about 2 degrees leftward of the straight up middle (whereas what’s considered “conservative” generally leans rightward about 67 degrees – which, to me, means they’ve crossed beneath the line that represents any connection to the real world and moved downward into an alternate reality which has precious little to do with the real world).

    If you are seeking to create “balance” at MinnPost, the only way you could balance a perspective as far out of touch with reality to the right as Mr. Krauthammer’s would be to report as serious the comments of a continuing disciple of the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll,” “love is all you need,” “peace” commune movement from the 60’s and early 70’s.

    You have to go all the way back to the perspectives of those folks to find people who leaned 67 degrees to the left and, thus, had largely departed from reality. Since they have disappeared into obscurity, it’s sometimes difficult for us to realize that it is only those 60’s and 70’s radicals that would make up a “far left” in this country as radical in it’s outlook and as divorced from reality as today’s current crop of “conservatives” are on the right.

    It is a great disservice to the nation and a great tragedy that the news media seems to believe that, because “conservatives” have moved so far to the right, that the middle line, representing reality and realistic solutions to our nation’s problems has ALSO moved.

    IT. HAS. NOT. No matter how much the media and pundits would like us to believe that the mid line, representing reality has moved to leaning right by 33.5 degrees, such is not the case. Reality is right where it has always been, straight up at 90 degrees.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/24/2012 - 12:05 pm.

    Why do we have pretend?

    I really don’t understand why we have to pretend these guys like Krauthammer have any intellectual integrity or substance? So he has a sense of humor, he’s not a comedian. I’m sorry but anyone who thinks Obama has taken a sharp leftward turn is either ignorant or dishonest. Socialism doesn’t even enter the equation here. And by the way, all economies re-distribute wealth, the only difference is the direction of distribution. For all their populist rhetoric Democrats since the rise of the DNC have supported a policy of upward distribution. Rahm Emanuel didn’t say: “F***” the sharholders. If you’ll recall he said:”F***” the UAW. Some socialist.

  19. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 05/25/2012 - 06:56 am.

    The new Reagan

    I just don’t think political people think in those terms. For one thing, among politicians, at least Democratic politicians, the idea of “Ronald Reaga” is of recent origin, the manufactured creation of Republican spinmeisters, who historically lacked a political model. Before Reagan, who was the Republican hero in the way that FDR and John Kennedy were Democratic heroes? Robert A. Taft? Beyond that, there is “Ronald Reagan” the political phenomenon which represents the final undoing of the Roosevelt national political coalition. That was a process well under way before Ronald Reagan became president, but for various reasons, it’s principal architect and earliest beneficiary, Richard Nixon, was not suitable for the hero role.

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