Friday, December 17, 2010


Yes, I too am puzzling over Charles Krauthammer's latest:

If Barack Obama wins reelection in 2012, as is now more likely than not, historians will mark his comeback as beginning on Dec. 6, the day of the Great Tax Cut Deal of 2010.

... with his stunning tax deal, Obama is back. Holding no high cards, he nonetheless managed to resurface suddenly not just as a player but as orchestrator, dealmaker and central actor in a high $1 trillion drama.

...Obama pulled this off at his lowest political ebb. After the shambles of the election and with no bargaining power ... the Republicans could have gotten everything they wanted on the Bush tax cuts retroactively in January without fear of an Obama veto....

I can only guess that (a) Krauthammer, like most modern right-wingers, sees politics not as a means to serve the country but as a war whose sole purpose as victory, and (b) like his fellow right-wing noncombatants, he has a view of war that's simple-minded and cartoonish -- war, in this view, is a contest in which one party is thoroughly demolished and the other comes out without a scratch (see the right's favorite slogan about war, "We win, they lose"). To Krauthammer, the fact that Democrats came away with anything must mean that they won everything -- in war, losers are all summarily put to death, their towns pillaged, their firstborn slaughtered, their land salted. Every armchair general knows that, right?

(And no, I'm not mocking Krauthammer's infirmity -- this Crayola view of combat, and political combat, is shared by his movement-conservative colleagues, nearly all of whom are inexperienced in the ways of actual war despite being able-bodied.)

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