Come for the Politics, Stay for the Pathologies

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Hammer Time With Krauthammer & Friends

Conservatives are fortunate to have so many clear thinking political writers to help us refine our own positions. Who do you suppose Progressives rely on for that? Oh that’s right: Sean Penn and Janeane Garofalo. I’ll get to them next week. For now, here are some good reads from a few of my faves.

Charles Krauthammer in Der Spiegel: really, too many good quotes to include all of them. For starters here are two gems:

SPIEGEL: Mr. Krauthammer, did the Nobel Commitee (sic) in Oslo honor or doom the Obama presidency by awarding him the Peace Prize?

Charles Krauthammer: It is so comical. Absurd. Any prize that goes to Kellogg and Briand, Le Duc Tho and Arafat, and Rigoberta Menchú, and ends up with Obama, tells you all you need to know. For Obama it's not very good because it reaffirms the stereotypes about him as the empty celebrity.

SPIEGEL: Why does it?

Krauthammer: He is a man of perpetual promise. There used to be a cruel joke that said Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be; Obama is the Brazil of today's politicians. He has obviously achieved nothing. And in the American context, to be the hero of five Norwegian leftists, is not exactly politically positive.

Not a bad start, and the Brazil joke just happens to be one of my personal, all-time favorites. Then there are more serious issues: 

SPIEGEL: You famously coined the term "Reagan Doctrine" to describe Ronald Reagan's foreign policy. What is the "Obama Doctrine?"

Krauthammer: I would say his vision of the world appears to me to be so naïve that I am not even sure he's able to develop a doctrine. He has a view of the world as regulated by self-enforcing international norms, where the peace is kept by some kind of vague international consensus, something called the international community, which to me is a fiction, acting through obviously inadequate and worthless international agencies. I wouldn't elevate that kind of thinking to a doctrine because I have too much respect for the word doctrine.

SPIEGEL: Are you saying that diplomacy always fails?

Krauthammer: No, foolishness does. Perhaps when he gets nowhere on Iran, nowhere with North Korea, when he gets nothing from the Russians in return for what he did to the Poles and the Czechs, gets nowhere in the Middle East peace talks -- maybe at that point he'll begin to rethink whether the world really runs by international norms, consensus, and sweetness and light, or whether it rests on the foundation of American and Western power that, in the final analysis, guarantees peace.

The whole interview is a must read. But don’t linger too long, you must move on to Thomas Sowell’s two excellent pieces “Dismantling America” and “Dismantling America II.” The series begins:

 Just one year ago, would you have believed that an unelected government official, not even a Cabinet member confirmed by the Senate but simply one of the many "czars" appointed by the President, could arbitrarily cut the pay of executives in private businesses by 50 percent or 90 percent?

Did you think that another "czar" would be talking about restricting talk radio? That there would be plans afloat to subsidize newspapers-- that is, to create a situation where some newspapers' survival would depend on the government liking what they publish.

 Did you imagine that anyone would even be talking about having a panel of so-called "experts" deciding who could and could not get life-saving medical treatments?

…Does any of this sound like America?

Dr. Sowell continues to discuss Obama’s stated position that he’s “out to change the United States of America,” and reminds us that he’s already raised the specter of forming a national police force. For what purpose, Sowell asks?

What would be the role of a national police force created by Barack Obama, with all its leaders appointed by him? It would seem more like the brown shirts of dictators than like anything American.

But the good Dr. reminds us that the people Obama has appointed to positions of power did not just slip under the radar of vetting: they reflect what he believes in. In Part II, Dr. Sowell explains why, from a national and international standpoint, the dismantling of America is a fool’s ride that we ought not let the President take us on:

 As for the benefit of the doubt, no one-- especially not the President of the United States-- is entitled to that, when his actions can jeopardize the rights of 300 million Americans domestically and the security of the nation in an international jungle, where nuclear weapons may soon be in the hands of people with suicidal fanaticism. Will it take a mushroom cloud over an American city to make that clear? Was 9/11 not enough?

When a President of the United States has begun the process of dismantling America from within, and exposing us to dangerous enemies outside, the time is long past for being concerned about his public image. He has his own press agents for that.

I always feel like I’ve been whacked upside the head when I get done reading his columns. But I can’t stay away. Is that a mental illness?

And then there’s the ever caustic and entertaining Ann Coulter (I fully understand  some of you put  up “strong negatives” for Annie, but this is worth your time). She describes why the state “opt out” program for health care is a hoax:

The most important fact about the "opt out" scheme allegedly allowing states to decline government health insurance is that a state can't "opt out" of paying for it. All 50 states will pay for it. A state legislature can only opt out of allowing its own citizens to receive the benefits of a federal program they're paying for.

It's like a movie theater offering a "money back guarantee" and then explaining, you don't get your money back, but you don't have to stay and watch the movie if you don't like it. That's not what most people are thinking when they hear the words "opt out." The term more likely to come to mind is "scam."

I have confirmed that, as written now,  that is a correct interpretation of the “opt out” plan: you pay whether you want to play or not. Kind of makes you wonder what else might be buried, or what other lies might be contained in a 1,990 page document, doesn’t it?

It’s beginning to remind me of the restaurant that advertises  an “all you can eat” dinner, but then you find out that the restaurant owner is the one who establishes how much that will entail.