Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Barack Obama's Biggest Critic:
Charles Krauthammer

by Ben Smith - May 20th, 2009 - Politico

The dinner guest that night at George Will’s house in Chevy Chase was intellectually nimble, personally formidable and completely baffling, recalled columnist Charles Krauthammer – who was getting his first up-close look at President-elect Barack Obama.

"We sat around and said, 'Does anybody really know who he is and what he wants to do, now that we've had this?'" Krauthammer recalled of Obama’s January sit-down with conservative columnists. "And the answer was no. We don't know."

"I didn't understand what he was up to until he just unveiled it openly, boldly, unapologetically and very clearly within two weeks of his inauguration," Krauthammer told POLITICO in an interview in his corner office off Dupont Circle. "That's what was so stunning."

Many people call Charles Krauthammer a neo-conservative. Perhaps so. I am no longer sure whether the popular view of that version of conservative is a coherent philosophy or whether it has become a label in search of a philosophy. I still support several themes that I see as key to the movement.

1. We are at war with Islamo-fascists and a part of winning that war is that we must change the Middle East. Many deride the nation building aspect of Bush's tactics. I do not. I pray we are not pulling out of Iraq too soon. However the speed with which the American people abandoned that part of our war efforts still makes it clear how few understand this war. Most do not have a clue how long this war will go on and how complicated it will be to win.

2. Nuclear bombs will not go away. Attempts to weaken our defense by abandoning nuclear bombs, or any other form of pacifist weakening of our nation, only assure that at some point we will become the slaves of some other nation. It is amazing how few remember the speed with which Germany went from a defeated and impoverished nation to nearly conquering all of Europe. Whether it is Russia, China or even Iran, the world could be a place where America is powerless in a flash. I do not want foreign troops telling me how to live because we surrendered to nuclear blackmail.

3. Free enterprise is key to our economic success. A program of social democracy seems tantalizing and attractive to those who see only the (I believe minor) differences between our successful citizens and those who cannot keep up. However it misses the key points of both Frederick Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" and Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged". As great as our economic success is, it is not assured. Argentina proved how slim the margin between economic success and economic poverty can be. A European style economic system will destroy our wealth in very little time. Those who hate free enterprise (or capitalism) have no clue how little margin there is between being economically rich and economically poor.

Obama does not seem to understand or agree with any of these, though it is hard to find out. You cannot listen to him to find out. As Charles has noted, he talks and talks and nothing he says is clear. However you can watch his actions. Those are all devoted to implementing socialism. Anyone who still doubts this, or claims to doubt it, is either ignorant or duplicitous in their support of Obama's shell game.


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