Friday, June 19, 2009

Charles Krauthammer's Take on Obama's Healthcare Plan & His Popularity

From last night’s “All-Stars.” on the "Special Report" News Program on FOX NEWS

1. On the state of the health care debate:

That's the big setback this week, was one number, the CBO (nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office) number that came out, which estimated the Obama plan, or at least the one coming out of Congress…the Kennedy plan, would add $1.6 trillion in deficit spending.
The reason it is devastating is because it put a real number on the essential contradiction of the Obama fiscal idea. His idea, a correct idea, is that the way to control exploding deficits with all of the programs he's proposing is to bend the curve to lower the cost of entitlements, particularly Medicare and Medicaid.

He's right. If you do that, it would save so much it would even allow for all the trillions thrown away on stimulus and other stuff.

The contradiction is that when you look at the health care, the real plan in the real world as proposed now, it bends the curve upwards to $1.6 trillion additional spending, and that explodes the whole idea of a fiscally responsible plan.

2. On the public’s perception of Obama’s policies:

I think the real drama of the Obama presidency is the contest between charisma and reality. And he is the most charismatic, in fact, some Democrats and some of the press think of him as messianic, but at least [the most] charismatic president since Reagan and Kennedy, and perhaps more so.

But you have the reality, and you see it in the gap between his own popularity and his policies.

The ones that I think the Democrats ought to have anxiety over are the deficits, the auto takeover, and Guantanamo, because each of them is a symbol. Deficits is the old bugaboo about Democrats as free-spending liberals. Autos is the idea of Democrats who want to expand the reach and authority of government.

And Guantanamo is a double effect, soft on crime. You get those pictures of Uighurs in paradise swimming on the beach in swim trunks in Bermuda. And secondly, soft on national defense, the idea of having terrorists in America. Cheney capitalized on that, and he won in that debate.

On those three items, there is a real gap opening up, and Obama will be able to carry those issues on personal popularity, but only so far. In the end, reality is going to bite him.

Thanks National Review online for posting the transcript.

Krauthammer is one of the smartest guys I know in politics and policy in this country.