Krauthammer on Obama and “leading from behind”

April 29, 2011

I wrote about this amazing statement of an Obama Doctrine a few days ago. Well, it’s more accurate to say I sputtered in disbelief at it. In today’s Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer actually analyzes it in a penetrating article I could emulate only in my dreams. The whole piece is a must-read, but here is his discussion of the administration’s perceived need to lead from behind because the world hates us:

It is the fate of any assertive superpower to be envied, denounced and blamed for everything under the sun. Nothing has changed. Moreover, for a country so deeply reviled, why during the massive unrest in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan and Syria have anti-American demonstrations been such a rarity?

Who truly reviles America the hegemon? The world that Obama lived in and shaped him intellectually: the elite universities; his Hyde Park milieu (including his not-to-be-mentioned friends, William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn); the church he attended for two decades, ringing with sermons more virulently anti-American than anything heard in today’s full-throated uprising of the Arab Street.

It is the liberal elites who revile the American colossus and devoutly wish to see it cut down to size. Leading from behind — diminishing America’s global standing and assertiveness — is a reaction to their view of America, not the world’s.

Other presidents have taken anti-Americanism as a given, rather than evidence of American malignancy, believing — as do most Americans — in the rightness of our cause and the nobility of our intentions. Obama thinks anti-Americanism is a verdict on America’s fitness for leadership. I would suggest that “leading from behind” is a verdict on Obama’s fitness for leadership.

Leading from behind is not leading. It is abdicating. It is also an oxymoron. Yet a sympathetic journalist, channeling an Obama adviser, elevates it to a doctrine. The president is no doubt flattered. The rest of us are merely stunned.

Three points, nothing but net.

RELATED: More Krauthammer — “Decline is a choice.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)

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The Wrath of the Khan-Democrats – Updated

July 23, 2010

It’s sad to contemplate, but there is a not-likely-but-real possibility that, in the wake of a large-scale defeat in the November midterms, the Democrats might try to use the constitutionally mandated “lame duck” session of Congress that comes between the elections and the inauguration of the new Congress to ram through legislation they couldn’t pass before the elections. Charles Krauthammer explains:

[Retiring and defeated members] could then vote for anything — including measures they today shun as the midterms approach and their seats are threatened — because they would have nothing to lose. They would be unemployed. And playing along with Obama might even brighten the prospects for, say, an ambassadorship to a sunny Caribbean isle.

As John Fund reports in the Wall Street Journal, Sens. Jay Rockefeller, Kent Conrad and Tom Harkin are already looking forward to what they might get passed in a lame-duck session. Among the major items being considered are card check, budget-balancing through major tax hikes, and climate-change legislation involving heavy carbon taxes and regulation.

Card check, which effectively abolishes the secret ballot in the workplace, is the fondest wish of a union movement to which Obama is highly beholden. Major tax hikes, possibly including a value-added tax, will undoubtedly be included in the recommendations of the president’s debt commission, which conveniently reports by Dec. 1. And carbon taxes would be the newest version of the cap-and-trade legislation that has repeatedly failed to pass the current Congress — but enough dead men walking in a lame-duck session might switch and vote to put it over the top.

It’s a target-rich environment. The only thing holding the Democrats back would be shame, a Washington commodity in chronically short supply. To pass in a lame-duck session major legislation so unpopular that Democrats had no chance of passing it in regular session — after major Democratic losses signifying a withdrawal of the mandate implicitly granted in 2008 — would be an egregious violation of elementary democratic norms.

Charles doesn’t think even the Democrats are that dishonorable, but I’m not so sure. When in the minority from 2003-2006, the Democrats regularly and shamelessly put the electoral interests of their party ahead of the national interest during the war in Iraq, so much so that they reminded me of their Copperhead ancestors of the 1860s.

Then, having taken control of both Congress and the White House in January, 2009, they rammed through ObamaCare in the face of massive public opposition while freezing the opposition out of the process and making use of dishonest parliamentary maneuvers. While the public wanted them to pay attention to jobs and the ailing economy, the Democrats instead went on a spending binge with a pork-laden stimulus package (that only stimulated the debt) and budgets that bore no relation to fiscal reality or the will of the people. They’ve only recently shelved the latest version of their economy-killing and unpopular cap-and-trade bill – perhaps to rise like a zombie in the lame duck session? And, as Krauthammer points out, that isn’t all that’s on their progressive wish list.

Like all good progressive statists, the dominant wing of the Democratic Party believes government elites know better than the people what’s good for the people and that we “just don’t understand.” They need us to vote them into office but, once there, they have no further need to listen to us. (Remember the resentment they showed at the town-hall meetings in the summer of 2009 –or more recently?) And because they see themselves as an elite that knows better than everyone else what the nation needs, it’s not hard for me to imagine a good number of them acting out of pique at having their mandate withdrawn in November and thinking “Fine, we’ll show you!”

The prospect of a legislative finger flipped at the public in a lame-duck session reminds me of nothing so much as a line from Moby Dick – or the best of the Star Trek movies:

“To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee”

If that happens, the Republicans should go into total-filibuster mode, blocking everything except the most routine legislation. In the short window of a lame-duck session, they can probably hold the line.

After which the Democrats, like Khan, can enter a well-deserved exile.

LINKS: Power Line thinks the Democrats might feel constrained by the number of seats they have to defend in the Senate in 2012. More from Allahpundit.

UPDATE: I knew it, I just knew it!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Monday links fiesta!

March 15, 2010

I’ve got a bunch of interesting links that I’ve been letting sit for one reason or another, so here they are in a bunch. Pick and choose the ones that most interest you!

War and the Jihad

Iraq held a national election for a new parliament last week. In spite of terrorist attacks that killed dozens in an attempt to derail the elections, roughly 60% of the electorate turned out. (Lazy American voters, hang your heads in shame.) Now that a few days have passed, the results are in and they look encouraging. Perhaps George Bush’s “mission accomplished” moment was only premature, not wrong? Regardless, congratulations to the Iraqi politicians, security forces, and the people themselves for flipping millions of purple fingers at the fascists.

At Threat Matrix, Bill Roggio relays a congressman’s concerns about a growing threat from another jihadist group: Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Something you will rarely read on this blog, in this case regarding Geert Wilders: Charles Krauthammer is wrong. More at Jihad Watch and from Roger L. Simon.

More from Wilders, on his controversial call to ban the Qur’an in Holland.

Foreign Affairs

Barack Obama finally gives up trying to force a dictator on Honduras.

I Can’t Believe She Said This

Nancy Pelosi on why we have to pass ObamaCare:

You’ve heard about the controversies within the bill, the process about the bill, one or the other. But I don’t know if you have heard that it is legislation for the future, not just about health care for America, but about a healthier America, where preventive care is not something that you have to pay a deductible for or out of pocket. Prevention, prevention, prevention—it’s about diet, not diabetes. It’s going to be very, very exciting.

But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of the controversy.

It’s not that she thinks we’re stupid. It’s that she thinks we’re all kindergartners. (More from ST)

More Health Care

Shawn Tully on the insane accounting needed to make ObamaCare look even barely presentable. (via Blue Crab Boulevard)

At Last

At Big Government, “Josie Wales” argues the constitutional case against the progressives who dominate the Democratic Party and control our government.

That’s all, folks!


Happy anniversary, Charles!

December 18, 2009

Charles Krauthammer is one of my favorite writers: sharp, incisive thinking with an intellectual clarity that does not suffer foolishness – and is quite happy to point out who the fools are. I’ve long wished there were some way to get him into the US Senate in place of any of the many careerist mediocrities warming the seats there, these days.

Today, Charles tells us that this is his 25th anniversary as a columnist. In his honor, The Weekly Standard has put together a recommended list of articles he’s written for them. A “Best of Krauthammer,” as it were. Go and have a look; it will be well-worth your time.

My favorite? It’s hard to say, but one I turn to again and again when discussing the Jihadi War* is The Truth About Torture.

*(My name for the current conflict with radicalized Muslims. I think it’s more accurate and honest than “War on Terror.”)


Bad Idea

November 18, 2009

Charles Krauthammer on why trying Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a civilian Federal court in New York City is a bad idea:


Do you think he’s a terrorist, or is he just weird?

November 13, 2009

Charles Krauthammer looks at the latest attempt to explain Major Hasan’s massacre of his fellow soldiers at Ft. Hood as “anything but Islam” -this time, as a psychiatric problem– and isn’t impressed:

Really? What about the doctors and nurses, the counselors and physical therapists at Walter Reed Army Medical Center who every day hear and live with the pain and the suffering of returning soldiers? How many of them then picked up a gun and shot 51 innocents?

And what about civilian psychiatrists — not the Upper West Side therapist treating Woody Allen neurotics, but the thousands of doctors working with hospitalized psychotics — who every day hear not just tales but cries of the most excruciating anguish, of the most unimaginable torment? How many of those doctors commit mass murder?

It’s been decades since I practiced psychiatry. Perhaps I missed the epidemic.

But, of course, if the shooter is named Nidal Hasan, whom National Public Radio reported had been trying to proselytize doctors and patients, then something must be found. Presto! Secondary post-traumatic stress disorder, a handy invention to allow one to ignore the obvious.

The “obvious,” of course, is that Nidal Malik Hasan was a devout Muslim who had chosen to obey the call to holy war against the infidel, the call to jihad fi sabil allah, and acted on it by gunning down 51 people, killing 14 – including the unborn child of the pregnant woman he murdered.

But we can’t say that. In our post-modern world besotted with multiculturalism, it is out-of-bounds to take a hard look and talk frankly about another culture or religion (unless it’s Western), such as Islam with its imperatives toward supremacism and war against the unbeliever. No, instead we have to repeat politically correct pabulum and invent psychological disorders that don’t exist, all so we can continue to ignore the jihadist elephant in the living room.

RELATED: The war goes on as the US moves to seize four mosques and an office building, all allegedly owned by Iranian fronts. Meanwhile, to others, Nidal Hasan is a hero.


That’s gotta hurt

October 2, 2009

Krauthammer on Obama’s French Lesson:

When France chides you for appeasement, you know you’re scraping bottom.

Ouch!  Feeling beat up

Read the rest and enjoy Charles at his acerbic best.