Malkin Dissent

Many readers agree with this one:

What's Malkin-ish about Krauthammer's statement?  I'm a Dem, strong supporter of the president, and I can't disagree with what Krauthammer is saying.  I believe, and have always believed, that Obama wants to shift the country back to the left in the same way that Reagan shifted it right.  I don't know if you consider that a "structural" change, but it was pretty significant.  I suppose Krauthammer would say that Obama looking at something more Rooseveltian, and is taking advantage of the economic crisis to do it.  But I don't know that his supporters would consider this a bad thing; the economic crisis may have made this kind of change possible, but it has also shown how much it's needed.  In short, I don't really see Krauthammer's accusation as an "accusation," much less one harsh enough to merit nomination for this prestigious award.

Well, allow me to fisk.

"This is no ordinary Democratic administration. It is highly ideological and ambitious."

I think the notion that this administration is ideological is bizarre. Did it nationalize the banks when it could have? Nope. Did it withdraw troops immediately from Iraq and Afghanistan? Nope. It followed Bush's timetable on Iraq and has massively - and foolishly - doubled down on counter-insurgency in Afghanistan. Did it prosecute the war criminals of the last administration? Nope; it has covered for them. Has it raised taxes on anyone? Nope. It merely wants the already-sunsetted Bush tax cuts on the wealthy to expire on schedule. Did it provide a Krugman-style stimulus? Ask Krugman. Is Obama a peacenik? I suppose we have forgotten that he used the Nobel ceremony to defend Reinhold Niebuhr, has retained extraordinary rendition, and ramped up the troop-levels in Afghanistan to far beyond anything Bush ever contemplated. Has the president publicly backed marriage equality or pot-decriminalization? Au contraire. Has he even risked an iota of political capital to end the ban on gays in the military? No. In fact, it is now more likely than not that gays will still be persecuted by their own country by the end of Obama's first term. Compare that to Clinton's early efforts - in a climate far more conservative on the issue. "No ordinary Democratic administration." You mean - like LBJ's? This is preposterous piffle.

It is determined to use whatever historical window it is granted to change the country structurally, irreversibly.

Structurally? You mean returning tax rates to Clinton-era levels? Irreversibly? Again, what on earth is Krauthammer talking about? What has Obama done that is not reversible? Unlike Bush, whose massive debt, torture precedents, new Medicare entitlement and two wars are with us for the rest of our lifetimes.

It has already done so with Obamacare

Obamacare is to the right of what the Clintons attempted to do in 1993- 4. It is almost identical to Mitt Romney's plan in Massachusetts. It claims to cut Medicare. Again: what is Krauthammer smoking? And can I get some?

and has equally lofty ambitions for energy, education, immigration, taxation, industrial policy and the composition of the Supreme Court."

On energy, Obama's positions are now close to identical to McCain's in the campaign (his one radical move was to the right on deep-sea oil exploration), and cap-and-trade is dead and will surely be buried in November. On education, Obama's support for teacher accountability is further to the right than Bush - and it tackles one of his own party's interest groups. On immigration, Obama's position is identical to Bush's and on his watch, illegal immigration has fallen sharply and border enforcement is up. Industrial policy? Yes, Obama saved the auto industry, but it was temporary and its revival has vindicated the gamble. The Supreme Court? Does Krauthammer think the modest Sotomayor and the careerist defender of executive power, Kagan, are in any way, shape or form as radical as Roberts or Alito? Does he think in the wake of Citizens United and the Second Amendment ruling that we are in danger of having a Supreme Court permanently shifted to the left?

The truth is: all of this is bald-faced, indefensible, untrue propaganda. No, it is not as extreme in rhetoric as most Malkin Award winners - but that it comes from someone on the Washington Post op-ed page, and one of the most respected conservative intellectuals, puts it well over the edge.

I stand by the award. With bells on.