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Today, I'll provide a quick Kos-perspective analysis of an article about the recently completed US Congressional 'lame-duck' session from the the neonest of the neoconservatives, Charles Krauthammer:

Obama's New Start

The author not only spins an interpretation that, I believe, comports with the general zeitgeist concerning the recent political scene but does it one better by claiming

President Obama just won the Triple Crown.

What is this Krauthammerian Triple Crown? Well, just as the equine version, this one represents an all-too-real horserace against Republicans, the poor economy, and dreaded limits on our military freedom vis a vis 1) the recent tax cut deal, 2) the repeal of DADT and 3) START treaty.

The horserace analogy is important, since adversarial writers like Krauthammer aren't so much attuned to concrete achievements as much as who's in front at any given moment: Pole position, quarter-point, mid-point of the race; the Village syndrome for sure.

Krauthammer quickly frames his tax deal as way to burnish Obama's new centrist credentials, while the DADT is convenient foil, a way to instantly appease the left-liberal base:

The symbolism of the "don’t ask, don’t tell" repeal cannot be underestimated. It was ... Obama decisively transcending the triangulated trimming of Bill Clinton, who instituted "don’t ask, don’t tell" in the first place. Even more subtly and understatedly, the repeal represents the taming of the most conservative of the nation’s institutions, the military, by a movement historically among the most avant-garde.

The above paragraph is a typically important windown into the conservative constitutional lacuna, since its confuse our national conservatism- the one which 'greatness' conservatives associate with the Founders, Constitution, and Military with EVERY nation's ancient prejudice against homosexuals-as if the conservation of archaic nastiness is the engine of our warrior ethos.  Krauthammer reflexively embraces the military- really militarism- as a national treasure for it's foundational values when, in actuality, their rank prejudice and arbitrary expulsions go crudely against this country's founding ideals.

Krauthammer next takes up the START treaty.  I don't think many of us have read it or analyzed it exhaustively.  It's enough for me, at least, to concur with the opinions of the President, the House, Senate and a cast of former high-ranking politicians, which includes Presidents.  But I have to chuckle at Krauthammer's criticism of the treaty based on the usually holy-grail missile defense wish and this treaties betrayal of it by it's "re-establishment of the link between offensive and defensive weapons".  That might not be so bad, just boring, but Krauthammer cannot resist inserting an echo from the discredited failures of the past:

One of the great achievements of the last decade was the Bush administration’s severing of th[e] link [between offensive and defensive weaponryed] — first by its withdrawal from the ABM Treaty, which had expressly prevented major advances in missile defense, and then with the 2002 Treaty of Moscow, which regulated offensive weapons but ostentatiously contained not a single word about any connection to missile defense. Why is this important? Because missile defense is essential for protecting ourselves from the most menacing threat of the coming century — nuclear hyper-proliferation.

It's impossible to underemphasize anything President w. Bush did in the realm of foreign relations; if he had a great achievement on paper, it was massively eclipsed by a real defeat on the ground.  If a withdrawal from an ABM treaty was a victory for missile defense and it's contents, it was a defeat for the people in the State Department trying to engender cooperation on the ground between diplomats of those nations between ally and adversary status.  Like Russia.

In his final judgement on START, Krauthammer gives President Obama his props:

Conservatives can thus take solace that their vigorous opposition to START will likely prevent further disarmament mischief down the road. But what they cannot deny is the political boost the treaty’s ratification gives Obama today, a mere seven weeks after his Election Day debacle.

In the end, Krauthammer stands with me in awe of what our President has done over the last few weeks.

His string of lame-duck successes is a singular political achievement. Because of it, the epic battles of the 112th Congress begin on what would have seemed impossible just one month ago — a level playing field.

Unlike many of us, Krauthammer doesn't have much good to say about the substantive achievements of the past few weeks and probably nothing about those of the last two years.  But if only for a moment, I'll take my singular political achievements when I can get them.

Originally posted to satrap on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 12:05 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dougymi, 1BQ, IndieGuy, TBug

    From Neocon to sane- thanks to Obama- and Kos.

    by satrap on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 12:05:25 PM PST

  •  more like triple reverse (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    1. Tax cuts. Save the economy. Oops,

     Trillions for the rich. Gotcha.

    1. START. Peace in our time. Oops,

     Trillions for war contractors in Afghanistan. Gotcha, again.

    1. DADT. Equality for all. Oops,

      Except for immigrants who want to work. Gotcha, again, and again.

    How long before liberals wise up?

    Maybe when Obama starts to dismantle Social Security and Medicare. He will be inviting to that signing ceremony: Sarah Palin, Mitch McConnell, John Boner, Steve Forbes.

    Obama is someone who has been trying all his life to be accepted as part of the ruling class. At this rate he just might get admitted.

    •  What does this even mean? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Tell me, is it his white half or his black half that has been seeking to be part of the ruling class?

      Or is it the fact that he is an earnest striver?

      This is the kind of false populist claptrap, confusing plutocracy with intellectualism and increased opportunity for historically oppressed minorities, that I would expect from Sarah Palin ... not on DKos.

      Criticize the Prez on the merits, as you started to do, but save the conspiracy theories for the X-Files or Orly Taitz.

      For those of you who prefer Bartlett to Obama, re-watch the West Wing. For those who prefer Clinton, re-watch old news videos.

      by Ptolemy on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 01:15:21 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well said, Ptolemy.........................nt (0+ / 0-)

        Cynicism is voter suppression we do to ourselves. h/t Errol

        by kafkananda on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 03:35:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  white/black (0+ / 0-)

        Haven't you heard? We live in a post-racial society. They let Clarence Thomas in, why not Obama? But first he has to prove he is willing and eager and earnest to serve, protect and defend the interests of the ruling class.

        Sarah Palin is the right wing of the Capitalist Party, Obama is the left wing.

        What conspiracy? It's all happening in front of your nose.  

        •  When have we ever had anything else? (0+ / 0-)

          Even FDR, progressive as he was, has elicited (and continues to elicit) the ire of anti-Capitalists.  He saved the system, and unlike Bismarck in Germany, his steps actually protected (so far) the nation from fascism.

          I'm as anti-Corporatist as most here, but I am not a Socialist.

          If you bought the idea that Obama was, then you really WERE listening to Palin way too much.

          For those of you who prefer Bartlett to Obama, re-watch the West Wing. For those who prefer Clinton, re-watch old news videos.

          by Ptolemy on Mon Dec 27, 2010 at 12:59:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Krauthammer is ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

    I think David Frum's synopsis is much closer to truth:

  •  T&R'ed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    stevej, 1BQ

    Anybody who can actually read Krauthammer deserves all the credit (s)he can get.

    Krauthammer is notorious for concern trolling his own side.  He builds his own private bogeyman, specifically to rail against in future columns.  Very self-serving, but the Villagers love him.

    "We are all born ignorant, but one must work hard to remain stupid." -Ben Franklin

    by IndieGuy on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 12:23:52 PM PST

  •  Krauthammer is doing nothing but trying to (0+ / 0-)
    inflame the 112th neocons into the same old gridlock.  

    BTW, Didn't Krauthammer play Nicky the Nose in "Goodfellas".  

    _"George, when I want your opinion I'll give it to you!" -Dick Cheney 2002_

    by oopsaDaisy on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 02:47:15 PM PST

  •  "Level playing field?" Kraut thinks (0+ / 0-)

    that? Well, let's keep him around for purposes of morale. But it's hard to see how the new House majority will pass anything at all that Obama wants. For one thing, the effect of the recent compromises--i.e., a rise in Obama's popularity--is not invisible to them. Why should they compromise their "principles" only to make the despised Obama more popular? They'd rather be impeaching him instead.

    No, it's hard to see this allegedly groovy lame duck "era" of compromise lasting past the New Year. I think the Republican House will pass enough crazy shit to claim they are "governing," then call Senate Democrats--and Obama--obstructionists for blocking their nutty schemes. There's no reason that won't work for them. If the economy's in the tank in 2012, Obama will get the blame, period.

    If I knew it was comin', I could pull a jet plane.--Reggie Jackson

    by LongTom on Sun Dec 26, 2010 at 07:22:38 PM PST

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