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:
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.