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Originally posted at Poison Your Mind.

Jonathan Bernstein read Charles Krauthammer for some reason, then he wrote about it:

Bernstein: Yes, this is petty. But so what? He deserves it. Charles Krauthammer:
Krauthammer: This is entirely about politics. It’s Phase 2 of the 2012 campaign. The election returned him to office. The fiscal cliff negotiations are designed to break the Republican opposition and grant him political supremacy, something he thinks he earned with his landslide 2.8-point victory margin on Election Day.
Bernstein: "Landslide 2.8 point victory"?  Well, no. Krauthammer does link to the WaPo election map, but it hasn't been updated. David Wasserman's spreadsheet, however, tells us that Barack Obama's lead over Mitt Romney is currently 3.65 percentage points. ...

Krauthammer's sneering reference to Obama's "landslide" is both wrong and silly. ... It was certainly a much more substantial win than, say, either of George W. Bush's, and I don't recall Krauthammer insisting that Bush should practice restraint because of his narrow wins. ...

Regardless: the whole premise is silly. The president is the president, whether by 49 states or by a tiny and highly contested electoral college margin while losing the national vote. ...

So, Krauthammer has his facts wrong, and his argument doesn't make sense. That's fine and good. But, this being Krauthammer, there's an unsurprising further level of deceitfulness here. 

Guess what he thought about mandates back when George Bush Jr. won in 2004?

Later than most two-term presidents, George Bush got his mandate. To be sure, he did get one on Sept. 11 from Osama bin Laden but, until Tuesday, not from the American people. The bin Laden mandate gave him freedom of action on a very large scale (two wars, the Patriot Act). With it he produced a remarkable success in Afghanistan and a still-unresolved war in Iraq. Above all was the one inescapable if unspoken fact, greatly overlooked in explaining this election: Three years had passed since Sept. 11 and, against all expectations, we had not been attacked again.

This election was a referendum on Bush's handling of his first, accidental mandate. The endorsement was resounding. First, his electoral college victory was solid. He went over the top without a single state being closely contested. He won all but three with a majority of 7 percentage points or more, and the others -- Ohio by 2.5 points, Nevada by 3 and Florida by 5 -- he won comfortably.

Second, there was the popular vote. Bush supporters should not gloat too much about the popular vote, given the fact that they lost it last time. Nonetheless, if you have already won the electoral vote, it is okay to talk about the popular vote as a kind of adjunct legitimizer. And a 3.5-million-vote margin is a serious majority.

Third, he increased his party's representation in both the House and the Senate. ...

Knowing he will never again run for office, he is going to attempt several large things, most notably reforming Social Security ...

Great leaders are willing to retire unloved and unpopular as the price for great exertion. Bush appears bent on exertion.

Obama's near-5-million-vote margin is cause for sneering, and a reason why he shouldn't push for the stuff he said he wanted to do during the campaign. Whereas Bush Jr.'s 3.5-million-vote margin was "a serious majority", giving him license to do stuff he never mentioned during the campaign, like try to privatize Social Security.

That makes sense!

Here's some bonus wrong from Krauthammer, back in 2006:

When just a week ago Barack Obama showed a bit of ankle and declared the mere possibility of his running for the presidency, the chattering classes swooned. Now that every columnist in the country has given him advice, here's mine: He should run in '08. He will lose in '08. And the loss will put him irrevocably on a path to the presidency. ...

These are strong reasons for Obama to run. Nonetheless, he will not win. The reason is 9/11. ...

He's a young man with a future. But the future recedes. He needs to run now. And lose. And win by losing.

This is just Krauthammer's shtick. He's always wrong about everything, he's always shilling for Republicans, and he has lifetime tenure at the Post to type any inane drivel that pops into his head into the op-ed page without regard to its falsity or inconsistency with what he wrote yesterday. Everyone knows that's the game. That's the way it's been for a long time.

That's why I've been saying stuff like, David Frum has remarked that “Republicans originally thought that Fox worked for us, and now we're discovering we work for Fox.”

That is, movement conservatism is a subset of the infotainment industry, with a discourse with more in common with professional wrestling than reasoned discussion of policy issues. Conservatism, in the US today, is convincing people to sit through ads for Goldline. The mainstream media sees its role as generating "buzz" and splitting the difference between the two parties, regardless of facts, context, or consequences.

So the election isn't about people supporting views on macroeconomics that have been mainstream for almost a century and resisting voter suppression; it's about lazy minorities who want free stuff. Just ask Bill O'Reilly!

Some people are giving folks like George Will, Michael Barone, Karl Rove, Dick Morris, Peggy Noonan, Jennifer Rubin, et al a hard time for their absurdly mistaken predictions. But they were just doing their jobs. They should all get raises.

Obviously, Rove and Morris have since been benched by Fox; maybe I've been putting it a little too starkly. We'll see.

(I edited Bernstein's post to remove his link to Krauthammer's WaPo column).

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Comment Preferences

  •  Krauthammer's a sour man (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    One Pissed Off Liberal, jabney

    I've said it before: I have no idea how someone can hold so much hate and anger and plain ol' bad attitude in his heart.  His existence must be miserable.  If he wasn't such a jerk, he would be pitiful, even tragic.

    -----
    Tom Smith Online
    I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

    by filkertom on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 11:36:59 AM PST

    •  George Will seems to be trying for Chuckie's (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jabney

      mantle. I avoid both columnists, but every once in a while, when my blood needs a good boil, I read Will. He was in fine form the other day about Hostess, equating the boomers' (one of his favorite targets, I expect) nostalgia to their "rampant narcissism" (or something like that). He really sounded like a bitter old man, railing about LIBERALS and the like long after anyone bothered to listen to him.

      •  is there only pain and hatred and misery? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        milkbone

        Agreed. What I also can't understand is, how can anyone maintain self-respect in the face of overwhelming wrongness all the time?

        I mean, I don't opine in a major newspaper, but I really hate that I was dead wrong about the invasion of Iraq; I changed my thinking & my choice of news sources as a result.

        I know Krauthammer has no financial incentive to engage in rational discourse, but man, has he no sense of decency? Or shame?

        Will is less interesting, to me, as a human, because he's so smug. I understand why a person like that is incapable of reflection. I just roll my eyes. But Krauthammer, he's just jaw-droppingly peevish and wrong about everything.

        •  Krauthammer cannot have had a happy life, (0+ / 0-)

          given his paralysis (someone told me recently that he has to use some kind of repirator, but I know nothing of that). Back after "Superman" had made Christopher Reeve a star, he said "I've never thought of myself as handsome." "I should be so ugly," I grated....but I would not have traded places with him, not with the hell he went through.

          My sympathy for CK, however, does not extend to giving him a free pass. You're right: he's wrong time and again, and how he lives with himself is beyond me. The same in spades for Rove, Rush, Cheney, Shrub, etc.

          I like Will's bowties, but that's about it. His vocabulary doesn't impress me (how many times did he declare President Clinton "bumptious" and "meretricious"?) It just makes him sound like a showoff.

  •  I still find it astonishing that people like him (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexDem

    are paid so much to be so awful. What a fucked up culture we have.

    •  krauthammer, profumo, death of conservative values (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      a2nite, One Pissed Off Liberal

      I think of John Profumo, who was involved in a scandal in the UK, then spent years quietly cleaning toilets at a charity.

      But in our polarized, flashy, infotainment-style political culture, there's just no such thing as accountability, much less shame or regret, especially on the right. Krauthammer has lifetime tenure at the Washington Post. Michael Brown has a radio show, and was interviewed on Fox News during Sandy as a disaster response expert.

      And they call themselves conservatives!

      Thanks for reading & commenting.

  •  What's really amusing is (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jabney

    We now have a whole generation of right wingers who have been indoctrinated by Foxaganda and the REC, who are now running for office, winning in red districts, and forcing the Republican leadership to swallow the bullshit they've been feeding them for 25 years.

    I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

    by jhecht on Fri Dec 07, 2012 at 01:26:28 PM PST

    •  “When the Inner Party Believes the Prolefeed” (0+ / 0-)

      Was Paul Krugman's phrase about a GOP that entirely believes its propaganda:

      The “lucky ducky” trope is clearly, obviously nonsense; equally obviously, it was originally created in an effort to dupe people who didn’t know better. It was and is what Orwell called “prolefeed”, junk aimed at the ignorant masses (ignorant by design), the people who are ready to believe at a moment’s notice that we’ve always been at war with Eastasia. ... So it actually is a revelation to see Romney and friends obviously swallowing the prolefeed whole. The news here isn’t really about their lack of empathy; it’s about their raw ignorance.
      Agreed on the problem of a new generation of GOP politicians who appear to believe that gubmint is always bad and evil, particularly when it's perceived to be helping out groups.

      It seems to me we've been heading this way for a while. I wrote elsewhere recently:

      [Neil Postman's] overall point seems to be quite accurate: that our treatment of serious issues– even or especially from many of our elite decisionmakers– derives from our infotainment industry. It’s no accident that one of the angry young 2010 GOP freshmen got his start on an MTV reality TV show. It’s the same skill set.

      This is very speculative, but I do wonder if George Bush Jr. viewed his father– war hero, president, head of the CIA, captain of his college baseball team, still held in high regard by most– as a loser & a wimp. That was, after all, a message it was easy to take away from the omnipresent media.

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