How “Backdoor Stimulus” is not a sexual euphemism
When you inherit a surname that is part KRAUT and part HAMMER, the likelihood is you are not going to grow up a soft and cuddly person. So, in that sense at least, it is hard to blame Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post columnist and Fox News commentator, for being a nasty piece of work. And while blaming him might be hard, I somehow manage.
Krauthammer is one of those right-wing intellectuals whose profound sense of superiority has spilled over into all-out misanthropy. Nothing irks these conservative thinkers more than humanity itself — embodied, above all, in the misguided impulse toward empathy or compassion. To their minds, such things reward, as well as promulgate, the greatest human failing of all: weakness . In the George Lakoff strict-parent/nurturing-parent paradigm, Krauthammer would be among the first to raise his hand to the question: Who’s your daddy? Strength begets authority begets order, tames chaos…and…relax.
This is very roundabout way to link to Krauthammer’s very probing column today on the Obama tax deal. Usually, I would regard Krauthammer’s support of any given proposition as ample reason to oppose it, and perhaps I am grasping for evidence that my original assessment of the President’s compromise with Republicans was too harsh, but this this counter-intuitive analysis makes for interesting reading.
Barack Obama won the great tax-cut showdown of 2010 – and House Democrats don’t have a clue that he did. In the deal struck this week, the president negotiated the biggest stimulus in American history, larger than his $814 billion 2009 stimulus package. It will pump a trillion borrowed Chinese dollars into the U.S. economy over the next two years – which just happen to be the two years of the run-up to the next presidential election. This is a defeat?
Hmmm. Before rushing to embrace that view as a way to preserve my adoration for Obama, I would first have to:
- Reconcile it with the fact that I have never agreed with Krauthammer on anything ever before.
- Reject the many arguments from far more respectable economists and political analysts from across the spectrum (but mainly my side) who dispute the premise that the deal was actually a back-door stimulus dressed up as tax cuts for the rich.
- Ignore the past twelve months where Republicans have trounced the White House on legislative tactics (ever since healthcare passed).
- Adopt the Pollyanna-like view that Obama is enough of a genius to swindle the GOP in this instance, but not enough of a genius to avoid losing to them in the mid-terms by a thumping landslide just five weeks ago.
And while I might be tempted to engage in such intellectual gymnastics if it means I can forgive Obama and move on, the final paragraph in the Krauthammer column — a correction to an earlier piece — snaps me back into place by reminding me who I am dealing with:
The six German saboteurs referred to in my last column were not shot. They were electrocuted.