Krauthammer's Gloom

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 17 2010 9:38 AM

Krauthammer's Gloom

The Washington Post's conservative columnist, who has been dubbed the official voice of the opposition by Politico and National Review, was the most dogged member of the "kill the tax deal" caucus. His post-mortem restates his thinking ; Republicans put Obama on the path to political recovery, and they were deluded into thinking they'd cause a real civil war between Democrats.

Remember the question after Election Day: Can Obama move to the center to win back the independents who had abandoned the party in November? And if so, how long would it take? Answer: Five weeks. An indoor record, although an asterisk should denote that he had help: Republicans clearing his path and sprinkling it with rose petals.

... The conservative gloaters were simply fooled again by the flapping and squawking that liberals ritually engage in before folding at Obama’s feet. House liberals did it with Obamacare; they did it with the tax deal. Their boisterous protests are reminiscent of the floor demonstrations we used to see at party conventions when the losing candidate’s partisans would dance and shout in the aisles for a while before settling down to eventually nominate the other guy by acclamation.

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You saw some of this yesterday, mostly on Twitter, where the conservative columnist Michelle Malkin lead a chorus of pundits cheering the "chaos" in the House when the tax deal was pulled, as if Nancy Pelosi doesn't have a record of getting exactly the votes she needs at the end of the process.

As to Krauthammer's larger argument -- well, the jury's out. Voters have known about the tax deal for 10 days, but the McClatchy and NBC/WSJ polls released since then have not recorded a rise of support for the president. Public support for the deal was all about the hope that it would improve the economy, which is what any Obama recovery will depend on.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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