Charles Krauthammer: Romney must stop playing small - Beloit Daily News: Opinion

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Charles Krauthammer: Romney must stop playing small

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Posted: Monday, October 1, 2012 4:00 pm

WASHINGTON — In mid-September 2008, Lehman Brothers collapsed and the bottom fell out of the financial system. Barack Obama handled it coolly. John McCain did not. Obama won the presidency. (Given the country’s condition, he would have won anyway. But this sealed it.)

Four years later, mid-September 2012, the U.S. mission in Benghazi went up in flames, as did Obama’s entire Middle East policy of apology and accommodation. Obama once again played it cool, effectively ignoring the attack and the region-wide American humiliation. “Bumps in the road,” he said. Nodding tamely were the mainstream media, who would have rained a week of vitriol on Mitt Romney had he so casually dismissed the murder of a U.S. ambassador, the raising of the black Salafist flag over four U.S. embassies and the epidemic of virulent anti-American demonstrations from Tunisia to Sri Lanka (!) to Indonesia.


OBAMA SEEMS not even to understand what happened. He responded with a groveling address to the U.N. General Assembly that contained no less than six denunciations of a crackpot video, while offering cringe-worthy platitudes about the need for governments to live up to the ideals of the U.N. 

The U.N. being an institution of surpassing cynicism and mendacity, the speech was so naive it would have made a fine middle-school commencement address. Instead, it was a plaintive plea by the world’s alleged superpower to be treated nicely by a roomful of the most corrupt, repressive, tin-pot regimes on earth.

Yet Romney totally fumbled away the opportunity. Here was a chance to make the straightforward case about where Obama’s feckless approach to the region’s tyrants has brought us, connecting the dots of the disparate attacks as a natural response of the more virulent Islamist elements to a once-hegemonic power in retreat. Instead, Romney did two things:


HE ISSUED a two-sentence critique of the initial statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on the day the mob attacked. The critique was not only correct but vindicated when the State Department disavowed the embassy statement. However, because the critique was not framed within a larger argument about the misdirection of U.S. Middle East policy, it could be — and was — characterized as a partisan attack on the nation’s leader at a moment of national crisis.

Two weeks later at the Clinton Global Initiative, Romney did make a foreign-policy address. Here was his opportunity. What did he highlight? Reforming foreign aid.

Yes, reforming foreign aid! A worthy topic for a chin-pulling joint luncheon of the League of Women Voters and the Council on Foreign Relations. But as the core of a challenger’s major foreign-policy address amid a Lehman-like collapse of the Obama Doctrine?

It makes you think how far ahead Romney would be if he were actually running a campaign. His unwillingness to go big, to go for the larger argument, is simply astonishing.


FOR SIX months, he’s been matching Obama small ball for small ball. A hit-and-run critique here, a slogan-of-the-week there. His only momentum came when he chose Paul Ryan and seemed ready to engage on the big stuff: Medicare, entitlements, tax reform, national solvency, a restructured welfare state. Yet he has since retreated to the small and safe.

When you’re behind, however, safe is fatal. Even his counterpunching has gone miniature. Obama has successfully painted Romney as an out of touch, unfeeling plutocrat whose only interest is to cut taxes for the rich. Romney has complained in interviews that it’s not true. He has proposed cutting tax rates, while pledging that the share of the tax burden paid by the rich remains unchanged (by “broadening the base” as in the wildly successful, revenue-neutral Reagan-O’Neill tax reform of 1986).

But how many people know this? Where is the speech that hammers home precisely that point, advocates a reformed tax code that accelerates growth without letting the rich off the hook, and gives lie to the Obama demagoguery about dismantling the social safety net in order to enrich the rich.


ROMNEY HAS accumulated tons of cash for 30-second ads. But unless they’re placed on the scaffolding of serious speeches making the larger argument, they will be treated as nothing more than tit for tat.

Make the case. Go large. About a foreign policy in ruins. About an archaic, 20th-century welfare state model that guarantees 21st-century insolvency. And about an alternate vision of an unapologetically assertive America abroad unafraid of fundamental structural change at home.

It might just work. And it’s not too late.

(Write to Charles Krauthammer at

(c) Washington Post

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  • Mr Data posted at 6:05 pm on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    Mr Data Posts: 3824

    lucky's insult ... "the right wingers were the ones who remained Neanderthals."

    I think lucky is referring to the idea that over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. While liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

    And I'll remind lucky that the "liberal men" themselves eventually evolved into women, who became known as girlie-men ..... and most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men.

  • luckydog posted at 7:14 am on Thu, Oct 4, 2012.

    luckydog Posts: 3546

    Actually I've always thought that the liberals were the humans who evolved and the right wingers were the ones who remained Neanderthals. Whups, sorry. I know you righties don't believe in evolution.

  • Mr Data posted at 6:11 pm on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    Mr Data Posts: 3824

    For those that don't know about history ... Here is a condensed version:

    Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.

    The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

    1 . Liberals, and
    2. Conservatives.

    Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed. Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to BBQ at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement... Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly BBQ's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement.

    Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. Those became known as girlie-men. Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic liberal groups voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

    Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

    Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare.. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.

    Conservatives drink domestic beer, mostly Bud or Miller. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, engineers, corporate executives, athletes, members of the military, airline pilots and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

    Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans.. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America . They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.

    Here ends today's lesson in world history.

  • Roclyboy posted at 12:44 pm on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    Roclyboy Posts: 5

    So a person with taxable income of $50,000-$75,000 would see an average net tax increase of $641 (saving $984 from Romney's policies, but losing $2,672 from the elimination of tax write-offs and subsidies).

    A person with a $1 million or more taxable income would see an average net tax decrease of $87,117 (saving $175,961 from Romney's policies, while losing $88,444).

    ROMNEY SAID: "As an option you could say everybody’s going to get up to a $17,000 deduction; and you could use your charitable deduction, your home mortgage deduction, or others — your healthcare deduction, and you can fill that bucket, if you will, that $17,000 bucket that way,” Romney told Denver’s KDVR. “Or you could do it by the same method that Bowles-Simpson did it where you could limit certain deductions, but that’s the sort of thing you do with Congress.”
    You really need to think before you type!

  • Mr Data posted at 7:33 am on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    Mr Data Posts: 3824

    lucky .. I have always said that I am fiscally 'responsible'. That is how I live my life and manage my personal assets. That is how I expect our elected leaders in government to behave when handling our tax dollars.

    Again, lucky, your memory is clearly selective ... I don't think I'd define Tom Barrett (whom I supported twice) as being anything close to severely 'conservative'. But as usual, you choose when to tell the truth and when not to tell the truth to make your constantly liberally biased points.

    That's our difference ... I am not constantly liberal nor constantly conservative. I very much blame both major political parties (and their faithful flock) for the mess our nation is and for the clear direction of self destruction in which we're heading without correction.

    That correction is a total change in Presidential LEADERSHIP towards our nation's business, towards our nation's international commerce trade, towards our nation's corporate / personal income taxation, towards our nation's energy mining, towards treating ALL people in our nation fairly and without demonizing certain groups.

    I can only imagine how 'offended' liberals must be when their grasp over the free press is being challemged by over half of Americans polled. What goes around, comes around .. it always does. Enjoy having everything your way today. In the future that will change and when those republicans you hate so much have their way in the press ... you won't be happy about it.


  • luckydog posted at 6:10 am on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    luckydog Posts: 3546

    MrData, for a guy who claims to be an independent you betray your far right wingness more with each post. You must mean you will support a candidate of any party as long as they are severly conservative. The constant right wing yammering about the press being unfair is becoming tiring. It is not the press's fault when they report the news and you don't like the truth. Romney is being discredited every time he opens his mouth by the policies he either can't explain or his utterances that show us his true colors.

  • Roclyboy posted at 4:42 am on Wed, Oct 3, 2012.

    Roclyboy Posts: 5

    Where do you get your information from? Fox? You do know that Fox is entertainment, right?

    Biography via lead411 wiki edit
    Roger Ailes is Fox News Channel's CEO. Their Director of Graphics Engineering is Peter Blangiforti. Their Lead411 profile is categorized under the Entertainment/Media industry. New poll: Fox News no longer credible news source, for Republicans 67% trust Research and public opinion polls have stated that in 2009. and 2012, FOX News is not a legitimate news source. New York Times, " FOX’s clear disregard for the truth that is harmful to society. In the segment of the Beck show that I referenced, it’s clear that he’s doing the story simply because he has found an angle to criticize Dunn. He has no regard for the value of his occupation, nor for the weighty responsibility that comes along with being a member of the press. The freedom of the press may be the most important freedom granted by our Bill of Rights. The press is the guardian of our freedoms and the educator of society. Without it, our country could not maintain an informed electorate, and our representative democracy would decay into a totalitarian state”
    As far as the Media goes, are you kidding? The republicans have spent MILLIONS on 30 second commercials lying about President Obama. The Media has not been one sided, except by FOX. Mitt Is a liar and could care less about the poor or middle class people in this country. He said it himself. No, the liar will not win as President, the American people are not stupid. The PRESS has only reported what Mitt-SH#@ said to the world on national television what he thought of the 47% of the American people. No you can't control the PRESS and should not control the PRESS. To win the election in November just do what President Obama is doing!!Caring about ALL the American People, not the wealthiest in this country. Please stop LYING about OUR PRESIDENT. And get the correct information, you are making a fool of yourself. [beam]

  • rogerb posted at 2:37 pm on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    rogerb Posts: 20

    "The lesson learned by the GOP should be .. you MUST control the press to win national elections today."
    I 'm still trying to determine wether I agree with you Mr. Data. I would suggest must control what you say and how you say it. Constant hammering of opponet vs laying out the agenda is very old after soo many months of campaigning.

  • Mr Data posted at 8:27 am on Tue, Oct 2, 2012.

    Mr Data Posts: 3824

    Romney is being discredited on two fronts -- by the news media and by the Obama campaign. In a close race like this one is, it's going to be very hard for Romney to get elected when having to deal with incessant, inaccurate attacks from both his opponent and the 'free' press (which is so free, is it?).

    The sad truth is that inspite of the press and Obama ganging up on Romney, the race is still so close.

    I magine how far Romney would be ahead of Obama if he was given given fair treatment by the press? Romney would be winning by a landslide.

    The lesson learned by the GOP should be .. you MUST control the press to win national elections today.


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