Stop with the “Comeback Kid” Nonsense

We’re all generally big fans of Charles Krauthammer’s work.  He’s been a solid conservative columnist for a while now, and his work in the op-ed section of the Washington Post has always been a good read.  That’s why most conservatives did a double take when they saw his infamous new article crowning Barack Obama as the new “comeback kid.”

Now, for the record, there is no legitimate information to support this assertion.  It is fairly obvious a to why this is true, but in case you aren’t familiar with the piece, here’s why Krauthammer thinks Obama is making a comeback:

If Barack Obama wins reelection in 2012, as is now more likely than not, historians will mark his comeback as beginning on Dec. 6, the day of the Great Tax Cut Deal of 2010.

Obama had a bad November. Self-confessedly shellacked in the midterm election, he fled the scene to Asia and various unsuccessful meetings, only to return to a sad-sack lame-duck Congress with ghostly dozens of defeated Democrats wandering the halls.

Now, with his stunning tax deal, Obama is back. Holding no high cards, he nonetheless managed to resurface suddenly not just as a player but as orchestrator, dealmaker and central actor in a high $1 trillion drama.

The very first sentence essentially sums up everything that is wrong with the mainstream media.  It is December of 2010 during a lame-duck Congress dominated by Democrats, and a conservative journalist is claiming that because of an event that happened a year prior to the fact, Barack Obama is “more likely than not” to win reelection in 2012.  Amazingly foolish.  The fact is that people will not remember the tax cut deal a year from now.  They just won’t.  So, to say that this tax cut deal is the  impetus for Obama’s victory in 2012 is not only shortsighted, but it is quite frankly ignorant.

The next problem with the article is Krauthammer’s praise of Obama’s “Great Tax Cut Deal of 2010.”  We support the deal here at The Hayride, but we support it because the so-called compromise is a bill skewed 75-25 in favor of the GOP.  Hardly a masterful “compromise” as much as it is a complete capitulation by a floundering president, we’ll take the deal because it’s certainly a much better pact than we could have anticipated going into a Democratically controlled lame-duck Congress.  But it is certainly not the masterful piece of penmanship that it is made out to be in the media.  Look, it’s really not that hard to lower taxes and increase spending.  Any president can accomplish that.  The reason the bill passed is because the GOP got their tax cuts, and the Left got their wasteful spending. Is that really worth being called “The Great Tax Cut Deal of 2010?”  Hardly.

To expand on Krauthammer’s inadequate explanation, some people give Obama unjustifiable credit for repealing  “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” The issue looked dead just several weeks ago when the Defense Authorization Bill crashed and burned in the Senate, but if you support DADT repeal, Obama is the last person you should be thanking for the turnaround.  DADT was the product of Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) who pushed stand alone legislation through Congress with the help of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.  It isn’t Obama who deserves the credit for repeal, but Harry Reid and his manipulation of Senate rules, the perseverance of Lieberman and Collins, and the prioritization of the bill by Nancy Pelosi.  Obama could have repealed the rule a long time ago by issuing an executive order as Commander-in-Chief.  He didn’t.

Still others give Obama credit for pushing the passage of START.  The ratification of the treaty is very likely to happen today, and many will claim it as a victory for Obama.  Truthfully, Obama would have deserved credit for its passage had he not allowed the bill to sit in the Congressional file cabinet for 8 months, but instead, he waited until the last second and made an unwarranted promise to Russian Prime Minister Dimitri Medvedev that the Senate would ratify the treaty during the lame-duck session.  With the Congressional agenda overflowing with legislative business,  it is more luck than skill that Obama will be able to fulfill that promise. 

Furthermore, more than a footnote in the mass media landscape, Krauthammer’s article provided the impetus for dozens of squirrely opportunistic broadcast pundits to come out of the woodwork to report on Obama’s “stunning comeback.”  In reality, all we are witnessing is the fatal flaw of contemporary media in which the search for dramatism and sensationalism prompts journalists to jump the gun on important political issues.  One issue means nothing in the long term scheme of the 2012 election, and it means even less considering that the accomplishment is ridiculously over-hyped.  

Even if you consider other notable legislation passed by the lame-duck Congress–as many pundits have–none, from DADT to START, should give the contributions of the President the light of day.  Krauthammer is more responsible than other journalists in that he gives Obama credit only for the tax cut capitulation.  Certainly, Barack Obama deserves all the credit for creating the bill, but let’s not mistake waving the white flag on taxes with a remarkable political “comeback.”  It won’t be long until a GOP controlled House of Representatives turns that narrative on its head, and then Krauthammer will be singing a completely different tune.



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