One of the most ridiculous tactics right wingers use to “demonstrate” President Obama’s supposed narcissism is to count the number of times he uses the word “I” in a speech. It’s such an absurd, brain dead meme I can hardly believe they’re still parroting it — but they are! They really are! And the latest to blurt out this silliness is none other than Charles Krauthammer, who is totally skewered for it by Stephen Colbert in this clip.
Charles Krauthammer gives President Obama credit for a “stunning accomplishment,” saying that Obama has ruthlessly shattered the Republican Party, breaking their will and causing an internal civil war while vacationing in luxury and playing golf every day: Krauthammer to Hannity: Obama Has Successfully Created ‘An Internal Civil War’ Within the GOP.
Also, Obama’s overplaying his hand, and will go down in history as a failed president with a radical ideology. And he needs to give in to the Republicans now or he’ll be blamed for the fiscal cliff.
Basically, Krauthammer’s throwing everything he has against the wall in this one, hoping something will stick. I’m no Beltway insider like the K-man, but it seems to me the Republican Party has done a pretty damned good job of shattering itself.
Debunking a Charles Krauthammer Falsehood - Update: Romney Repeats Churchill Falsehood, ABC News Doesn’t Catch It
[Editor’s note: see the updates below for the rest of the story…]
I used to respect Charles Krauthammer because even though he is partisan he wouldn’t twist objective facts. It appears that’s no longer true, as another right wing “news analyst” sells his soul to the wingnut fringe with this ridiculous outrage of the day.
Perhaps Charles is trying to distract from the overseas conflagration that is Mitt’s trip to demonstrate his foreign diplomacy skills. Or perhaps it’s just an honest mistake combined with the laziness of believing something is true because you really wish it to be true; a tendency that professional con men count on from the gullible. Regardless and irrespective of those speculations, a journalist with integrity would print a full retraction now that the facts are known. Will Charles Krauthammer do so?
Also note that for the record I’m well pleased that our President put President Lincoln back into a place of prominence; one where his bust fits better than that of a foreign leader.
Lately, there’s been a rumor swirling around about the current location of the bust of Winston Churchill. Some have claimed that President Obama removed the bust of Winston Churchill from the Oval Office and sent it back to the British Embassy.
Now, normally we wouldn’t address a rumor that’s so patently false, but just this morning the Washington Post’s Charles Krauthammer repeated this ridiculous claim in his column. He said President Obama “started his Presidency by returning to the British Embassy the bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office.”
This is 100% false. The bust still in the White House. In the Residence. Outside the Treaty Room.
News outlets have debunked this claim time and again. First, back in 2010 the National Journal reported that “the Churchill bust was relocated to a prominent spot in the residence to make room for Abraham Lincoln, a figure from whom the first African-American occupant of the Oval Office might well draw inspiration in difficult times.” And just in case anyone forgot, just last year the AP reported that President Obama “replaced the Oval Office fixture with a bust of one of his American heroes, President Abraham Lincoln, and moved the Churchill bust to the White House residence.”
In case these news reports are not enough for Mr. Krauthammer and others, here’s a picture of the President showing off the Churchill bust to Prime Minister Cameron when he visited the White House residence in 2010.
Speaking in Britain, Mitt Romney also got this totally wrong — and unfortunately, ABC News repeated the falsehood without catching it: Romney ‘Looking Forward’ to Returning Churchill Bust to White House.
LONDON – Mitt Romney, speaking to a group of more than 200 supporters in hotel in the heart of London this evening, said he is “looking forward” to returning the bust of Winston Churchill to the White House after it was sent back to Great Britain by President Obama.
The GOP candidate, who suffered a brutal day of press after he suggested that he wasn’t sure the London Olympics would go off without a hitch, spoke highly of the British monuments — singling out the Churchill statue — that he said he got a firsthand look at while stuck in traffic — likely caused by the Olympic Games.
“You live here, you see the sites day in and day out, but for me as I drive past the sculpture of Winston Churchill and see that great sculpture next to Westminster Abbey and Parliament and with him larger than life, enormous heft of that sculpture suggesting the scale of the the grandeur and the greatness of the man, it tugs at the heart strings to remember the kind fo example that was led by Winston Churchill,” said Romney, speaking in a ballroom at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on the edge of Hyde Park.
“And I’m looking forward to the bust of Winston Churchill being in the Oval Office again,” Romney said, evoking applause from the group that helped the candidate raise more than $2 million for his campaign.
Romney’s remarks about the Churchill bust came the day after an article in a British newspaper blindly quoted advisors — who Romney said he did not know — who asserted that the candidate really wants the statue back in Washington D.C.
President Obama returned the bust in 2009, drawing ire from the British press who said that the move had made some leaders “nervous” about what the gesture meant for U.S.-U.K. relations. The bust had a home in the Oval Office during President George W. Bush’s administration.
The desire to have Churchill’s bust returned to the White House was a sentiment expressed by one of two Romney advisors who spoke anonymously to the British newspaper the Telegraph. The story has since ignited a firestorm of criticism of the candidate, who had vowed that his campaign would not speak ill of the Obama administration while on foreign soil.
Romney, who has distanced himself from the unnamed advisors who also suggested in the story that the White House doesn’t appreciate the “Anglo-Saxon” relationship between the U.K and the United States, saying he does not know who these advisers are, appeared to echo their assertion that he’d like the Churchill statue to return Washington.
The advisers told the Telegraph that Romney would “seek to reinstate the Churchill bust” and one told the paper that Romney “viewed the move as ‘symbolically important.’”
And note that Romney is echoing a point made by those unnamed advisers who caused a stir this week.
Here’s Fox News’s Monica Crowley repeating the talking point again:
We can’t wait either—-> Romney ‘Looking Forward to the Bust of Winston Churchill Being in the Oval Office Again’ shar.es/tLNP1
Jake Tapper gets to the bottom of it: Is the Churchill Bust Controversy a Total Bust?
White House curator William Allman was quoted in a January 2010 story at cbsnews.com seeming to confirm the (incorrect) information. “Some Britons took offense when Winston Churchill’s bust was replaced with King’s,” the story reads. “But the decision to return the Churchill bust to the British – it had been presented by former Prime Minister Tony Blair to Bush on loan – had been made before Obama even arrived. ‘It was already scheduled to go back,’ Allman said.” So what gives?
Like a plot twist in a sitcom, IT TURNS OUT THERE ARE TWO CHURCHILL BUSTS!!!
The one in the White House Residence was a gift to the White House from the British Embassy during the Nixon administration.
The other one was loaned to President George W. Bush by British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Says James Barbour, Press Secretary and Head of Communications for the British Embassy, “The bust of Sir Winston Churchill, by Sir Jacob Epstein, was lent to the George W Bush administration from the UK’s Government Art Collection, for the duration of the Presidency. When that administration came to an end so did the loan; the bust now resides in the British Ambassador’s Residence in Washington DC. The White House collection has its own Epstein bust of Churchill, which President Obama showed to Prime Minister Cameron when he visited the White House in March”
That other Churchill bust dates back to the Nixon administration, it turns out.
And this, of course, makes Mitt Romney’s faux outrage over Obama sending back one of two busts, when it was already scheduled to be returned, even more ridiculous.
One of the saddest falls from sanity has been Charles Krauthammer’s. Of all the conservative pundits, he was frequently one of the most rational, back in the day, but now he’s completely controlled by the Obama Derangement Syndrome that has subsumed the entire right wing like a vampiric virus.
Here’s one of the silliest points he’s made yet, as he bashes the “liberal media” for being “obsessed with Sarah Palin,” at the same time as he works as an analyst for Fox News — where it’s all Sarah Palin, all the time — and as Palin puts herself and family in front of the cameras at every opportunity.
Krauthammer’s frustration probably stems from the fact that he doesn’t have much respect for Sarah Palin, and the last thing he wants is for her to run for President. But I predict that when she does, Krauthammer’s going to jump right on board and sing her praises like every other right wing pundit.
I’m beginning to feel like I’ve stumbled through an inter-dimensional portal into a Bizarro version of America, in which every single right wing politician, pundit, and blogger has been taken over by ranting, raving, illogical hyper-partisan doppelgangers, twisting and spinning themselves into weird pretzel shapes trying to find ways to rationalize prejudice, failing miserably, then congratulating themselves on their fabulous performances.
Today Charles Krauthammer joins the right wingers who are enabling the chorus of populist bigotry around the Cordoba House project, with an absurdly over the top op-ed titled: Sacrilege at Ground Zero.
Even when I’ve disagreed with him, I’ve always considered Krauthammer to be one of the more centrist right wing commentators; he’s pretty fair on science for a right winger— doesn’t deny evolution or global warming — and has called out the kooks on his own side more than once. But like most of the right, his positions have gradually become more extreme since Barack Obama was elected.
In this logically distorted piece, Krauthammer actually seems to be arguing that the government should step in and stop construction of Cordoba House, although he never quite gets around to saying that. But his justification is completely spurious:
America is a free country where you can build whatever you want — but not anywhere. That’s why we have zoning laws. No liquor store near a school, no strip malls where they offend local sensibilities, and, if your house doesn’t meet community architectural codes, you cannot build at all.
I honestly thought Krauthammer was better than this; his argument ignores the simple fact that none of the activities he lists — strip malls, liquor stores, etc. — are protected by the US Constitution. And that’s what I mean by my opening paragraph. What happened to the world in which people like Krauthammer supported and upheld the Constitution, instead of arguing for carving out special exceptions for certain demonized groups?
And this trend of suggesting possible ways the government could block the project, but never actually advocating blocking the project, is disturbing and very weaselish. Krauthammer should just come out and say it if he thinks the government should try to stop Cordoba House from being built, instead of indulging in this creepy sideways populism.
At its base, opposition to the Cordoba House project is based on simple paranoia — the fear that it’s actually a triumphalist statement celebrating the 9/11 attacks, and that it will harbor extremists plotting more evil against the US. And sure enough, Krauthammer goes there:
Who is to say that the mosque won’t one day hire an Anwar al-Aulaqi — spiritual mentor to the Fort Hood shooter and the Christmas Day bomber, and onetime imam at the Virginia mosque attended by two of the 9/11 terrorists?
“Who is to say that one day” the mosque might hire an Al Qaeda terrorist? What kind of argument is this, except pure fear-mongering?
The lead spokesman of the project, Imam Feisal Rauf, has made it crystal clear, in statement after statement and article after article, that he’s diametrically opposed to violent jihad and Islamic extremism. Mr. Rauf even represented the US overseas in Islamic countries for the Bush administration. On what grounds can Krauthammer possibly argue that his mosque might be used to fuel terrorism?
Krauthammer goes on:
These restrictions are for reasons of aesthetics. Others are for more profound reasons of common decency and respect for the sacred. No commercial tower over Gettysburg, no convent at Auschwitz — and no mosque at Ground Zero.
At this point, people like Krauthammer have no excuse for continuing to parrot the “Ground Zero Mosque” nonsense. It will be more than two blocks away in an area that can now best be described as “urban blight” (about the same distance from Ground Zero as a strip club called “New York Dolls”), it will have no view of Ground Zero, and it won’t just be a mosque, it will be a community center open to everyone, with a swimming pool, auditorium, restaurants and more.
Krauthammer can’t possibly be ignorant of these facts. So why is he still repeating the falsehoods?
Charles Krauthammer takes a rather cynical look at A Strategy to Save Obamacare.
Charles Krauthammer just keeps making sense: Honest Debate Needed on End-of-Life Talk.
Let’s see if we can have a reasoned discussion about end-of-life counseling. [Good luck with that. – ed.]
We might start by asking Sarah Palin to leave the room. I’ve got nothing against her. She’s a remarkable political talent. But there are no “death panels” in the Democratic health-care bills, and to say that there are is to debase the debate.
We also have to tell the defenders of the notorious Section 1233 of H.R. 3200 that it is not quite as benign as they pretend. To offer government reimbursement to any doctor who gives end-of-life counseling — whether or not the patient asked for it — is to create an incentive for such a chat.
Of course, “creating a subtle incentive for end of life counseling” doesn’t have quite the same red meat ring as “death panels” — and Krauthammer’s more reasoned style of criticism probably wouldn’t have resulted in the empty “victory” for the GOP of getting the entire section about end of life counseling removed. Is the health care bill improved by tossing out end of life counseling altogether? Who cares! It’s a “victory!”
There goes Charles Krauthammer making sense again: A Better Plan for Health-Care Reform.
The administration’s defense is to accuse critics of being for the status quo. Nonsense. Candidate John McCain and a host of other Republicans since have offered alternatives. Let me offer mine: Strip away current inefficiencies before remaking one-sixth of the U.S. economy. The plan is so simple it doesn’t even have the requisite three parts. Just two: radical tort reform and radically severing the link between health insurance and employment.
Charles Krauthammer’s Friday column examines the reasons for the collapse of Barack Obama’s massive health care reform: Obama Will Settle for Less on Health Care.
Whatever structural reforms dribble out of Congress before the August recess will likely not survive the year. In the end, Obama will have to settle for something very modest. And indeed it will be health-insurance reform.
To win back the vast constituency that has insurance, is happy with it, and is mightily resisting the fatal lures of Obamacare, the president will in the end simply impose heavy regulations on the insurance companies that will make what you already have secure, portable and imperishable: no policy cancellations, no preexisting condition requirements, perhaps even a cap on out-of-pocket expenses.
Nirvana. But wouldn’t this bankrupt the insurance companies? Of course it would. There will be only one way to make this work: Impose an individual mandate. Force the 18 million Americans between 18 and 34 who (often quite rationally) forgo health insurance to buy it. This will create a huge new pool of customers who rarely get sick but will be paying premiums every month. And those premiums will subsidize nirvana health insurance for older folks.
Obama’s health care reform plans are in serious trouble, and Charles Krauthammer explains why: Why Obamacare Is Sinking.
What happened to Obamacare? Rhetoric met reality. As both candidate and president, the master rhetorician could conjure a world in which he bestows upon you health-care nirvana: more coverage, less cost.
But you can’t fake it in legislation. Once you commit your fantasies to words and numbers, the Congressional Budget Office comes along and declares that the emperor has no clothes.
President Obama premised the need for reform on the claim that medical costs are destroying the economy. True. But now we learn — surprise! — that universal coverage increases costs. The congressional Democrats’ health-care plans, says the CBO, increase costs on the order of $1 trillion plus.
In response, the president retreated to a demand that any bill he sign be revenue-neutral. But that’s classic misdirection: If the fierce urgency of health-care reform is to radically reduce costs that are producing budget-destroying deficits, revenue neutrality (by definition) leaves us on precisely the same path to insolvency that Obama himself declares unsustainable.