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Charles Krauthammer

Stories by Charles

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Obama’s ‘leadership’ uncertain, confused

Opinion Column

Jen Psaki, blameless State Department spokeswoman, explained that the hasty evacuation of our embassy in Yemen was not an evacuation but “a reduction in staff.” This proved a problem because the Yemeni government had already announced (and denounced) the “evacuation” — the word normal folks use for the panicky ordering of people onto planes headed out of country.

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How fractured is the GOP?

Opinion Column

A combination of early presidential maneuvering and internal policy debate is feeding yet another iteration of that media perennial: the great Republican crackup. This time it's tea party insurgents versus get-along establishment fogies fighting principally over two things: (a) national security and (b) Obamacare.

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Detroit is not immune to Stein’s Law

Opinion Column

If there’s an iron rule in economics, it is Stein’s Law (named after Herb, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers): “If something cannot go on forever, it will stop.”

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The Zimmerman case: a touch of sanity

Opinion Column

"No justice, no peace" chants the telegenic mob. In a civilized society, however, where the mob doesn't rule, justice is defined by the verdict that follows a fair trial. It's the best that humans can do.

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A modest GOP agenda for 2013

Opinion Column

The conventional wisdom evolves. Yesterday, Washington was merely broken, gridlocked, dysfunctional. The passive voice spread the blame evenly. Today it's agreed that Republican obstructionism is the root of all evil — GOP resistance having now escalated to nihilism and indeed sabotage.

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Obama climate policies pure folly

Opinion column

The economy stagnates. Syria burns. Scandals lap at his feet. China and Russia mock him, even as a “29-year-old hacker” revealed his nation’s spy secrets to the world. How does President Obama respond? With a grandiloquent speech on climate change.

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Nationalized gay marriage, now inevitable

Opinion Column

Under the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government does not recognize same-sex marriages even in states that have legalized it. This week, the Supreme Court ruled DOMA unconstitutional.

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America sidelined, barely relevant

Opinion Column

The war in Syria, started by locals, is now a regional conflict, the meeting ground of two warring blocs. On one side, the radical Shiite bloc led by Iran, which overflies Iraq to supply Bashar al-Assad and sends Hezbollah to fight for him. Behind them lies Russia, which has stationed ships offshore, provided the regime with tons of weaponry and essentially claimed Syria as a Russian protectorate.

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Vital spy programs need fixing

Opinion Column

Thirty-five years ago in United States v. Choate, the courts ruled that the Postal Service may record “mail cover,” i.e., what’s written on the outside of an envelope — the addresses of sender and receiver.

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Qusair fall a victory for Tehran, Moscow

On Wednesday, Qusair fell to the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria. Qusair is a strategic town that connects Damascus with Assad’s Alawite heartland on the Mediterranean, with its ports and Russian naval base. It’s a major strategic shift. Assad’s forces can now advance on rebel-dominated areas in central and northern Syria, including Aleppo.

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There's a fly in my soup

Opinion Column

"Horrible customer service." That's what the newly fired IRS commissioner averred was the agency's only sin in singling out conservative political groups for discriminatory treatment.

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Redacted truth, subjunctive outrage

Opinion Column

Note to GOP re Benghazi: Stop calling it Watergate, Iran-contra, bigger than both, etc. First, it might well be, but we don’t know. History will judge. Second, overhyping will only diminish the importance of the scandal if it doesn’t meet presidency-breaking standards. Third, focusing on the political effects simply plays into the hands of Democrats desperately claiming that this is nothing but partisan politics.

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Pink line over Damascus precarious

Opinion Column

You know you’re in trouble when you can’t even get your walk-back story straight. Stung by the worldwide derision that met President Obama’s fudging and fumbling of his chemical-weapons red line in Syria, the White House leaked to The New York Times that Obama’s initial statement had been unprepared, unscripted and therefore unserious.

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For Obama, the fall was inevitable

Opinion Column

Fate is fickle, power cyclical, and nothing is new under the sun. Especially in Washington, where after every election the losing party is sagely instructed to confess sin, rend garments and rethink its principles lest it go the way of the Whigs. And where the victor is hailed as the new Caesar, facing an open road to domination.

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Bush legacy evident as time goes by

Opinion Column

Clare Boothe Luce liked to say that “a great man is one sentence.” Presidents, in particular. The most common “one sentence” for George W. Bush (whose legacy is being reassessed as his presidential library opens) is: “He kept us safe.”

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Parties have their cards on the table

Well, at least we’re starting to get the procedure right. Washington has rediscovered the beauty of the boring. It’s called “regular order,” using the normal, routine, constitutional process to arrive at, for example, a budget.

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Obama wants issue, not a solution

Opinion column

Is a bipartisan immigration deal at hand? It's close. Last week, the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce worked out a guest-worker compromise that allows in foreign workers on a sliding scale of 20,000 to 200,000, depending on the strength of the economy.

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Obama admits that settlements are irrelevant to peace

Opinion Column

So what was the point of Obama’s Jerusalem speech encouraging young Israelis to make peace, a speech the media drooled over? It was mere rhetoric, a sideshow meant to soften the impact on the Arab side of the really important event of Obama’s trip: the major recalibration of his position on the peace process.

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What is the answer to our current tax reform dilemma?

Opinion Column

The proposition that entitlement curbs are the key to maintaining national solvency is widely accepted, though not by many congressional Democrats. President Obama, however, has endorsed it on various occasions. And he could make it happen.

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Why we give foreign aid

Opinion Column

Sequestration is not the best time to be doling out foreign aid, surely the most unpopular item in the federal budget. Especially when the recipient is President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt.

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President's hopes are on pain from sequestration

Opinion column

"The worst-case scenario for us," a leading anti-budget-cuts lobbyist told The Washington Post, "is the sequester hits and nothing bad really happens."

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Immigration: The lesser of two evils

Opinion Column

The president suggested he would hold off introducing his own immigration bill as long as bipartisan Senate negotiations were proceeding apace — until his own immigration bill mysteriously leaked precisely as bipartisan Senate negotiations were proceeding apace.

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Case for Obama’s drone war clear

Opinion Column

The nation’s vexation over the morality and legality of President Obama’s drone war has produced a salutary but hopelessly confused debate. Three categories of questions are being asked. They must be separated to be clearly understood.

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Call Obama’s sequester bluff

For the first time since Election Day, President Obama is on the defensive. That’s because on March 1, automatic spending cuts (“sequestration”) go into effect — $1.2 trillion over 10 years, half from domestic (discretionary) programs, half from defense.

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Immigration: Getting it right

Opinion Column

Immigration reform is coming. Let's get it right. What counts as getting it wrong? The 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli Act, signed by President Reagan. It granted amnesty to the then 3 million illegal immigrants and promised border enforcement.

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Obama unbound in second address

The media herd is stunned to discover that Barack Obama is a man of the left. After 699 teleprompted presidential speeches, the commentariat was apparently still oblivious. Until Monday’s inaugural address, that is.

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New strategy for the GOP might help

Opinion Column

It has become conventional wisdom that Republicans are suffering an internal split that President Obama is successfully exploiting to neuter the Republican House. It is not true, however, that the Republican split is philosophical and fundamental. And that a hopelessly divided GOP is therefore headed for decline, perhaps irrelevance.

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Hagel harbinger of declining U.S. influence

Opinion column

The puzzle of the Chuck Hagel nomination for defense secretary is that you normally choose someone of the other party for your Cabinet to indicate a move to the center, but, as The Washington Post editorial board points out, Hagel's foreign policy views are to the left of Barack Obama's, let alone the GOP's. Indeed, they are at the fringe of the entire Senate.

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Return of the real Obama

Opinion Column

The rout was complete, the retreat disorderly. President Obama got his tax hikes — naked of spending cuts — passed by the ostensibly Republican House of Representatives. After which, you might expect him to pivot to his self-proclaimed "principle" of fiscal "balance" by taking the lead on reducing spending. "Why," asked The Washington Post on the eve of the final "fiscal-cliff" agreement, "is the nation's leader not embracing and then explaining the balanced reforms the nation needs?"

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Roots of mass murder run deep

Every mass shooting has three elements: the killer, the weapon and the cultural climate. As soon as the shooting stops, partisans immediately pick their preferred root cause with corresponding pet panacea. Names are hurled, scapegoats paraded, prejudices vented. The argument goes nowhere.

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Michigan work law accommodates reality

Opinion column

For all the fury and fistfights outside the Lansing Capitol, what happened in Michigan this week was a simple accommodation to reality. The most famously unionized state, birthplace of the United Auto Workers, royalty of the American working class, became right-to-work.

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It’s all nothing but a power play

Let’s understand President Obama’s strategy in the “fiscal cliff” negotiations. It has nothing to do with economics or real fiscal reform. This is entirely about politics. It’s Phase 2 of the 2012 campaign. The election returned him to office. The fiscal cliff negotiations are designed to break the Republican opposition and grant him political supremacy, something he thinks he earned with his landslide 2.8-point victory margin on Election Day.

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The Big Bird counterattack

Opinion Column

No mystery about the trajectory of this race. It was static for months as President Obama held a marginal lead. Then came the conventions. The Republicans squandered Tampa; the Democrats got a 3- to 4-point bounce out of Charlotte.

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Go for the larger argument, Mitt

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.)

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Obama retreats hard from 'Cairo Doctrine'

Opinion column

In the week following 9/11/12 something big happened: the collapse of the Cairo Doctrine, the centerpiece of President Obama's foreign policy. It was to reset the very course of post-9/11 America, creating, after the (allegedly) brutal depredations of the Bush years, a profound rapprochement with the Islamic world.

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The Obama administration's abandonment

There are two positions one can take regarding the Iranian nuclear program: (a) it doesn't matter, we can deter them, or (b) it does matter, we must stop them.

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The 'deterrence works' fantasy silly

There are few foreign-policy positions more silly than the assertion without context that "deterrence works." It is like saying air power works. Well, it worked for Kosovo; it didn't work over North Vietnam.

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Military analyst proposes action

Either Israel is engaged in the most elaborate ruse since the Trojan Horse or it is on the cusp of a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

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Romney’s present, Ryan’s future

Vice presidential picks are always judged by their effect on the coming election. They rarely have any.

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The case against re-election

There are two ways to run against Barack Obama: stewardship or ideology. You can run against his record or you can run against his ideas.

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The imperial presidency revisited

Though overshadowed by the shocking Supreme Court decision on health care, the court’s Arizona immigration decision, issued three days earlier, remains far more significant than appreciated.

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Obamacare: Why Roberts voted in favor

It’s the judiciary’s Nixon-to-China: Chief Justice John Roberts joins the liberal wing of the Supreme Court and upholds the constitutionality of Obamacare.

The immigration bombshell: Naked lawlessness

President Obama last week suspended these very deportations -- granting infinitely renewable "deferred action" with attendant work permits -- thereby unilaterally rewriting the law. And doing precisely what he himself admits he is barred from doing.

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It's time for silly season 2012

Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama is not exactly Jefferson-Adams or Lincoln-Douglas. No Harry Truman or Bill Clinton here, let alone FDR or Reagan.

What Wisconsin situation means

Tuesday, June 5, 2012, will be remembered as the beginning of the long decline of the public-sector union. It will follow, and parallel, the shrinking of private-sector unions, now down to less than 7 percent of American workers. The abject failure of the unions to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker -- the first such failure in U.S. history -- marks the Icarus moment of government-union power. Wax wings melted, there's nowhere to go but down.

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Barack Obama is a Drone warrior

A very strange story, a 6,000-word front-page New York Times piece on how, every Tuesday, Barack Obama shuffles "baseball cards" with the pictures and bios of suspected terrorists from around the world and chooses who shall die by drone strike. He even reserves for himself the decision of whether to proceed when the probability of killing family members or bystanders is significant.

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Rubber chickens and the joy of winning

It was our much-anticipated quarterly lunch with Tim Kurkjian, baseball analyst extraordinaire, wherein George Will and I bathe in a constant flow of obscure statistics,

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Echoes of 1967: Israel unites

In May 1967, in brazen violation of previous truce agreements, Egypt ordered U.N. peacekeepers out of the Sinai, marched 120,000 troops to the Israeli border, blockaded Eilat (Israel’s southern outlet to the world’s oceans), abruptly signed a military pact with Jordan and, together with Syria, pledged war for the final destruction of Israel.

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Obama’s mission is divider in chief

Poor Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. Once again he’s been pilloried for fumbling a historic Supreme Court case.

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Obama standing idle while Syria burns

Last year President Obama ordered U.S. intervention in Libya under the grand new doctrine of "Responsibility to Protect." Moammar Gaddafi was threatening a massacre in Benghazi. To stand by and do nothing "would have been a betrayal of who we are," explained the president.