Charles Krauthammer responded to President Obama’s re-election with dire predictions for the next four years. “We are left as a country about where we started but a little worse off … Obama will go back to who he is,” he said, adding, “He is a man of the Left and he will try to push his agenda through … the problem is that the country will slide.”
Krauthammer slammed President Obama for going “small” and “negative” in his campaign instead of campaigning on ideas. Given the narrow margin of his victory, Krauthammer believes that the president won, but has no mandate.
Krauthammer: I know enough about psychiatry that I don’t get between Karl Rove and the decision desk. I’ll leave the titans to fight it out. It is pretty clear that -- the chances are infinitesimal that Romney could pull this out. I think the real story here is that Obama won but he’s got no mandate. He won by going very small, very negative. We are left as a country exactly where we started, but a little bit worse off. The Republicans are in control of the House, probably a little bit stronger, they are not going to budge. There’s no way that, after holding out against Obama for two years, they’re going to cave in. Obama doesn’t have anywhere really to go. He governed very large in the first two years. When he had control of the congress, he nationalized healthcare, he passed the largest stimulus, which was all kinds of industrial policy supporting green energy. All of the large ideas and he tried to enact them, and then when he lost control of the House, he stopped. In order to win reelection, he went small, stayed small putting together his constituencies here and there. And he put it together enough that he won. If he manages to win the popular vote, it will be very small, if there’s any. And even in the electoral, I think it will be a very small majority. Particularly if Virginia and Florida will go to Romney. So this is not a mandate in the number, or in the way that he campaigned. He did not campaign on any ideas. Anything large. Anything important. He didn’t address entitlements of tackle anything like that. He will go back to who he is. People have said he should be a Clinton and compromise to have a successful second term, but he is not instinctively a moderate. I think he is a man of the left and he will try to push his agenda through, with, what he thinks is a mandate and we are going to be exactly where we were, say, a year ago with the debt ceiling argument next year. And the problem is that the country will slide, because I don’t see the opportunity for compromise on either side, because I see a president with a very weak mandate for a second term.
Krauthammer: I’m not as despairing as many people are. I think, this is an unusual election because Romney was a transitional figure. I think he ran as honorable a campaign as he could. He did moderately well. He came pretty close, but he was a northeastern liberal and that’s not where we’re going. The two northeastern liberal Senators who ran as moderates in New England lost. That’s not where the future of the party is. And I’m optimistic because there is a very strong Republican bench, that did not enter the fray. We had a very weak field in choosing this candidate this year. Romney was the only one remotely Presidential and he was the logical candidate. But think of those who didn’t run. There’s of course Paul Ryan who will be a leader in the party. We have a whole rising young generation in the party. Kelly Ayotte, Bobby Jindal, Ted Cruz, the new senator from Texas. Marco Rubio, this whole generation who were just a year or two short in their careers from running this time are all going to be in the fray next time. And I think they are the future. And all the soul-searching about what ideology we’re going to pursue is going to come from them. And I think it will be a fairly Reaganite and conservative one. I think the future of the party is quite bright.