Charles Krauthammer Urges GOP To Walk From Negotiations: Gen. Lee Was Offered Better Terms At Appomattox
Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammerhas reviewed President Barack Obama’s first offer as a means of resolving the impending fiscal cliff and found them wanting. In fact, he found them to be insulting and certainly unserious. On Fox News Channel’s Special Report on Thursday night, and today in his weekly syndicated column, Krauthammer has urged the GOP – willing to compromise on some principles but not to commit Hara-kiri – to walk away, take the public relations hit and let Obama contemplate a second term marred by higher unemployment and a deeper recession than his first term.
After Obama was reelected, House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH), supported by many in the House GOP caucus, signaled his willingness to cave on their resistance to higher income tax rates for the nation’s wealthy. He did so with the caveat that this must be paired with a bargain on entitlement spending in order to finally address the nation’s largest debt drivers.
For three weeks, the White House was silent. Then, on Thursday, Treasury Sec. Timothy Geithnercommunicated the details of the president’s opening offer to resolve the fiscal cliff to Congressional Republicans:
• Increase marginal tax rates, including income, capital gains and dividends.
• Reinstate the 2009-level estate tax
• A new, multi-year stimulus package with no less than $50 billion in stimulus funds spent in 2013
• A permanent increase in the debt ceiling limit
In fairness to Gen. Ulysses Grant, Lee was offered strikingly lenient terms of surrender at Appomattox. Lee’s troops were allowed to keep their side arms. Grant transferred copious rations from Union to Confederate lines. Finally, the Army of Northern Virginia was allowed to disperse rather than sit out the rest of the war in Union prisoner camps. Grant was interested in sowing the seeds of a national reconciliation – had he not been lenient, there was the real potential that Confederate troops would take to the hills and mount a generations-long guerrilla campaign. That was the courserecommended by many in Lee’s inner circle.
President Obama’s offer to Congressional Republicans has the opposite purpose in mind. This deal is designed to be so unpalatable as to not invite a counter offer. It is designed to split the elements of the GOP willing to compromise with the president and those Republicans who view their retention of the House in the 2012 elections as a mandate to continue to oppose the Obama’s agenda.