Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Krauthammer spoke this evening in Norfolk, Virginia at a sold out forum event where he discussed the political landscape and the future of the election in 2016.
Mr. Krauthammer spent about an hour discussing the political landscape and how it has changed since Obama came into office, calling it a series known as "The Great Debate" with the presentation of his thesis: "Every debate we've been having is the subtext of a larger issue... what is the nature of the social contract between citizen and state?"
He broke it down into five acts, one that was pre-Obama, the second from 2009-2010, the third in 2012, the fourth and present in 2014, and the curtain closing on the fifth act in 2016.
In the Pre-Obama Act I, he described the events that went into his election and all of the promises he made, and broke down the three main policies Obama was looking to reform: healthcare, education, and energy. He discussed the energy policy briefly, dropped education completely, and went into great detail about healthcare.
The second act went into how he got the healthcare bill in place, but didn't get it implemented until the third act in 2012, following his election. He expressed his displeasure with the results in 2012, primarily in how the campaign was handled.
"If Romney was in the White House, the country would be better off. However, he wasn't a good candidate," he stated. "The problem is not the conservative idea. If you have an idea you need to find a way to articulate it to the country. Otherwise you'll lose."
He said that the Republicans had a race that was virtually unlosable, but he underestimated the Republicans' ability to lose unlosable races.
The fourth act explained the results of the sweeping Republican victories across the nation, leaving the country with a Republican House and Senate. He pinned the victory on the failure of Obamacare, and said that the entire results expressed the repudiation of Obama's ideals.
He then predicted the results of the fifth act of 2016, weighing both sides. The Democrats, he said, would have to deal with Obama's eight years of presidency and a weak candidate in Hillary Clinton, saying that Democrats "overestimate" her.
"As a conservative I'm fairly optimistic [about the next two years]. It's very important for the GOP to show they can be responsible and they have the unique opportunity to rebrand themselves," he said. "If the Republican Party can make the case as the party of ideas and reform, they will win."
He then went into several Republican candidates, listing off people like Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan (although he hoped he would remain chair of the Ways and Means Committee instead of running) and joked "I like Jeb Bush, but he has a problem... his last name." He then suggested that he change his last name to "Jeb Ochocinco" to please both "Hispanics and Wide Receivers."
The speech was peppered with quotes from Bismarck regarding America, and mentioned some of the foreign policy issues facing America today, such as the ISIS crisis. He also kept mentioning Gruber, and said that liberals had probably never heard of him, saying that Hollywood would make a movie about him and call him "The Man Who Never Was." This joke of course went over my liberal head, so I did some research into who he was later, which described him as a Republican darling professor from MIT.
When he closed the curtain on his speech, there was a fifteen minute question and answer period with questions submitted from Facebook, Twitter, and email. My naturally liberal self has disagreed with most of what he said at this point, so I seized the chance to ask several questions regarding some of the points he had left out.
My answers were met with snark about being a liberal, dismissing me as a young person liberal "who knew nothing," and while I wasn't specifically called out, it was painfully obvious among the audience and the group of people I was in that I was the one who asked, given how most people in the room were over the age of forty and definitely had their Republican views.
"The numbers among young voters, minorities, and women are improving with Republicans. So if you're a conservative, don't tear your hair out trying to get to young voters, the numbers are improving. Obama has lost his magic," was the much more serious answer to my questions.
The final question left the forum on a bit more of a positive note: Which popular television show best depicts Washington as it is?
Mr. Krauthammer jokingly said House of Cards,
saying that unlike Frank Underwood, "Barack Obama has never thrown anyone in front of a train. Maybe a bus, but not a train."
Mr. Krauthammer was definitely able to cater to his audience with conservative rhetoric and easy to understand descriptions, but it just was not my cup of tea. It was still a nice little evening, and very informative about the political landscape. I feel like he could have been a bit less biased, maybe aiming down the center and admitting that Republicans are definitely not practically perfect in every way, and could have weighed the advantages of the Democrats a bit more by being a bit more moderate in his views. He also could have spoken more on the social agenda that's a big issue with several voters, having touched only on a contraception case, Little Sisters of the Poor v. Sebelius
and how it was kind of rigged in the favor of the Sisters. I wasn't pleased with being waved away and dismissed by a perfect stranger like that, but I'm telling myself it was his Fox News showing. They have that problem sometimes.
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