Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Charles Krauthammer tells Newsmax that the successful implementation of Obamacare would lead to European-style government "intrusion and domination" — but adds that it is "quite possible" it will fail.
He also asserts that the government shutdown has led to a "tremendous drop" on the GOP's standing, says he agrees with Sen. Ted Cruz's objectives but not his tactics, and predicts the 2016 Republican presidential candidate will come from the ranks of GOP governors.
Krauthammer is a Fox News contributor, physician, and author of the new book, "Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes, and Politics
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In the book, Krauthammer issues a passionate defense of limited government. Considering the massive growth of the government during the Obama administration and the growing number of Americans dependent on the government for entitlements, he was asked if the concept of limited American government can endure.
"A lot of conservatives are worried that we passed the tipping point," he says in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Tuesday. "That's wrong. It's still very doable for Americans to reconsider the inexorable growth of the leviathan state.
"I'll give you one example: Obamacare would be the singular achievement of the Obama administration, the capstone of 100 years of American liberalism, and would bring us very close to the kind of government intrusion, regulation, domination that you find in the social democracies of Europe.
"If Obamacare fails, and it seems quite possible and to me actually somewhat likely, that would set back the liberal project of the inexorable expansion of the welfare state. It would set back that project by a generation. If the centerpiece of your idea, your ideal, turns out to be completely impractical, completely unworkable and completely insolvent financially, it'll be a really terrible blow.
"Liberals know that and that's why there's such fear and trembling among liberals at the terrible launch of Obamacare and all the obstacles that seem to lie beyond the launch."
Krauthammer wrote a column urging Republicans to give up on the government shutdown but press the president on the debt ceiling.
"Of course it was a mistake to shut down the government, and everything that I'd predicted happened as exactly as predicted," he says. "The only result was a tremendous, historic drop in the standing of the GOP in the mind of the public.
"Now a lot of that has to do with media coverage but media coverage is like the air we breathe. It's there. It's not going to change. You have to accept that as a reality when you do anything in politics.
"Republicans were badly damaged, nothing was achieved on Obamacare, and yet when that disaster ended 16 days later, the country could finally focus on the reality of Obamacare, and it is the reality of Obamacare that will sink it, not the rhetoric.
"All the promises Obama made about it turn out not to be true. That's what will bring Obamacare down."
Krauthammer maintains that Republicans should focus on the debt ceiling because "the debt ceiling is something that no president can ever allow to be reached, because even though he might want to blame it on the Republicans, in the end it would have a very bad effect on the economy, and presidents are held responsible for the economy under their reign whether or not they're directly responsible.
"So if the debt ceiling is breached, the economy will be damaged, the recovery will slow even more, and we could even go back into recession. There will be all kinds of consequences to the markets, and the president knows that in the end he suffers and that means the elections of 2014. Obama's fondest hope is to somehow regain the House so he can reignite his agenda in the last two years of his second term."
Sen. Ted Cruz has come under criticism for his role in pushing the government shutdown. Asked how he feels about Cruz, Krauthammer says: "Ted Cruz is a patriot. He believes in what he does. He's done marvels in mobilizing conservatives, mobilizing Americans concerned about the direction of the ever-expanding entitlement state under Obama, and particularly the threat it is to freedom. I disagree with his tactics but I agree entirely with his objectives."
He also states that the tea party movement has been "extremely healthy" for the nation and for Republicans.
"It's brought tremendous energy and I wrote about this in the book. I have a chapter on constitutionalism, which is basically the idea introduced by the tea party, a return to a more streamlined government that not only is more solvent, but more respectful of individual liberty and individual responsibility."
Looking ahead to the White House campaign in 2016 and who might be the Republican candidate, Krauthammer tells Newsmax: "I'm not sure who the individuals are. You can never tell these things three years in advance but what you can say fairly safely is that the winners, with all the disruptions in Washington, are the governors.
"There's a deep distaste for Washington, you see that in the polls, a deep distaste for Congress people, whether Senate or House, and that makes it easier for governors who are not on the scene of the crime, who've been doing their thing, and who are executives. They've been running things.
"There's a reason why, if you go back 20, 30 years, so many governors have become president, as opposed to senators or other legislators. So there always is a preference for some executive. The governors have an added advantage this time because they're not involved in the Washington tug-of-wars.
"And here you have Christie of New Jersey, Jindal of Louisiana, Susanna Martinez of New Mexico, Scott Walker of Wisconsin. You can go up and down the list. So I would say if you want to look for the most likely nominees, they'll come from there."
Krauthammer's book "Things That Matter
" is a personal chronicle of American life encompassing 30 years of his writing, showing his transition from liberal to conservative.
"Yes, I was what was called a Cold War liberal," he says. "In my youth and in the 1970s I was a disciple of Sen. Scoop Jackson, who was sort of the leader of this conservative wing of the Democratic Party.
"What happened to me is that empirical evidence intervened. I had been a supporter of the war on poverty and the Great Society and then the evidence began to come in, very, very empirical and very, very strict studies of what the effects were," Krauthammer said.
"And it turned out that money wasn't just wasted, it actually was damaging to the very communities it was meant to help. That led me to rethink my social Democratic tendencies and eventually to come to a view of limited government, constitutional government as a way to both create a society that is free, flourishing and still does look after the least among us."
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