Scanning the columns at Townhall.com is part of my early-morning routine, and it was at about 6 A.M. today that I read Charles Krauthammer's "Obama Bombing." I marveled at how perfectly the Pulitzer Prize-winning author had captured the essence of Hugo Chavez, calling the Venezuelan thug "a malevolent clown."
Krauthammer's words obviously impressed Matt Lauer, too. For barely an hour later, I was pleasantly surprised to find the psychiatrist-turned-pundit's phrase turning up on the screen at "Today," with Lauer clearly seeming to advance the conservative commentator's theory.
Lauer was interviewing MSNBC's Chris Matthews on this week's Hillary-Obama dust-up.
"TODAY" CO-ANCHOR MATT LAUER: Let me ask you about this debate, the issue that came out of the debate, this whole inexperience-versus-change thing, when Barack Obama answered that in the first year of his presidency he would meet with people like Castro and Chavez. Let me read you what Charles Krauthammer wrote in the Washington Post this morning:
Do the Democrats want to risk strike three, another national security question blown, but this time perhaps in a final presidential debate before the '08 election, rather than a midseason intraparty cattle call? The country might decide that it prefers, yes, a Republican -- say, 9/11 veteran Rudy Giuliani -- to a freshman senator who does not instinctively understand why an American president does not share the honor of his office with a malevolent clown like Hugo Chavez.
View video here.
Lauer continued, clearly appearing to value Krauthammer's viewpoint.
MSNBC HOST CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well it depends who you're looking at . . . The big fight's going to be in those early primaries like in Iowa. Those early primary voters and caucus voters are very, very anti-war. You have to assume they're going to be more anti-war six months from now [Chris is apparently betting against the surge.] Obama is setting himself up to be the anti-war candidate. Hillary is still playing the pivot; she can go either way, hawk or dove, depending on the circumstances. I think Obama is taking the risk he has to take, which is to be the "change" candidate.
I think Matthews is on to something. Obama, seemingly mired in second-place, needs to take the risk of going left in order to win the nomination. He'll worry later, should he succeed in becoming the nominee, about getting out of a McGovernite box of his own making.
In the meantime, it was heartening to see a serious conservative thinker like the good Dr. Krauthammer approvingly cited.
Contact Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org