Over the weekend, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer spoke at the National Review Institute Summit in Washington, D.C. During a question-and-answer session, he was asked if he thought President Barack Obama would attempt to hand-pick his successor in order to help guide the country down a path to “socialism.”
Krauthammer began his response by advising against using that term.
“I would just caution you about using the word, ‘socialism,’” Krauthammer said. “The reason is it is too broad a term. It encompasses all kinds of socialism, including the nasty totalitarian examples — the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic, Cuba, Korea.”
“I just would caution you to use the word ‘social democrat’ because that is what he is. … He is not an acolyte of the ‘Communist Manifesto.’ He is in the tradition of the, you know, the quite remarkable and respectable social democrats in Europe. [The] Labor Party, I think, would be a good example, a good counterpart.”
“So, I am just a little wary about using that,” Krauthammer continued. “I think you ought to identify him as somebody whose ideal is a society more European, which he sees as a more just society where there’s less inequality. So I think we ought to give him the kind of respect for his ideology that he denies our side in looking at our ideology and the set of ideas that we believe in.”
Krauthammer said it was less important whether Obama chose his successesor and more crucial what kind of groundwork he would lay for him or her.
“I think Obama, just seeing what he is doing, I think he thinks that he sees himself as a Reagan-like president,” he said, “and I quoted in my column this morning a statement he made in 2008 which I found utterly fascinating, where he said that Ronald Reagan was consequential historically in a way that Clinton was not.”
“And what he meant is that Reagan himself had changed the ideological trajectory of the country, which had been for a half a century on a liberal ideological trajectory, and he changed it almost overnight, which led to a 30-year conservative ascendency. And I think the evidence of that ascendency is the fact that smack-dab in the middle of it, halfway between Reagan’s inaugural and Obama’s second inaugural, you had a president of the Democratic Party who declared the era of big government is over, accepting the premises of the Reagan revolution and then abolishing welfare, in fact.”