Political insights from a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist at Propane Days

June 19, 2014 By    

Charles KrauthammerA highly conservative columnist spoke to a highly conservative industry about all things politics, kicking off the National Propane Gas Association’s (NPGA) annual Propane Days event June 3 in Washington, D.C.

Charles Krauthammer, a Washington Post columnist and a regular contributor to Fox News, looked forward to the upcoming midterm election and even further into the future, sharing his thoughts on the 2016 presidential election as Propane Days’ keynote speaker. Krauthammer also offered a retrospective of the Obama administration’s five-plus years that connected well with many of the propane marketers, suppliers and allied trade representatives in attendance.

“[President Barack] Obama is a guy who sees something large and wants to nationalize it,” Krauthammer said. “He hasn’t succeeded with everything. With education, he nationalized student loans. With energy, he failed to get cap-and-trade even through a Democrat congress. Knowing he’s not going to get any of this through Congress, he’s doing it through executive order and the agencies.”

Early in 2012, Krauthammer expected the Republicans to unseat Obama and take back the White House. To Krauthammer, the election couldn’t be lost based on Obama’s track record and presidential election trends throughout U.S. history.

“I was sure the Republicans would retake the White House in 2012,” Krauthammer said. “I made one fatal mistake: I underestimated the capacity of the Republicans to lose ‘unlosable’ elections.”

The fact the Republicans picked former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., as their candidate was remarkable, Krauthammer said.

“If you want to win in 2012, recapitulate 2010,” he said. “It was about Obamacare. It was about the power of the reach of government, high taxes, high regulation, government intrusiveness. That’s the issue Republicans crushed the Democrats with in 2010.

“So the Republicans, in their genius, find the one man in 300 million who cannot run on Obamacare because he invented it.”

More than two years remain in Obama’s second term, but Krauthammer is already looking ahead to the 2016 presidential election. He’s encouraged by the strength of the Republican field.

“They’ll work it out,” Krauthammer said. “We’ll probably only see seven or eight debates. The Republican brand was deeply damaged by having 22 debates [for the 2012 presidential election] because of the weak field.”

Potential 2016 candidates Krauthammer mentioned are Gov. Scott Walker, R-Wis.; Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La.; Gov. Nikki Haley, R-S.C.; Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J.; Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Krauthammer weighed in on the leading Democratic candidate, as well: former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“Democrats are delusional in thinking that because they are in love with her that the entire country is,” Krauthammer said. “I think they are far overestimating her strengths. If you had to ask me to bet the house on a Republican or on Hillary, I would put the money on the Republican.”

Regardless of who the Republican candidate is, Krauthammer said the Republicans should focus on the fundamental role of government as a major talking point for the 2016 election.

“We can see the future because Europe began down this road 30 to 40 years before us,” Krauthammer said. “They began to nationalize everything. They began to create these entitlements to the point where the government controls nearly half of GDP. We have a safety net state where the individual is free and regulated, but we catch those who can’t help themselves. It’s not to take care of everybody.”

Come November, Krauthammer expects the Republicans to win back the Senate and gain total control of both congressional chambers. A win like that at the midterm elections would be a monumental step toward taking back the White House in 2016, he added.

In addition to discussing upcoming elections, Krauthammer touched on the Keystone XL pipeline upon receiving a question from an audience member. The fact that the pipeline still has not been approved reflects that the issue is purely political at this point, Krauthammer said.

“There are no arguments on the other side [of the debate],” he said. “None. And Obama knows that. The State Department has said that. Everyone knows this is pure politics and it makes this purely offensive and farcical. Their latest defense was there’s a [lawsuit] in Nebraska. That has nothing to do with what the federal government decides. Obama is now obviously going to postpone [a decision] past 2014.”

Kevin Yanik

About the Author:

Kevin Yanik is the senior editor of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at kyanik@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3724.

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