Krauthammer looks ahead, seems worried

KRAUTHAMMER LOOKS AHEAD, SEEMS WORRIED…. Going through Charles Krauthammer’s latest column with a scalpel, it’s easy to find more than a few errors of fact and judgment. But it’s the larger point that’s a bit of a surprise.

The errors, to be sure, are glaring. Krauthammer misstates the scope of the Affordable Care Act, exaggerates the size of the Recovery Act, misleads on energy policy, blames this president for the last president’s deficits, takes a foolishly alarmist line on “national insolvency,” and seems oddly confused about Medicare reductions.

And while an abundance of mistakes tends to undermine the quality of a column, Krauthammer nevertheless gets around to saying something interesting. In particular, the far-right pundit explains, “I have a warning for Republicans: Don’t underestimate Barack Obama.”

Obama is down, but it’s very early in the play. Like Reagan, he came here to do things. And he’s done much in his first 500 days. What he has left to do he knows must await his next 500 days — those that come after reelection.

The real prize is 2012. Obama sees far, farther than even his own partisans. Republicans underestimate him at their peril.

That strikes me as reasonable advice.

Krauthammer makes a variety of other predictions — most are misguided — but he concludes that the president has invested his political capital and will spend the next couple of years “consolidating these gains (writing the regulations, for example) and preparing for Act Two.” That sounds about right.

The columnist sounds genuinely concerned. It’s probably a good sign.