Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Where Credit Is Due

In one of the best things he has written, Mark Steyn over the weekend pointed out that Paul Ryan recently asked Bob Elmendorff in the Congressional Budget Office if he would score the implications of President Obama's non-budget "budget framework," presumably the new postmodern Democrat Party way of not really offering a budget although one is required by the Constitution to do so. Steyn then quotes Elemdorff's lapidary refusal of Ryan's request: "No, Mr Chairman, we don't estimate speeches." Steyn's typically incisive comment shows why he is almost certainly the best political writer in English today: "'We don't estimate speeches': There's an epitaph to chisel on the tombstone of the republic."

So fine a comment, in fact, that Charles Krauthammer used it this afternoon on Brett Baier's Fox News Channel show, Special Report. Krauthammer recounted the same story without credit, which is fine, since he might have gotten the information from somewhere other than Steyn's piece, but then he went one too far by offering his own reflection on Elmendorff's statement: "There's an epitaph to carve on the tombstone of the Obama Administration." Krauthammer, a veritable oracle of Conservative wisdom and a national treasure, is right to find Steyn's statement attractive--great minds thinking alike, deep speaking unto deep. But when he's citing Steyn's opinion in Steyn's own inimitable image, he ought to give credit where credit is due. Krauthammer, on record many times as disdainful of the President's desire to spread the economic wealth, ought to fight hard himself against the temptation to steal Zeus' thunder.