MICHIGAN CITY | The gridlock in Washington D.C. is not just over deficit spending.
It's a much deeper battle over liberal Democrats wanting the United States to pour its resources into helping more citizens in need at home and conservatives wanting to preserve the funding now spent on maintaining U.S. dominance in the world.
That's according to Charles Krauthammer, internationally syndicated columnist for the Washington Post and commentator for PBS and Fox News, who spoke before nearly a thousand people Sunday at Michigan City High School.
Krauthammer, who won a Pulitzer Price in 1987, was the featured speaker in the 60th season of the Sinai Forum sponsored by Purdue North Central.
Krauthammer said Barack Obama, when elected president in 2008 and with Democrats in control of the U.S. House and Senate, set out to aggressively impose a sweeping agenda to expand entitlements in areas such as health care.
He succeeded with the adoption of the Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, triggering a rebellion from conservatives alarmed at the "socialist" direction they felt the president wanted to take the country.
Krauthammer said Obama was unable to further his agenda for other entitlements and to nationalize areas of the economy such as energy after Republicans took back the majority in the House in the 2010 election.
He said Obama and other far left leaning liberals want the United States to mirror entitlement countries in Europe.
To do so, money has to be taken from areas such as the military to fund more social programs at home.
Without a strong defense, Krauthammer said, China or Russia could step in and replace the United States in policing the world, as it has done for more than a century.
"I think there's something really deeper going here," said Krauthammer, who added, "That is at the most of everything that is going on."
Krauthammer went on to say both sides likely will resolve the current dispute over raising the U.S. deficit ceiling and the partial federal government shutdown.
He said spending is going to have to be cut, eventually, or the country will be heading toward a major crisis.
"We can't keep doing what we're doing," Krauthammer said.