Apparently, Newsweek is going to put Krugman on the cover this week and include a letter from the editor saying:
Every once a while, … a critic emerges who is more than a chatterer—a critic with credibility whose views seem more than a little plausible and who manages to rankle those in power in more than passing ways. As the debate over the rescue of the financial system—the crucial step toward stabilizing the economy and returning the country to prosperity—unfolds, the man on our cover this week, Paul Krugman of The New York Times, has emerged as the kind of critic who, as Evan Thomas writes, appears disturbingly close to the mark when he expresses his ‘despair’ over the administration’s bailout plan. …
There is little doubt that Krugman—Nobel laureate and Princeton professor—has be come the voice of the loyal opposition. What is striking about this development is that Obama’s most thoughtful critic is taking on the president from the left at a time when, as Jonathan Alter notes, so many others are reflexively arguing that the administration is trying too much too soon.
A devoted liberal, Krugman hungers for what he calls ‘a new New Deal,’ and he prides himself on his status as an outsider.
What’s most important about Krugman right now isn’t whether he’s right or wrong but that he’s starting to get traction attacking Obama from the left. Obama’s stimulus package was, in my view, not as large as it should have been in large part because the debate was all about whether or not it was too big. The Geithner bank plan is drawing little scrutiny from the cable chatterers because Wall Street seems to like it and the Republicans are yet to produce their own alternative 19 page flow chart on the subject. In effect, for now, the economic debate in the mainstream media ranges from Geithner-Summers banksterism to Bachmann-Santelli-Shelby currency craziness/tax holiday idiocy/”let them fail” know nothingism. That is not a healthy situation.
It’s worth remembering that criticism of Roosevelt from the likes of Huey Long, Francis Townsend, and Charles Coughlin, crackpots though they were, played an important role in setting the stage for the Second New Deal. One can only hope that Krugman and his ilk will succeed in moving the debate from moderation versus right-wing craziness to moderation versus more aggressive policies.
Dream on, moron.
Exactly. There’s nothing better than Paul Krugman when it comes to Obama selling his policy. Undoubtedly Krugman will go back to attacking Obama once Obama’s health plan rolls out, and he’ll be able to say that his plan is a moderate solution despite vastly increasing Federal outlays on health care, introducing a public insurance plan detached from income thresholds, increasing insurance subsidies across the spectrum, regulations on drug/procedure pricing, prohibitions against discrimination based on preexisting conditions/age/race/gender, etc. Krugman will attack it based only on the lack of a formal mandate, and that’s fantastic.
"What’s most important about Krugman right now isn’t whether he’s right or wrong but that he’s starting to get traction attacking Obama from the left. "
Note also, he’s getting attention like this *because* he’s attacking Obama from the left.
Newsweek would never have put Krugman on the cover for his years of Bush critiques. Not a chance. They’d much rather put on some vapid pop culture figure (while international editions show some serious issue). But now the wingnut management of the rag leaps at the chance to say, "SEE? LIBERALS HATE OBAMA TOO!"
Krugman will simply weaken the actual left by giving cover for the Blue Dogs. it doesn’t matter if Krugman is attacking from the left or from the right, he gives credence to the idea that "even the left thinks Obama is wrong."
Krugman seems more and more like an ideologue who has no clue about how politics works and doesn’t care.
when it’s perfect vs good, nobody wins.
Apparently the democrats need to also fulfill the opposition role since republicans are completely incapable of doing anything constructive to address the challenges facing America.
I hope Krugman’s criticism gains traction, as it can only serve to make the administration’s solutions better.
It’s good that at least one independent voice is getting some notice in the media. Too much of the the debate has been between democrats and republicans or the latter’s water-carriers. It’s really the major problem with our media, that debate on an issue is seen as complete when you have at least one hack from each party on with their memorized talking points.
lol. An economist who taught with Ben Berneke at Princeton and writes for the New York Times is an "outsider".
If that isn’t Establishment, I don’t know what is.
@cleek: What Cleek said. I’m beginning to realize why it was so easy for Republicans to come into power.
By any rational standard, Krugman is an entirely conventional liberal, a bit to the left of center. But by Washington standards, he’s a frothing-at-the-mouth inflexible wacko.
It’s notable that the big complaint about Krugman isn’t that he’s wrong– it’s that he’s not a nice person. Arrogant, never ‘bipartisan’, prefers his own opinions even when the in-crowd scoffs. It just won’t do.
Before we celebrate Krugman, let’s remember that part of this is also function of his personal animus for Obama that dates back to two years ago.
Let’s not pretend Krugman is not somehow motivated by his own ego as well here.
Countdown to the absorption of Krugs into the know-nothing soundbyte media in 3…2…1…
You’re partially right. Some will grab onto Krugs and use him as a battering ram against the so-called "Left".
In truth, no "Left" actually exists in public discourse, so it’s impossible to "weaken" them.
ETA me @13
Fuck you! I double-dog dare you to name me one liberal voice in the public sphere.
Olbermann isn’t and Maddow is now a traveling troupe ‘O Comedy.
yep like John I am with cleek.
he is only getting traction because he is criticizing Obama not on the merits. Now the Village can say—see Obama is wrong, the nobel guy says so, without saying why he thinks he is wrong. Then they will all yell communism! and give the right the platform to be the populists. way to go.
I am glad Krugman is criticizing Obama. I think the Obama toxic asset plan is a disaster waiting to happen.
Whatever the merits of his arguments, after a couple of turns through what passes for the media these days the headline will be "Nobel Prize Winner Says Obama’s Plan Sucks!"
Krugman will wind up providing the substance for otherwise insubstantial Republican alternatives.
I don’t think Krugman’s critique is really all that radical. He basically thinks that the insolvent banks need to be taken over, cleaned up and then re-privatized, and anything short of that is just wasting precious time and treasure. There are tons of other economists who are saying the same thing – both from the left and from the right.
I’d settle for rational and successful policies. I don’t really care whether or not they are aggressive. And Krugman is a useful stalking horse. Obama will be able to fight off the GOP not only with the reasonableness of his own positions, but by pointing to the more "aggressive" proposals of Krugman and his ilk and saying "see what I’m saving you from?"
Also, keep in mind that Robert C Merton won a Nobel Prize for Economics, and talked all kinds of crazy crap in favor of Wall Street stupidity. And one of Merton’s biggest claims to fame?
Nope. It’s going to take time and effort to move the Overton Window back to somehwere near the center, but Krugman is making substantive critiques, not simply chucking stones. If people look at what he has to say and decide, naw, that’s too big a stimulus, then that just strengthens Obama’s position because it will help them contextualize his plan on a reasonable continuum of effective options. Instead of just hearing Republicans’ BS objections about how "Oh noes, the debt is too big!!"
We’ve had enough intellectually dishonest lock-stepping for the last 8 years. Didn’t work out too well for us.
Totally agree. The media is using Krugman to undermine Obama’s credibility. This is their way of saying Obama is not change you can believe in.
OT: Check out how, in the past, AIG has had no qualms about using the courts and any other tool available to avoid making payouts, contracts be damned.
The reluctance to sue over the bonuses is highly out of character for an insurance company.
By any rational standard, Krugman isn’t, book titles notwithstanding, a liberal. He doesn’t have much interest in politics, and his economics is rooted in the notion of the importance of empirical reality rather than in any ideology, and while it’s true that conservatives, economists and noneconomists alike, utterly reject the notion of empirical reality, embracing it does not make Krugman a liberal. On the sliding scale of economic theory that embraces empiricism, Krugman’s no further left than dead center.
Crazy people who reject empirical reality simply can’t have their ideology measured on the same scale alongside people to whom reality matters without the scale losing all meaning. Politics and empirical policy preferences must be measured separately if you want to actually understand what people are thinking and where they’re going.
I guess that’s a long winded way of saying that Colbert was right, and that reality has a liberal bias. Krugman’s policy preferences are based solely on what objectively works and doesn’t work, which aligns him far better with liberalism than conservatism, but that doesn’t make him a liberal.
I’ve been hearing this accusation since the primaries yet I have yet to see a single piece of evidence to back it up. Krugman wrote a couple of columns during the primary that were critical of Obama’s health care proposals and, ever since, some people have this image of Krugman as come kind of raving anti-Obamanite.
Krugman has a well-informed point of view. Instead of just dismissing him as a crank (which is the same approach the Bushies took), maybe it might be worth while to actually try to refute him?
The media said that President Obama was angry, he laughed, he was boring, he uses a teleprompter and now they are going to use Krugman. Hopefully that fades as quickly as the rest of their attempts.
Davis X. Machina
Newsweek hasn’t suddenly morphed into The Nation. This is pure ‘The enemy of your enemy is your friend’ stuff.
When Krugman was a voice crying in the wilderness, throughout the Bush fiasco, he was either invisible, or the punch line to a joke.
He’s being played. I hope he’s smart enough to see he’s being played.
I’ll believe Krugman’s obtained real traction when the administration changes its policies in response to something he says or does. Until then, he seems more like someone who simply doesn’t need to worry about political realities.
That will be fun to see. Right wingers citing Krugman in their criticism of Obama? That’s like McCarthy using Marx to criticize Lenin.
Eric Cantor and Joe Scarborough have been using Krugman as proof that not even the left believes in President Obama’s plan of course without giving the details of Krugman’s dissent.
At some point Krugman should realize that he is doing more harm to his point of view than good. There are ways to advocate for a bigger stimulus or for a better bank bill than saying "President Obama’s plan sux balls"
The "radical" nature of Krugman’s criticism is that Obama’s plan props up the 30 year regime of securitized finance when, according to Krugman, the regime is flawed at its heart and doomed to bring endless cycles off boom and bust.
at least it isn’t friedman…
I suspect that some are thinking of this in terms of Clintonian triangulation: Obama will use Krugman as a foil to shore up his "reasonable middle" position. In which case, Krugman could undermine progressive economic policies.
There is that danger. But I think it will be hard to dismiss Krugman as Sister Souljah. Krugman is ideally suited to make a reasoned and popular argument against Obama’s policies from the left in such a way that it will move the dialog in that direction. He may not succeed in persuading Obama to significantly change, but I am glad he is out there making the argument.
@Chris Andersen: IMO, Krugman is not a crank. He would like to tilt the economy more to the left than President Obama feels comfortable with. Even if the senate had 60 plus democratic seats, I’m not sure they would go along with some of Krugman’s ideas. Barry Ritholtz @ The Big Picture has a column today why he disagrees with Krugman on securitization that’s interesting.
Name a way anyone can make a reasoned criticism of Obama from the left that won’t result in the "media is using [them] to undermine Obama’s credibility."
Fear of how the media will react cannot be the deciding factor. They can try to undermine Obama. But that doesn’t mean they will succeed.
The problem is not criticism from the left. It’s criticism that is ill-informed and driven primarily by populist rage rather than progressive ideas.
I’d rather have Krugman taking the lead on this than David Sirota.
@Davis X. Machina:
That’s one way of seeing it. Another way is to say that the window has shifted enough in this country that critiques of the Krugman variety are now acceptably mainstream.
@Chris Andersen: Here’s Krugman in March 2008, after Obama was mathematically guaranteed to win the most elected delegates and thus, almost certainly win the election:
Apparently Krugman had spoken long before about not thinking that it was possible to elect a Black president, but pointing this out that deep into the primary season (at the same time Clinton’s campaign was pushing out polling about Obama’s electability problem) puts him squarely in the unreasonable & politically motivated enemies camp rather than the impartial expert camp. Good that he’s trying to be constructive now, but like I said above I think he’s more useful as foil than spokesman.
wingnuts to iraq
@cole, cleek, etc.
we all know what a disaster it was to have a long Democratic Primary for President between Obama and Clinton. Why can’t we all just fall in line and take the "good enough"
Has Krugman really said, "President Obama’s plan sux balls", or has the media just said, "Krugman is saying ‘President Obama’s plan sux balls’?".
@sgwhiteinfla: Of course all the commentary has been “Even the liberal Paul Krugman thinks this is a terrible plan.”
Christ, anyone with a pulse knows what is going to happen and what has been happening. Go google “even + paul + krugman” and see what you get.
Krugman has enough fanboys and enough people convinced that the way you shift the overton window back to the left is by sabotaging your own party from the left flank. Because if I have learned one thing, it is that when the water is too hot in the shower, I turn off the hot water and shoot nothing but cold water on myself to balance things off.
This is just painful to watch.
Davis X. Machina
I’d rather have Dora the Explorer taking the lead on this than David Sirota. Ever see a post of his that didn’t begin with ‘In my latest book…’?
Self-promotion is the only manufacturing industry not facing a downturn….
@JL: I think that Krugman may be 100% right on the economics. But Obama has to take other concerns into account that Krugman has the luxury of trivializing.
And I wouldn’t want it any other way. I don’t want Krugman to cut back on his criticisms just because his proposals are politically difficult. That’s not his job. His job is to say what he thinks will work economically. It’s Obama’s job to figure out what will work politically.
And hopefully, somewhere in the middle, we’ll get something that will pull us out of this mess.
@Chris Anderson –
This DK post pulls together some evidence for you.
Are people actually arguing that Krugman was not a diehard and openly partisan Clinton supporter in the primaries? He was one snide column away from going full PUMA for goodness sakes.
@Chris Andersen: lol Krugman’s blog has said in a very eloquent way that Obama’s plan sucks.
To be frank, I’m not sure it hurts Obama all that much to be criticized by a liberal elitist. Of course this won’t stop the wingnuts from trying to argue that Obama’s a radical lefty, but you know, I think Obama’s not too disappointed by the likes of Krugman.
I do hope this sort of thing puts Krugman on more of the Sunday morning shows however, if only because he won’t hesitate to tell Will he’s an idiot, in the most polite way.
@Zach: I think you have to squint really hard to see a hint of "personal animus" in what Krugman wrote.
I’d put Krugman a bit left-of-center for two reasons– he’s dubious, to say the least, about ‘the magic of the market’, and he’s broadly willing to have the government take actions that promote policies he favors, even if these policies run counter to marketplace interests. But I agree that his view is basically empirical, detailed, and reality-based. A bit left of center.
the problem is that Krugman does not just say ‘ this is what I as an economist would like to see done because economists make prescriptions based on all things being equal where there are no political considerations. He says, as SGWhite says ‘Obama sux’ or even more, ‘Obama is a craven operator of the Wall street Lords’. There is never or very rarely any recognition that obama’s policies are progressive
@Chris Andersen: Bill Bennett did it the other day on CNN after Obama’s press conference. The trick, you see, is not to get into the *specifics* of what Krugman is criticizing. So plan to hear a lot of "even the liberal Krugman doesn’t like Obama’s plan for x, y, and z" from the right. Fortunately, no reporter will follow up with "what do you think of Krugman’s argument that the budget should be even double what Obama is proposing?" because that would inconvenience the right wing guest and we can’t have that.
cyntax, for Krugman to move the Overton window would require people to actual listen to what he says. That’s not happening and it’s not going to happen, he will just be another cudgel for those opposing whatever plans come out of the Obama White House.
Hey in this country you get a choice. You can have a party that is full of authoritarians who are easy to mobilize behind almost any idea/person, OR you can have a party of anti-authoritarians who have a very difficult time mobilizing behind a single idea/person.
I decided a while back that, for all of its faults, the Democratic Party’s ability to criticize itself is far, far healthier than anything that the GOP has to offer. Yeah, it makes things harder. And yeah, our dipshit media makes it way too easy for authoritarian whack-jobs to game the system. But I’d really rather associate with people who think for themselves and are willing to speak critically when they see a problem than people who blindly follow along with everything and, when they see a problem, keep their mouths shut for fear of retribution or seeing their leader fail.
The first group is practicing democracy – it’s messy, ugly, and sometimes doesn’t work very well at all. I’m not sure what the second group is practicing, but it whiffs of monarchy to me which is often less messy, but usually far, far uglier. And it’s part of why I had to leave the GOP behind years ago.
So I’m happy to see smart people like Krugman give smart criticisms of the President – I’d absolutely HATE it if all of the liberal columnists turned into raving dittoheads like the conservatives did for W. I’d have to go find them and smack them, and I just don’t have time for that right now.
Define the difference between "reasoned criticism from the left" and "sabotaging your own party from the left".
Absolutely! About the only pundit/commentator more in the tank for Hillary Clinton than Krugman was historian Sean Wilentz, who embarrassed himself with anti-Obama screeds that were so wildly partisan that even some long-time Wilentz admirers had to publically distance themselves from him.
And it should be kept in mind that this is a global financial crisis and even though Krugman is an eloquent and respected observer, I don’t think that anyone anywhere is rigorously (or even loosely) adopting his recommendations as official policy.
Yes, that was my recollection as well. I’m pretty sure Armando was quoting Krugman just about every week. That’s all the evidence one should need really.
@nepat: I read through most of that post and here are my impressions: (1) If you were a strong, early supporter of Obama I can see how some of Krugman’s comments could come off as snippy. Since I wasn’t a strong early supporter of Obama I, at the time, read them as fairly reasonable questions that anyone who isn’t already sold would like to have answered. (2) Krugman is great on the economics, not so great on the politics. I’ve realized this for several years. But that doesn’t mean his judgment of Obama’s political skills, while wrong, are evidence of "personal animus". (3) The poster of that diary demonstrates as much "snippyness" and "personal animus" towards Krugman as he accuses Krugman of demonstrating. At one point, he snidely asserts, with no evidence, that Krugman was angling for the Treasury position in a Clinton administration.
Please recall that the primary wars on dKos between Obama and Clinton supporters were particularly vicious last year. I would keep that in mind any time you cite someone who lived through those battles when it comes to judging that actions of others who were similarly engaged on the other side.
I don’t always agree with Krugman, especially on the politics. But I think his critics should try confronting him on the substance and leave the search for ulterior motives to the crank crowd.
@Chris Andersen: True. I guess he never displayed the sort of open antagonism that’d qualify as obvious personal animus. He did call Obama timid, scare-mongering, and insincere at various points in the campaign.
One thing that I find odd is that Krugman’s ire is focused on Obama while ignoring people like Bayh and Ben Nelson. Now I know he has criticized them before but he seems to lose sight that progressive policy ideas can be killed by these grandstanders.
@valdivia: I’ll concur with this. Krugman’s political critiques are of blogger level quality. But that doesn’t mean his economic criticism is wrong.
I was thinking more along the lines of "Leading economists are critical of Obama’s plan." It’s not as though the Republicans are averse to taking a piece of something out of context and using it to bolster their argument.
@iluvsummr: So how does someone criticize Obama from the left without giving this kind of ammunition to the right? Or should we just not criticize him from the left out of fear of what the right will do with it?
I disagree that legitimate critique from the Left is somehow "bad" for Obama politically. Glenzilla makes the point in his own way but I agree with his two premises. First, that open debate rather than lock-step echo harmonies is a what makes the Left different from the Right. I don’t want progressives, liberals, Democrats, or People Like Me in echo harmony. Second, criticism spurs innovation and the application of the best ideas. The alternative is to go with what your side has always done and never consider that better ideas may be out there. Tax cuts anyone?
Don’t get fooled into living the Village’s 24-hour life span. It hasn’t worked too well lately for the cons.
I will give you a few lines from Krugman’s blogs as well as titles.
Yes Krugman is literally crying crocodile tears over Geitner’s plan.
Yes its a panic!!! Sounds patently familiar to the "He is doing too much" crowd.
Now I don’t know for sure if zombie ideas translates into sux balls but it comes pretty damn close if you ask me.
@John Cole: I won’t deny he was a Clinton supporter (though I don’t think he was ever explicit about it). But I think it is dubious, at best, to characterize him as a nascent PUMAhead. I’ve seen no evidence to back that up.
They can be the same thing at the same time, and you are watching Krugman pull off that feat right now. Every time he criticizes Obama and fails to explain why Obama’s policies are better than those from the right but still are inadequate from what Krugman thinks should be done, he provides ammunition for the usual suspects.
Look- Krugman has been right about a lot of things, which is why people like me, who have been wrong about a lot of things, and when we were wrong about a lot of those things, were mindlessly trashing Krugman, now read him and pay attention. Nowadays he is one of the first people I read on, well, anything.
But he has to know how he is being used, or he is a bigger idiot politically than I even thought. And don’t tell me he isn’t being irresponsible with comparisons like this:
It is maddening. And when you point out how destructive this is, you get fifty people telling you how wonderful democracy is compared to authoritarianism from Republicans. It makes you want to just give up.
@Chris Andersen: Neither. Criticize from the Left and let the cons look foolish running around with their pants on fire. Just because the Villagers buy it doesn’t mean the electorate does.
Here’s Krugman on the gas tax issue from the primaries:
Reads fairly PUMA-esque.
used to be disgusted
I actually think DougJ’s initial point was a great deal more important than any judgment we could pass on Krugman personally.
I would happily agree that Krugman is politically short-sighted and inflexibly hung up on his own opinions — etc. etc.
But the point here really isn’t about Krugman, or about the validity of his specific ideas. It’s about opening up a space in the media for the *idea* of left critique. DougJ nailed it.
"Oh, but Krugman isn’t offering *real* left critique . . .or he’ll be co-opted . . . " Ok, fine — whatever. That’s not the point. The point is simply that the idea should be in circulation that there *exists* a possible critique of the administration’s policies . . . from the left.
It’s all about moving that Overton window.
@Bootlegger: Thanks for mentioning Greenwald. How is Krugman’s criticizing of Obama on economics any more destructive than Greenwald’s criticism of Obama on civil liberties? Yes, Krugman has a bigger bullhorn than Greenwald. But is the standard to be: you can criticize Obama, but only if people aren’t actually paying any attention to you?
Hmm. But do you sing while you’re doing that?
the other thing for me Chris is that Krugman seems to think that the choices are between what Obama is proposing and his idealized version of economic policy that could only exist in an *ideal* country with the right legislative process for it, ie not the US. In reality the choice is between what Obama is proposing and something like "More Tax Cuts!" or "Do Nothing!" and by not seeing this and making his claims as he does he does undermine the truly progressive policy while bolstering the idiotic republican one.
As for him being ‘right’. The truth is that we do not know this for a fact. As much as he and people like Simon Johnson and Stiglitz state that this has happened countless of times this is not the case. At no time before have we had to nationalize the biggest banks–multinational banks at that–in the most globalized and crucial economy in the world. Fixing the US is not like fixing Indonesia in 1998. The fact that they think it is, that economists think this, is the biggest problem I have with it–the one size fit all recommendations they have been doling out and that ultimately don’t work as they say they will.
And a ps on Stiglitz. He was very gung ho about Argentina in the aftermath of their crisis and now, 5 years later we see the consequences of their policies, they are on the verge of a famine and they had to take the money from their pensions to plug the federal budget. So even the smartest economist have no idea of the externalities, political and otherwise fo their policies.
@John Cole: You’re assuming, John, that everyone buys into the Villager harmony. Most Americans don’t live and die by the 24-hour news cycle. In fact, I would suggest that the fact that a Noble laureate like Krugman is having a wonkish debate on economics with our Smarty President is a much better image for most non-Villagers. The electorate knows smart people disagree on stuff and the moderates, you know, the people who decide elections, don’t swoom left and right as the Villagers switch hands while masturbating.
@sgwhiteinfla: Is Krugman’s economic criticism of Obama’s plan wrong?
Not at all.
I think his fanaticism is a plus here. There’s a very real possibility that we need more aggressive, New Deal style policies here. And there’s a very real possibility that even if it’s clear that we need them to most sentient beings, Republicans and the media will oppose them so vociferously that they won’t be passed.
The people opposing Roosevelt from the left economically were total nut jobs. But they played an important role. And now I’m supposed to say Krugman can’t because he’s a borderline PUMA?
@Chris Andersen: The Left isn’t going anywhere, in any election they will still support Obama and the Dems. The Right isn’t going anywhere either, they will rub a chubby over a Palin poster and pull the right lever. Elections are always about swaying the middle and I firmly believe they don’t give two shits if the Villagers are in full throttle vodka enema mode. This "the Left disagrees with Obama meme" will do nothing at all to move the middle of the electorate.
@John Cole: Thanks. I think you do a good job of cutting the knot on the "reasoned criticism" vs. "sabotaging" conundrum. And it points out something I have criticized Krugman for as well: he’s just not very good at politics.
But I have to wonder if we are expecting to much from him. Even if he makes the mistake of not contrasting Obama’s policies with what would be worse from the right that does not mean his criticisms are not well founded. I don’t like that people fall into the: "Well, he just doesn’t like Obama" trap on this point.
Shawn in Showme
I’m more concerned about Maddow’s nightly concern trolling than Krugman’s. She’s got a TV show and gosh darn, it people like her, even Obama fanboys like myself.
The average American doesn’t even know who Paul Krugman is. He’s a no-nonsense academic lacking in people skills. And he’s being championed by a traditional news rag with a declining readership. Whooptie fuggin’ do.
The appropriate comparison here isn’t Huey Long vs. FDR. It’s Gore Vidal vs. JFK.
@Chris Andersen: Go read a Greenwald piece. Then go read a Krugman piece. Tell me which one is longer. Tell me which one reads like a reasoned criticism from the left and takes everything into account, and tell me which one is a chopped up piece that could be easily misinterpreted.
Every time we get into these debates it feels like I end up spending hours arguing with someone who just wants the right to criticize but wants to pretend there is no responsibility with that right. No one here is saying not to criticize Obama. What we are saying is that how you do it matters. Popping off about “despair” while comparing him to Bush is not helpful, no matter how moist your loins get about messy Democracy and healthy debates.
Once Krugman is anointed chief critic from the left, you let me know how many times he is used to promote talking points from the right, and how many times he is on a long-form platform like Bill Moyers and able to clearly point make longer arguments and move the debate to the left. I’m pretty sure which one will happen more.
used to be disgusted
One other thought, to flesh out the importance of left critique a little more fully than my cryptic invocation of the Overton window.
Those of us who lived through the 90s as Dems — or simply remember the 2000 election — may have bad memories about stiff-necked leftists who seem to complain about Democratic administrations ritually, predictably, and without constructive purpose.
Certainly that was how I felt through much of the 90s — and let’s not even go into December 2000.
But this is really a different era, and the political forces are aligned very differently. The center-left coalition in place right now feels quite durable to me. I really don’t think we have to worry about another Nader candidacy — not for an election cycle or two, anyway.
In that situation, I think the benefits of a vigorous left critique profoundly outweigh the costs. And I actually think that’s true even if your own political ideology is kind of centrist. I’m kind of a centrist on a lot of issues, but right now I see political inertia as the biggest threat to our future. I just don’t think we’re going to get *any* solution to our really serious problems — the financial crisis, global warming, etc. — without really vigorous pressure that forces the government to take on entrenched interests and challenge lazy assumptions.
To do that, I think we need some loud noises on the left. So much so, that I kind of don’t care whether I always agree with the people making the loud noise.
@Chris Andersen: I think someone pointed about above that its really a disagreement by degree. Obama and Geithner are moving in a direction similar to Krugman, but Krugman would prefer a bolder restructuring of the financial system. Personally I prefer this as well but I’m willing to give Obama and his nerds the benefit of the doubt because its still better than what the R’s are finding in their ear wax. So count me as "critical of Obama" in this regard, but I’m not throwing my man under the hippy bus.
Some other things…
Krugman seems to me to be a detriment in that he can be used as a tool for the Right to batter Obama. That leaves the converse unsaid–why isn’t he being used as a cudgel against the right?
To a certain extent, that falls on Krugman for not mentioning it. But it also falls on the Left for not using Krugman that way in a way that resonates with the public.
That’s both the funniest and most disturbing bit of imagery I’ve heard today.
You are asking the wrong person. I never said he was wrong. You asked for examples of when he said Obama’s/Geitner’s plan "sux balls" and I provided them. I don’t think anybody on this thread necessarily thinks Krugman is wrong. Here is what I said initially.
And I absolutely believe that. Krugman comes off like a petulant child who rants if Obama doesn’t do everything HIS way. What would be better is to point out how things could be better or what his plan would be and I mean in more substantive fashion than just hollering "NATIONALIZE" every other day. He could describe a banking plan that nationalizes banks without ever using the word nationalize but instead because he doesn’t give a shit that sitting people in Congress are calling President Obama a Socialist and a Marxist and some people are falling for it, he relishes using words that end up putting pressure on President Obama to go the exact opposite route. And that means as I said before he is doing more damage to his point of view than good.
Amen. Throughout the nineties I heard over and over again, "if Clinton is doing xyz, what’s the difference between him and the republicans? We’d be better off with a republican in office so we could oppose him. "
Look how well that worked out.
Here you go, the drum beat that Obama has failed based on this now begins.
For some reason my comment just went hay wire but what I block quoted was from my earlier statement that there are better ways to advocate Krugman’s position than how he is choosing to do so.
That’s exactly how I feel.
There will be no meaningful critique of Obama or other Democratic presidents from Republicans because the Republican party is filled with idiots. So any serious critique of Obama will come from the Krugmans and Greenwalds of the world. When that critique becomes part of mainstream political dialog, our system works better.
used to be disgusted
Actually, if I were going to criticize DougJ’s post, I would just say that Krugman isn’t the kind of populist rabble-rouser we really need. What I would like to see are vigorous popular movements pressuring the government to *move* on crucial issues. The upsurge of pitchfork-and-torch-waving about AIG didn’t convince me that those bonuses were actually a big deal, but I thought the energy was a good sign.
Now if we could just get people equally riled up about global warming. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be an issue that pushes primate envy reflexes in the right way.
To refer back to your previous reply to me: does Greenwald level his criticisms with "but the Republicans would be worse?"
I’ve seen several columns by Greenwald of late that are essentially: Obama is perpetuating Bush policies therefore he is as bad as Bush.
Both Krugman and Greenwald back up their arguments and do a good job of making them cogent and solid. The only real difference I see between them is that Krugman has a bigger name and is therefore more likely to be cited by the right-wing noise machine in the "even liberals disagree" ploy. Other than that, I don’t see much difference between Krugman and Greenwald’s reasoned, uncompromising positions.
Both Krugman and Greenwald are snidely dismissive of real world political concerns. And, let me repeat this, I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want there to be a place for pominant voice who can argue a more pure position. I don’t want Krugman or Greenwald to censor themselves out of concern for the political difficulties that come with what they are advocating.
More and more the complaint I see here seems to come down to "criticize Obama all you want, but don’t make to much noise in case people might actually start paying attention to you, because then the real bad guys will use you in their war against Obama."
We can’t operate from fear.
I think it’s sad that the face of the liberal "opposition" to Obama is a newspaper columnist. At least Bernie Sanders actually tries to do something productive and principled (his hold on an appointee who pushed deregulation).
@Bootlegger: I side more with Krugman than Geithner on the specifics, but I’m also willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt. If for no other reason than I’m not the president and I have no perspective from which to judge.
Well, according to TPM last week, the Republicans have adopted some of Krugman’s economic platform:
I’m sure this is all a coincidence.
@gwangung: Good point. Instead of worrying that Krugman may become a political liability, why don’t we think of ways to use him as a political plus?
Shawn in Showme
If the nut jobs never existed but we still got John Maynard Keynes’ economic theories casting an enormous shadow from across the pond, we probably still would have gotten the New Deal. If you eliminate Keynes and retain the nut jobs, the U.S. would be a very different country today.
@sgwhiteinfla: Thanks for the great response (and to everyone else on this thread as well). I agree with you that Krugman is to quick to say "nationalize" without much thought word space given to how to actually do it. Perhaps we should request that he devote a few columns specifically to what nationalization would look like? That may go a long way towards calming the worries.
We can’t operate from exalted ideology, either, Chris.
I enjoy reading Greenwald and Krugman (to a lesser extent), but they both suffer from the "good is the enemy of the perfect" mentality. Which is all fine and good for exerting pressure and helping to shape policy discourse from a purely ideological POV, but it is not very helpful from a political POV when you are dealing with a GOP in tatters and a lazy MSM.
Good luck with that. Krugman is in bomb-chucking mode, so I don’t think a detailed analysis of the chemical composition of those bombs will be forthcoming. But I certainly would love to be wrong about that.
I like Krugman’s stuff a lot, but he might have a blind spot when it comes to the political dimension of the economy. It’s not clear that Obama could have succeeded in getting a much bigger stimulus bill through Congress. Achieving what he did was monumental, given the number of nitwit Republicans and regressive Democrats that he has to deal with in the House and Senate. Obama has to walk a tightrope, and I give him credit for what he has already accomplished.
Totally off topic but I felt the strong need to pass this along especially since Glenzilla’s name has come up several times
Could we have an NCAA Open Thread, please? My second chance chances at being the Queen of Suckitude II are looking very, very good.
Edit: Looks like our host, bootlegger, has sort of lost interest since he’s slipped out of the lead. I see Church Lady is back up top. And Libby and JenJen doin’ well. Lookit Wini ruling the second chance board!
beat me to it I was about to post on it. Nothing makes me happier than these people not being able to travel. start quaking a-holes.
I’ve noted in another thread that Krugman reminds me of a recently interviewed (by NPR) prominent mathematician who admitted that he was not good at Algebra and also lets his wife manage the investment portfolio.
Krugman is good at describing the economy on a macro level and at analyzing certain trends. But he jumps through hoops to rationalize his ideological preferences as rational economic policy. I just don’t get a sense that Krugman is any better than any other NY/Washington insider when it comes to the nuts and bolts of what should be Administration policy, and he is clueless when it come to tax policy.
A hint of the kind of thing I’m talking about here: notice how often pundits talk about credit, consumption and spending, but they seem to have no clue about a real world in which people have (or don’t have) jobs and wages.
Slightly more inside: Neither Krugman nor most other commentators have noted that Bush’s Economic Stimulus program had much impact (you know, the one which put $300 to $1200 and up into the hands of most taxpayers). In fact, the idea of encouraging spending as wages declined and unemployment accelerated was just nuts. And continues to be nuts. But the Democrats also fell in love with the idea of stimulus, and the Democrats have given us "Son of Stimulus," which creatively addresses some of the problems in the first approach, but which overall is still nuts.
And Krugman is not a banker. I given him credit for being skeptical about parts of Obama’s approach, but ultimately the Administration needs someone who thinks like a crook, uh, I mean, banker, to rein these guys in.
They do not need someone who is there to provide a critique from the left. This is as boneheaded, as insubtantial, as pointless as the GOP insisting that parading around in their conservative principles is the same thing as having a practical idea of how to rescue a failing economy.
@Chris Andersen: Greenwald is a libertarian. His views on torture and the abuse of the constitution are beyond reproach, imo. Krugman is an economist who also has views that are beyond reproach but not practical in implementing. In an earlier post some one mentioned that it seemed that all their money was going to prop up the shit pile on wall street. It appears that it is but Krugman’s approach is just let that shit pile fall. President Obama’s approach seems to be more cautious and he does not seem to be at the point where he thinks it necessary to have it raining shit on everybody.
Krugman was an advocate for Clinton and all you have to do is read his blog from the campaign. I’m not saying that as a party we have to stand behind the President right or wrong but gee, I’m willing to give him a few more months.
@Laura W: Since I am not signed in, I could only view the front page and I did not notice your name. Kudos for trying, though. If I had filled out the form, I would have been right there along with you.
Is this a clue?
Republican members of Congress are shallow, obsessed with opposing Obama, bereft of any substantive policy ideas, and have absolutely no sense of irony or self-awareness. They are also very stupid. They latch on to anything that criticizes the Obama administration, no matter what it is, and their mouthpieces blindly and blithely follow along.
What if . . . just what if . . . they start actually advocating for the "Swedish model," an end to "state secrets," a full health care mandate, a larger stimulus, and legalizing marijuana? Then Obama could "compromise" and be "bipartisan" by agreeing with their new "road to recovery," thereby ending his second term with every liberal policy enacted. It would be the ultimate Unity Pony Mind Trick.
This is preposterous, I know, but it kind of falls in line with my grand theory of post-ironic dadaist politics.
I’m kind of astonished people think that if Krugman is permitted to continually criticize the administration from the left that means the system is working.
It isn’t working, folks, if the administration doesn’t actually move to the left in response. I’m perplexed as to why people actually believe that this is a likely outcome of all of this. It’s much more likely, as Cole has pointed out, that the criticism will be used like a dull bludgeon by the right.
You know, I doubt more than 30% of this is political. Krugman is an obviously acclaimed Nobel laureated geek for his number work. I have no problem with his numerical faculty. You can use his accreditation as a political club, but it’s not a wise move. Unfortunately, shiny objects are much more effective political motivators than numbers.
This idea that criticism of Obama from the left is verboten is simply ridiculous. Yes, Krugman should qualify his criticisms with a little equal time for GOP bashing, but the idea that they were just going to sit there and do nothing if he hadn’t opened his mouth is laughable. The GOP was going to criticize Obama no matter what else was going to be said. If they want to latch on to aspects of Krugman’s, and give him a bigger megaphone, so be it.
Nobody is suggesting this, at least not in this thread.
My limited reading has pointed out that any type of give back is short term. Obama’s plan is slightly better because it is a few extra dollars over a period of months, which will more likely be spent. Unfortunately, the money would have been better utilitized towards green energy or trains but that doesn’t sell with the msm.
Yeah, basically what Krugman is saying is let the shitpile fall. Which to be honest may be all fine and dandy, but he should write some articles about what would happen if said shitpile fell. Does he think nothing would happen? I think obviously so. Obama and his administration think otherwise. I think that Krugman makes too much of a deal, and I don’t think he fairly represents Obama’s PoV in this matter.
I think that when it comes to politics, slow change IS better than going for the home run, as Krugman pushes for in economics and Greenwald pushes for in Civil Liberties. Especially if said push will come with significant push back, or a potential downside.
People will not accept their retirement funds being destroyed, or their home value being reduced to a reasonable level. (IT IS A HOME NOT AN INVESTMENT)
People will not accept the Gitmo detainees coming back for their pound of flesh.
Those are the political problems that the Obama administration, IMO, are dealing with. And to put your head in the sand and go NA NA NAAAA frankly, helps nobody.
@Jody: No one is objecting to Krugman criticizing the president but that he needs to be mindful in how he does it. His language is being co-opted by the GOP. We expect the GOP to criticize Obama but that doesn’t mean that they should use criticism from the left as a cudgel to beat him with,
What if . . . just what if . . . they start actually advocating for the "Swedish model," an end to "state secrets," a full health care mandate, a larger stimulus, and legalizing marijuana?
You’re talking about Repigs? None of these fit into their policy themes of untrammelled rampaging corporatism, steel-fist authoritarianism, xenophobia, willful ignorance, fear, hate and social conformity.
@JL: You are kind as always, JL. The reason you didn’t see my name on the front page is that it only shows the top 10. I am 16 out of 23 in the second chance tourney, but expect to be 21 out of 23 by the time it ends, totally owning the two players below me who have NO PICKS. Why ruin a perfect record?
Queen of Suckitude II
I’m with Karmakin. Obama is our new, young, black President. There is a limit to what he can accomplish given the dismal political realities of this county, and he will probably get more done in the long run by building credibility with sober and skillful management in the early going. He would be taking a huge risk by nationalizing the banks and generally raising hell with existing financial and political institutions. I’m a flaming progressive who is just as impatient for change as anyone, but I think he’s on the right course.
@Laura W: Thanks for the shout out re: second chance! So far so good, but my expectations are pretty much nonexistent.
Oh, and I’m loving this thread; such great comments.
There’s a real danger in trying to nationalize banks that are international, also.
Exactly. The comparisons to Bush, the Democrats are no better, etc., is exceedingly destructive. If Obama fails, it isn’t Dennis Kucinich and Bernie Sanders and Russ Feingold standing in the batters box. It is the Wasilla wingnut and Sanford and the rest of whatever else the conservative movement can barf up. After progressives and Republicans convince America the black muslim socialist has failed (each for their own reasons, of course, but all that will be understood is he “failed”), the American electorate isn’t going to embrace the Green party. They aren’t going to be pushed into the arms of the glibertarians at Reason. The fallback position from the failed Obama position for the American people will be the Republican party.
And in case you have any idea what that means, it would be the Faux populist “with us or against us” Republicanism, not a principled conservatism. “We tried eight years of massive government spending, and all we got were deficits. We need to drop taxes to five percent and starve the government beast and slash medicare and medicaid and social security and let the economy take care of itself.”
Progressive nirvana. But hey, Paul Krugman can get back to trashing Republicans.
This was my first reaction to the post. Newsweek, like all other print media, is desperate for circulation and so they’ll be happy to muckrake if it helps sell their rag. They want to tap into the public fear and outrage and to do this they are creating a contentious disagreement.
Anyway, who died and made Krugman the man with all the answers? Nobel Schmobel. Krugman wasn’t tapped to be in the inner circle and doesn’t know Obama’s strategy for dealing with this gianormous mess. It’s tabloidish of Newsweek to do this stunt.
Nope. People whose wages are declining, who are losing their jobs, or who are over-extended with respect to their credit either saved the "stimulus" or paid old bills. They did not spend on new stuff. They did not stimulate the economy in any meaningful way.
Also, checks were given to retired people on Social Security instead of being targeted to a broader class of working people.
There are some things I really like in what Obama came up with (e.g., excluding some amount of unemployment compensation from taxes), but other parts not so much.
The best part of Obama’s plan is the middle class tax cut. And wouldn’t you just know it, a lot of lefties oppose this because they see funding their pet projects as more important than stimulating the economy.
But my larger point, again, is that I disagree with Krugman because he is a lefty or a past-Obama basher, but because being a Nobel prize winning economist does not necessarily make you a whiz with respect to the nuts and bolts of financial or tax policy.
Exhibit A: Look at all the smart kids, physicists and mathematicians, even, who broke the economy.
Green energy is a boondoggle. And I don’t understand why people are so in love with trains, and this general "back to the 19th century" mentality. And even if these things were desirable, you can’t set them as more important than dealing with a severe drop in income and living standards seen for millions of middle class people.
I definitely agree that Greenwald’s pieces are longer. Much, much longer.
Krugman’s columns are, of course, limited in length. But he does have a blog and he goes into more detail and side issues and answers questions and criticism. If you want to know more about his nationalization proposal you can find out.
From that anti-Obama Hillary PUMA shill.
Climate of Change
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: February 27, 2009
Elections have consequences. President Obama’s new budget represents a huge break, not just with the policies of the past eight years, but with policy trends over the past 30 years. If he can get anything like the plan he announced on Thursday through Congress, he will set America on a fundamentally new course…
…But I don’t blame Mr. Obama for leaving some big questions unanswered in this budget. There’s only so much long-run thinking the political system can handle in the midst of a severe crisis; he has probably taken on all he can, for now. And this budget looks very, very good.
@patrick: Is this forum now a straw-man building competition? Just because he said one passing nice thing about the budget (and even then Krugman left room for “improvement”) does not invalidate the months of harping and haranguing. They both happened.
@Brachiator: Since no one else is creating jobs, I think that it is important that the government put money into actual job creation. I’d rather folks work so they can shop where ever and pay taxes. I’m not sure that green is a boondoggle because it lessens our dependence on the Middle East.
I can only dream of going to Europe and traveling on high speed rails. Even if global warming ended up being a myth, the health benefits of lowering the pollution from car travel would be worth it.
Shawn in Showme
Because when you consider the impact of emissions, the amount of space we have available and an exploding population, an automobile-dominated civilization isn’t sustainable.
@Shawn in Showme: I lived in Germany for several years and would KILL to have what they have with trains. I spent the last four years without a car because I hate driving so much, but finally broke down and bought one, but I would do anything to be able to just take the bus, the subway, and the train everywhere.
Krugman loves the Obama budget. He hates the bank plan.
The bank plan is done, though. The window for influencing the bank plan is officially closed.
I have no idea why Krugman’s daily column insisting that Obama is 1. an idiot who has been tricked and then hijacked by two shady Wall Street types and 2. an incredibly reckless steward of public funds, helps us toward our common goal here, which was, I assumed, the budget.
Unless the goal was busting up the banks, I feel as if Krugman has just wandered completely into the woods.
I think the train/no train divide is a good way of seeing if the liberal in question has ever been to Europe or Asia. Once you experience efficient, clean and widely available mass transit, you will crave and envy it for the rest of your life.
@kay: It would be nice if Krugman would explain how you nationalize banks that are international.
FWIW, and may I repeat it, Nouriel Roubini agrees with Krugman that the Geithner plan, though perhaps a very good plan to value and sell off toxic assets of solvent financial institutions, it does nothing to directly address the problem of insolvent institutions.
They both agree that insolvent institutions will require nationalization.
The difference between Roubini and Krugman is that Roubini calls for a new program to nationalize (or administer or take over) insolvent institutions whereas Krugman is freaking because no one is really directly talking about it.
The good news is that Geithner, Bernanke, and the administration have submitted legislation to Congress which, if passed, may allow the take over of non-bank financial institutions which right now would be subject either to bankruptcy or liquidation, the 2nd being more likely for these gigantic failed insolvent financial institutions.
It’s a question of trust and open debate.
Some see the lack of discussion of what to do with insolvent institutions and see a careful and cautious pattern of building up the necessary tools to take care of them, by the administration.
Others, such as Krugman, see the lack of discussion of what to do with insolvent institutions and see a government avoiding one of the most important questions on our economy which exists — and this scares him.
I could see the prior approach, and in the last few days, I’ve been more comfortable with that. But also, as a citizen, I hate being expected to apparently assume, without public and open declarations of the policy, that the right things will be done with regard to the massive and frightening insolvencies we face — which, again, are not going to be addressed within the Geithner plan.
John, is the clock out of whack?
@Laura W: I told ya solid picks, not upsets, would win in the end.
Interesting you bring up Krugman’s pro-Obama budget column. The budget discussion is exactly the one that – if we were managing the politics correctly – we would have been focused on for the past two weeks. Instead we’ve been trapped in a circus side show featuring, it needs to be said, the usual cast of characters on the left who love the sound of their own voices above all else. It isn’t just Krugman. It’s Jane Hamsher, Dave Sirota, Chris Powell, Glenn Greenwald, etc. – who go through more histrionic "uprisings" and chest thumping over Every Little Thing than Glenn Beck.
Now we’ve squandered two important weeks that could have been spent bolstering the budget by caterwauling about AIG executive bonuses (yawn) and the financial rescue plan and this has been the result: by belly-aching about the money spent on bank bailouts and executive compensation, we’ve paradoxically created a climate of anti-spending overall that serves to undermine the legitimacy of the budget. Talk about climate change. And into this anti-spending opening have crawled the Blue Dog Dems, Repubs and the MSM, eager to furrow their brows and come to the rescue as Patron Saints of Moderation. Genius politics, that.
But when the very progressive budget (the point of the whole thing, after all) is hacked away at and reduced to a pile of rot, at least we’ll be able to look back and say that our party had a really healthy and vigorous debate, gosh darn it, and we should feel really good about ourselves. Krugman will probably write a column about it.
By a "boondoggle," you mean that given current technology it can’t contribute all that much to the energy mix? Granted; but I think that better technology is MUCH more likely to emerge if the sector is artificially profitable due to the government putting its thumb on the scale. You’re already seeing huge improvements in battery technology due to similar artificial weighting on electric cars.
Trains look much better if you’re in a huge urban area like the Bay Area or the LA metro area. In areas like that, freeways are basically done; there isn’t really any practical way to add a freeway. The only improvements are going to be trains or similar.
Similarly, the skies are pretty crowded between LA and the Bay Area. A high-speed train would take some of the pressure off.
I won the peas prize last year.
They were exceptionally green, round, and succulent.
I think it was the green thing.
We’re on the same page here.
Quite a few lefties are hot for green energy because they demand that energy be renewable and sustainable. And yet some of these alternatives really aren’t environmentally good.
I’m pretty sure that the science on global warming is sound. However, consider this little factoid that came out of the MTA issues in New York:
And yet this massive system cannot be maintained without government subsidies:
As desirable as mass transit may be, you have to find a viable way of encouraging enough economic activity to sustain these services.
This is where you need a gritty nuts-and-bolts kind of guy.
Aspects of this thread are bizarre.
Go read a Greenwald piece and then a Krugman piece? Like there’s no difference in column inches available between the two media?
I’ve been reading Krugman both off the pages of the NYT, in college textbooks, and the books he’s authored for years. Krugman is a classically trained economist. That means he is steeped to his pores to a traditional neo-classical economics tradition. That ain’t Marx. Not even close. To see Krugman on the left is an admission of just how far the Overton Window has been dragged to the right.
I followed Krugman’s columns all through the primaries. As an unaffiliated/independent voter I was ineligible to vote in them. So, I followed the reporting between Clinton and Obama with interest. Having followed Krugman throughout, I was prepared to vote for either candidate. Krugman did criticize Obama’s health care approach as compared to Clinton’s. Period. One approach was clearly more progressive than the other and lots of writers noted that. I’d have to go back to check, but I cannot recall any other issue on which Krugman highlighted a difference.
The media will do what the media does regardless of anything Krugman says or does. Krugman has not turned down any print or broadcast opportunity to press for accountability with regard to our financial institutions. His arguments about the stimulus are right on and consistent with a wide array of other economists who are willing to comment.
Based on my experience of Kurman’s writings across a broad spectrum of outlets (academic and popular), Krugman is a good Classical Liberal. Which is what conservatives used to be in the US.
Shawn in Showme
And which ones would those be?
@Micheline: Krugman’s animus is first for Geithner then Obama then Summers. I honestly think you’re reading too much emotion into Krugman’s views of Obama personally. He clearly thinks Obama can be influenced in the direction of a more interventionist policy.
Let’s hope his political instinct on that nature is more accurate than his primary wish for Edwards (then Clinton), because it’s clear even if you disagree with him, that he is saying what he feel is right.
If one disagreed with him and he wasn’t who he was, we’d be saying he’s trying to take a cheap political shot from the left. As it is, we’re saying he’s an academic. Both ad hominems, slyly ignore the debate on the fact.
Read the actual article, the reporter knows that even though he disagrees with Krugman’s views, he’s worried that the guy, on the issues of the economy, might just be right. That’s the sort of feeling, I think, that might create “change you can believe in.”
@Shawn in Showme: Possibly. But Krugman is closer to a Keynes than a nut job. I think, we’ve just become overly invested in “our man” to miss that fact.
WTF, here? John C., don’t you remember why you left the right? Krugman is a wonk, an academic, and bright as hell. One reason liberals are better than conservatives, among others, is that they stand up and spout off about what they believe, even when one of their own is on the other side. Krugman may prefer Clinton–but does anyone think he would prefer Grampy McNastypants to Obama? Of course he prefers his plan for the economy–that’s what academics do, that’s how you win fucking Nobel prizes. Note please: he’s never said Obama sux balls, he says the plan sux balls. This is all good. Of course the wing nut wurlitzer will try to make something of it; that’s what it does. And then they hand out 19 page joke books with no numbers in them, and call it a budget. Krugman’s fighting with Obama about reality, both of them thoughtful and smart and using actual numbers and logic and reason. Jeebus H. Christ, this is why we wanted the big O to win! Fuck the righties who try to use Krugman–point and laugh and go on. Cheer the good fight. This is the process we want.
@terry chay: My point still stands that he ignores the blue dogs not realizing that they are an impediment to Obama’s agenda.
Glenn Greenwald today:
"People love now to assume the role of super-sophisticated political consultant rather than a citizen demanding actions from their representatives. Due to the prism of gamesmanship through which political pundits understand and discuss politics, many citizens have learned to talk about their political leaders as though they’re political strategists advising their clients as to the politically shrewd steps that should be taken…"
[Sorry. I just hate the blockquote font and haven’t figured out an alternative yet.]
It’s not Krugman’s job to worry about Blue Dogs, so-called Moderates, or the whip count.
@Brachiator: Why should mass transit and trains not be subsidized? We subsidize car and truck travel with roads and highways. We subsidize air travel with airports and air traffic controllers.
I think an infrastructure that allows the free movement of people and goods is an essential public good that is worthy of subsidy. The only question is what form(s) of transportation are we going to subsidize? I’d happily pay more taxes if I could make a trip of a few hundred miles by train instead of either driving or flying. After about 150 miles I’m sick of driving, and don’t even get me started on airport hassles and cramped seats in airplanes . . .
And it’s my understanding that trains are a very energy efficient way to move stuff around, too.
Shawn in Showme
As long as Krugman is content to cry "nationalization" without explaining what it would look like and giving us a price tag, he’s more useful to the Village narrative than he is to Obama.
Keynes wasn’t afraid to pay a visit to the White House and make the case for nationalization. Krugman is content to take shots from the peanut gallery.
@Chris Andersen: Late return to the party, but if the press did its job and pressed the Republicans to debate Krugman’s actual positions versus Obama’s and versus theirs, the public would get a much better idea of the range of possible solutions. They’d have to say whether they approved of Krugman’s solutions and why or why not. If that happens, I’ll be the first to encourage Krugman and others like him to write more blistering critiques of Obama and to pop up on TV 24/7. It’s not like I approve of everything Obama’s doing either but we never get a soundly-reasoned, well-articulated debate that involves those on the left, centrists and those on the right.
@MaryKaye: It is his job to take into account of the blue dogs and Beltway politics. How can you take someone seriously when they don’t even bother with the political realities. The guy acts like Obama has a magic wand who can magically get rid of these problems. Last time I remember the legislative branch counts.
@Brachiator: No mass transit rail system in the world operates without subsidies. And yet, I don’t see London, Paris, or Tokyo (to name a few) suffering for it.
No, this is where blowing the free market makes you look like an idiot. next you are going to tell me that all other transit options are free of subsidy.
Of course he ignores the blue dogs.
He ignores Congress, along with all other procedural and practical and legal aspects of what he proposes.
@Micheline: Respectfully, I disagree. Krugman isn’t part of Obama’s administration any more than I am. Are those worries real for Obama? Sure. But, neither I, nor Krugman… nor any other citizen, from blogger to NYT columnist, is obliged to worry about whip counts.
When it comes to legislation it’s Congress’ job – even more than Obama’s – to arm wrestle legislation through, whether we’re talking budget or stimulus. When it comes to bailing out the banks, Obama et al seem to have insured that Congress is out of the loop. Blue dogs don’t seem to matter there at all.
And, I have to say, I had real sympathy for Rahm Emanuel when he said re: Krugman "he can come in and do it" when Krugman was despairing over the stimulus bill.
Find 4 Senators, Paul. Call us when you have the votes .
@kay: And, Krugman had a realistic response. There were no numbers attached to that bailout. No clue how many banks, how deep the toxic assets, and as Krugman said, he and his one-sixth research assistant did not have the resources to go and investigate – which Obama did. Do we have numbers yet? No. We continue to have tax dollars shoveled into the firebox of the banks engines with no end and sight. And, every good reason to believe the banks are using those dollars against the very same taxpayers in the way they can game the system. Why can they game? Because there is no oversight. Krugman and Roubini have yelled about that, too.
Shawn in Showme
Meant to say increased deficit spending, not nationalization.
@kay: What kills me is how people uncritically accept Krugman view as the right way without taking into of those things.
@MaryKaye: So he is making a claim about nationalization without doing the research? Hmmm interesting.
I’m somewhat willing to excuse Time for throwing Krugman on the cover now and ignoring him while Bush was President on account of the whole Nobelist thing.
Getting your first cover after scoring a Nobel isn’t surprising; check out this awesome 1958 article on George Wells Beadle’s genetics Nobel work; work that would’ve been impossible had John McCain been President at the time (I think he was old enough to run):
Also, Willy Brandt.
Since when is "shovelling trillions of dollars to the banks from the taxpayers" actually "good"?
Wow, do you actually believe what you write? Krugman is not only a newspaper columnist, but a Nobel Prize winning economist. Krugman doesn’t scrawl some vague idiotic economic plan on a napkin at a bar and then try to pass it off as a "budget blueprint". See your GOP house minority for that kind of garbage.
What you are experiencing when you read a Krugman column is specific arguments from his well reasoned and educated views on economic policies. He may be politically unsaavy, but no sane person would dismiss him as simply "a newspaper columnist". Reason may be an unfamiliar concept to you, and might even seem scary to you at first, but I promise – it grows on you. Try it. You’ll come to appreciate it.