Friday, November 2, 2012

Paul Krugman closes his own private enthusiasm gap | xpostfactoid - Andrew Sprung

Paul Krugman's credibility on the left is high.  He alone had predicted - with astonishing accuracy - the consequences of a stimulus he identified as too small.    He certainly influenced me - and contributed to my own moments of discouragement, as Krugman called Obama to the ISP (Incredible Shrinking President).  The low point was the debt ceiling crisis when for absolutely no good reason the Tea Party brought the country to the brink of an act of unprecedented stupidity and irresponsibility.
At the same time I always felt that Krugman's weakness was his political naivete.  Obama's negotiating position was much more difficult and much more complex than Krugman recognized.  And the deal he struck much better than Krugman thought.   Andrew Sprung reviews the evolution of Krugman's thinking  - showing how his assessment of the President has evolved. - GWC
Paul Krugman closes his own private enthusiasm gap | xpostfactoid: by Andrew Sprung

No one on the more or less mainstream left has been harder on Obama than Paul Krugman, who began tearing out his hair at the proposed size of the stimulus before Obama took office and did not let up for almost three years thereafter. The nadir came as details of the debt ceiling deal emerged last summer: Krugman's July 31, 2011 column was originally titled "Capitulation" and lives on online as The President Surrenders.  His bitterness reached this crescendo:

In fact, Republicans will surely be emboldened by the way Mr. Obama keeps folding in the face of their threats. He surrendered last December, extending all the Bush tax cuts; he surrendered in the spring when they threatened to shut down the government; and he has now surrendered on a grand scale to raw extortion over the debt ceiling. Maybe it’s just me, but I see a pattern here.
Yes, the debt ceiling deal was disillusioning, and droves of Democrats followed Krugman into the slough of despond.  Nine days later, the disgust peaked with Drew Westen's What Happened to Obama, a 3000-word screed on the front page of the New York Times Sunday Review that portrayed Obama as a craven conflict-averse surrender monkey while belittling his legislative accomplishments.  As I pointed out at the time, this rhetorical nuke dropped on ground zero in the liberal heartland relied almost entirely on Krugman's critique of the stimulus for its substantive attack on Obama's record. Yet Krugman has had a change of heart over the past year. His esteem for the president has grown more swiftly than the economy -- to the point where, if Obama's base followed Krugman's lead, there would be no enthusiasm gap. Perhaps it's an accelerating case of 'you don't know what you've got till it's [almost] gone. But I think the change also stems from Obama's swift pivot to confrontation in the wake of the debt ceiling debacle. Krugman concluded his "Capitulation" column with a set of prophecies that proved to be a rare instance of failure in his capacity as Cassandra:.....
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