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Krugman rationing his rationality

vastleft's picture

No one could have anticipated...

Just two days after Krugman (again) pronounced that Obama is a conservative (if inaccurately, as a moderate one) Obama is now a "mystery man," presumably antagonistic to conservative outcomes, but squandering "his own bargaining power" by his insistence on weak tactics of "compromising [and] his continuing faith in bipartisanship."

Predictable as this was, still... wow, just wow.

FWIW, both posts have former Reaganite Bruce Bartlett as their muse, not that I expect that particularly factors into the equation.

Krugman has some propensity to walk the plank, to get oh-so-near exiting the ObamaDem fold... and a countervailing propensity to walk it back, at least enough to recoil into the posture of Obama being—not a clear and present conservative—but a disappointment or conundrum.

Perhaps, to feed the hobgoblin of consistency, Krugman would be willing to swap these realities on a more-orderly schedule. On odd-numbered days, Obama could be understood as a conservative with policy objectives inimical to liberal values and interests—and simply to the needs of the era. On even-numbered days, he'll be a spineless weakling wrapped in an enigma.

That way, readers won't continually be subjected—like Memento's Leonard Shelby or 50 First Dates'Lucy Whitmore—to amnesiatic whiplash.

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vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

To be technically more accurate, those who bear the brunt aren't so much the Leonard Shelbys or the Lucy Whitmores, but those in their midst whose heads spin while trying to keep up with the vagaries of the cyclical amnesiac. It is that role that we find ourselves in if (foolishly, apparently, in the era of "look forward not backward") we remember one day what was said and done the last.

Pardon the artistic license.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

I left a comment on that post like 2 hours ago but I guess it's still in moderation. It ends with my questioning when PK plans to remove his head from his hind parts. I hope I make the cut.

Submitted by Hugh on

My criticism of Establishment liberals like Krugman is the same as that of elite bloggers. They fail to act on their findings and adjust their views accordingly. So for Krugman it is to call Obama a conservative one day and then dredge up the old memes of weak negotiator, over eager compromiser, and bipartisanist the next. It is how Jane Hamsher can be critical of Democrats in general without actually rejecting the Democratic party or advocating for an alternative to it

After seeing them do this again and again, I realized that their failure to complete the analysis wasn't a bug but a feature. It allows the Krugmans and Hamshers to remain leaders of the left without actually having to lead. There role is not to be catalysts of change but rather to see that real change never happens. They will never say who is who and what is what, and more importantly what needs to be done. The time we spend waiting for them to lead is time wasted. They either will not act or will wait so long that any action taken is doomed to failure.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

It allows the Krugmans and Hamshers to remain leaders of the left without actually having to lead. There role is not to be catalysts of change but rather to see that real change never happens. They will never say who is who and what is what, and more importantly what needs to be done.

It's impossible to know people's motives, so you could be right. But I don't think it's quite that sinister. It's not that they are trying to see that no change happens. It's that they think of themselves as players, and players by definition are the establishment.

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

It's that they think of themselves as players, and players by definition are the establishment.

It might be something even less sinister. It might be, like the residents of that empire where the emperor went around naked, that they don't want to be that their leader is a naked moron.

There are two different motivations for that desire, I think, both of them pretty obvious - three if you count the people who are profiting from the emperor's foolishness.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

excellent point. I can definitely say I fell into that category for a fairly long time. It's kind of scary to finally admit to yourself that your government is completely broken... non functional. Because once you admit that, you have task, Now what? And there's no obvious answer.

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

Anyway, as you may have guessed based on my comment the other day, I'm not terribly surprised by this, either. Krugman's smart enough to know better if he doesn't have a reason not to see.