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Krugman Better Have Karl's Dinner or Why Paul the Wimp Can Nuzzle My Taint

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by zeke12, Dec 24, 2007.

  1. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    This is likely only of interest to political junkies, but...


    Clearly, Krugman has a hard on for Obama. And since he doesn't do much of a job of explaining the facts about what actually happened, here they are:

    Part of John Edwards' stump speech criticizes 527 groups and the effect they've had on political discourse. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's do not. Plenty of them have popped up to support Clinton lately, too. Not to mention the baffling AFSCME trick mailer that got dropped in Iowa.

    On the stump a couple days ago, Obama had the temerity to point out that, while Edwards was on the stump decrying 527 spending, a new 527 headed by his former campaign manager dropped 75K in ad buys in Iowa for ads attacking Obama. With me so far?

    Edwards got grilled about it, as he should, and largely punted, which wasn't a big deal to me. He essentially said he couldn't stop the "independent" group from airing ads. Probably, it was bad politics for both sides -- Obama should be worrying about other things, and Edwards should probably take the line out of his stump speech while a 527 is buying ads on his behalf. Or, Edwards could have said that the system as it is represents the rules right now, and that he can still want to change the rules once he's elected.

    All of which, finally, brings us to Krugman, who picks up this issue and uses it to flog Obama, somehow.

    First, he's factually inaccurate:
    Second, is Mr. Obama saying that if nominated, he’d be willing to run without support from labor 527s, which might be crucial to the Democrats? If not, how does he avoid having his own current words used against him by the Republican nominee?

    Well, no. Obama's stump speech doesn't attack 527 groups, and, to my knowledge, he has not said he would forego them. Edwards has attacked them and said he wants to do away with them as a matter of policy, however, since 2004 (remember the Swiftboat Veterans?), so that's what the difference is. If one wants to ask that question, one probably should ask Edwards, since he's the one decrying them, and, especially, since he's the one who has accepted federal matching funds for the primary, meaning he'll need them just to survive through the conventions. Both HRC and Obama have plenty of their own money to spend through the primaries. Krugman does not mention this, which is a pretty serious omission, methinks.

    Now, finally, we get to the truly good part. Krugman's kicker. His coup de grace. His cutting indictment.

    Part of what happened here, I think, is that Mr. Obama, looking for a stick with which to beat an opponent who has lately acquired some momentum, either carelessly or cynically failed to think about how his rhetoric would affect the eventual ability of the Democratic nominee, whoever he or she is, to campaign effectively. In this sense, his latest gambit resembles his previous echoing of G.O.P. talking points on Social Security.

    Oooh, I bet Paul was just pleased with himself for that line. But I wonder if, in his training in economics, Mr. Krugman ever took a logic class, or, especially, a class on literary criticism.

    Think about what he's saying. Obama shouldn't bring up the dichotomy between Edwards rhetoric and actions because it could hurt the eventual Democratic nominee. It seems pretty clear to me that Paul Krugman is really, really afraid of Republicans. He doesn't seem to feel that a Democrat can win a national election on his or her own terms. So he spends his days as a kind of self-appointed traffic cop against any Democrat "ceding" what he considers to be sacred territory to the GOP. And because Obama has had the gall to not spend every single second of the primary pandering to the base, Krugman has judged him not worthy.

    Now, if you are convinced that Barack Obama is that naive, that he really is going to sit idly by and let himself be slandered by the GOP attack machine in the general, by all means, don't vote for him. But, of course, we come to the rub -- only one person running in the Democratic primaries right now was part of the ticket that did just that -- and his name is John Edwards. He wasn't on the top of that ticket, but, still, he was a part of it. This, of course, escapes Krugman's frame of events. Curious.

    Since my training tells me that polemics like Krugman's contain the seeds of their own refutation, it seems pretty obvious that by appointing himself arbiter of liberal orthodoxy this primary season, Mr. Krugman has undermined his own argument. To wit, what if we changed just a few words of Krugman's to see how he likes being on the other side, shall we?

    Part of what happened here, I think, is that Mr. Krugman, looking for a stick with which to beat an opponent who has lately acquired some momentum, either carelessly or cynically failed to think about how his rhetoric would affect the eventual ability of the Democratic nominee, whoever he or she is, to campaign effectively.

    If it's wrong for Obama to point out the Edwards 527s, based on the logical premise that it could be used against any of the Democratic nominees by the GOP in the general, Mr. Krugman, isn't it wrong of you to go after Senator Obama for exactly the same reason? After all, Obama could well be the nominee. Oh, the logic of hiding from the big, bad GOP attack machine is tortured, isn't it?

    Democrats will never be anything but a minority party -- in mindset if not in reality -- so long as they internalize this weak, reactive idea that everything they say must be hedged against possible attacks later on. The attacks will come, and they will have little basis in reality. The attacks will come, regardless of what any Democratic candidate says. That's what's so fucking frustrating about wimps like Krugman -- not only do they cave to the GOP frame of how elections should be run -- e.g. a Rovian, 50 percent plus one vote model -- but they natter about as if maybe, just maybe, if Democrats don't say anything at all, there will be no attacks this time around. It's the political equivalent of battered-wife syndrome, and it drives me crazy.

    Aaron Sorkin said it like this:

    I am tired of working for candidates who make me think I should be embarrassed to believe what I believe. I’m tired of getting them elected. We all need some therapy because somebody came along and said liberal means soft on crime, soft on drugs, soft on communism, soft on defense and we’re going to tax you back to the stone age because people shouldn’t have to go to work if they don’t want to. And instead of saying “well excuse me, you right wing reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-education, anti-choice, pro-gun leave it to beaver trip back to the fifties, we cowered in the corner and said, “please don’t hurt me."

    NO MORE!

    Parsing Democrats' statements for their possible use in GOP smears in the general election is the worst kind of political self-loathing, Mr. Krugman. The beatings will continue, whether you have Karl Rove's dinner on the table on time every night or not. I would think the one lesson of the last election would be that the smears will come, regardless of whether there is any truth to them or not. Wake the fuck up, please.
  2. Re: Krugman Better Have Karl's Dinner or Why Paul the Wimp Can Nuzzle My Taint..

    Personally, I think there's more than a little realism in Krugman's approach and, since he's been out there against the Fredos since before the 2000 election, I'll listen to him on this. The idea that he suddenly is not courageous because he's found some electoral disadvantage in Obama's mushy "beyond politics" approach is laughable.
    Did Obama get a gotcha? Yes. Should he nonetheless be asked to explain whether or not he thinks the SEIU and the Swifties are in any way similar? You bet he should. And Krugman's asking whether Obama would forgot527's is perfectly reasonble, given the fuss he's making about Edwards right now. That's not "factually inaccurate." That's asking a question.
    zeke, Obama can only take this "we are better than our politics" thing so far. Sooner or later he's going to have to understand that, if he's nominated, he's running against people who are not reasonable, not willing to negotate in good faith, completely uncaring of the damage their politics will do to the commonwealth, and who will not hesitate for a second to pick up the cudgels on him that he's used elsewhere. So far, in his primary campaign, he's been willing to use rhetoric -- and to adopt positions -- that are at best neoliberal and, at worst, neoconservative, especially on SS, which he says is in "crisis," which it clearly is not. When criticized on this, he falls into his "we're better than this" ju-jitsu.
  3. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Re: Krugman Better Have Karl's Dinner or Why Paul the Wimp Can Nuzzle My Taint..

    A simple question: Do you think the attacks from the GOP machine on the Democratic nominee need to be grounded in reality? Have they needed to be in the past?
  4. No.
    And the Democratic nominee needs to be aware of that and demonstrate to me that he can fight back against them, and not believe he can rise above them on the basis of the native good will of the electorate. .This,so far, Obama hasn't done.
  5. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    So, if they will come, and they will have no basis in truth, sitting around worrying about them is like cursing the snow. Be a man and grab a shovel.

    Funny, that's what I thought he was doing to Edwards. On the day 75K of third party ads got dropped -- in the middle of a last push in which Edwards is fighting for his campaign life -- Barack Obama had the Edwards camp playing defense. You keep bringing up jujitsu like you can't use it to kick someone's ass.

    And for that, Krugman ripped him. Makes no sense. Oh, the difference between being tough and wanting to appear to be tough.
  6. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Isn't Jack Krugman dead?
  7. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Re: Krugman Better Have Karl's Dinner or Why Paul the Wimp Can Nuzzle My Taint..

    Sorry, one other thing. During the same exchange Obama made with the press pointing out the Edwards dichotomy, he stopped short of forswearing 527s in the general. So yeah, Krugman is at best really poor at research, at worst lying out his ass.


    And let's you and me not pretend that "asking" in this context means actually asking. I'm sure if he really wanted the answer, he could have had the Times person on the ground get it for him. Or, you know, picked up a phone or typed an email and actually asked.
  8. I don't think those words mean what you think they do.
    Krugman is asking, rightly, if Obama would forswear 527's in the general election, where he will need them the most. In light of the fuss he's making about Edwards now, and how that fuss would be used against him in November, the question still being open is a legitimate concern.
  9. zagoshe

    zagoshe Well-Known Member

    Yeah Paul Krugman is real courageous.

    I mean, seriously, give me a break with this guy. He is a liberal one-trick pony and his 15 minutes is thankfully about to expire when he'll have to come up with something a little more substantive than "Bush sucks" to form a column and collect his paycheck each week..... The next time he pens an original thought, one that goes beyond his irrational hatred of all things Bush, will be the first time.
  10. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Obama said he would not forswear 527s in the general election. Obama hasn't been stumping by hitting 527s. Obama doesn't have his former campaign manager running a 527 and producing ads for him.

    What is the legitimate concern, again?
  11. zeke12

    zeke12 Guest

    Also, if Krugman's true motive here is divining the best Democratic nominee, as you seem to think it is, I can assume that he'll hammer Edwards on trade -- about which he disagrees with Edwards much, much more than he and Obama disagree about health care -- before the Iowa caucuses, right?

    Otherwise, you'll forgive me if the worst devils of my nature think he's carrying Hillary's water, nothing more and nothing less.
  12. The idea that Krugman is carrying water for HRC is pretty funny zeke. Step away from the vehicle a little. The guy has been right about so much since mid-campaign 2000, when he blew the whistle on Fredo's tax plan before anyone else did, that I think his bona fides are pretty solid. Edwards's position on trade differs from his only in that Edwards is less optimistic about free tradethan Krugman is. Obama's health-care position differs from Krugman's in that Obama's is not universal, and lets too many foxes into the henhouse, and Krugman differs with him on both issues. He has a couple of problems with Obama -- on health care and on whether or not Obama realizes the nature of the fight he's in. These happen to be two of the biggest problems I have with him. The messianic nature of the "calling" bothers me a little, too.
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