Political Animal


August 02, 2011 12:25 PM Quote of the Day

By Steve Benen

Rumor has it that New Gingrich is still a presidential candidate — I know, I kind of forgot about him, too — and he’s still offering unique words of wisdom.

Newt Gingrich took to FOX News Monday night to compare President Obama to, of all people, Paul Krugman, one of the White House’s fiercest critics.

“This is a Paul Krugman presidency,” Gingrich told Bill O’Reilly. “[Obama] believes that stuff. He actually believes in left-wing economic ideas. The only problem with them is that they don’t work.”

Two things. First, “left-wing economic ideas” — which would apparently include measures like job-creating public investments and aid to states — are the most effective policy options available. Newt doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Second, does Newt Gingrich ever actually read Paul Krugman? I don’t know the Nobel laureate personally, but reading his columns, blog, and Twitter feed, and watching his media appearances, I’m left with the impression that Krugman loathes President Obama. He made little effort to hide his aversion to Obama as a candidate in 2007 and 2008, and has been quite candid in the years since about his near-constant frustrations with this White House. At times, I get the sense that Krugman’s take on this presidency borders on contempt.

“This is a Paul Krugman presidency”? I suspect that would probably be startling news to Paul Krugman.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • stormskies on August 02, 2011 12:26 PM:

    Right and he was speaker of the house when clinton's left wing policies produced a budget surplus ....... this asshole is nothing more than a hissing hemorrhoid that requires a 'liberal' dose of preparation h ...

  • Paul Krugman on August 02, 2011 12:33 PM:

    Newt is right. I have Obama wrapped around my little finger and he does everything I say.

    OK, I'm not really Paul Krugman. But I would also add that I don't think it's fair to say that Krugman "loathes" Obama -- it's more that he never really trusted him to fight hard to do the right thing, and has had that distrust confirmed by events.

  • Live Free or Die on August 02, 2011 12:34 PM:

    This is hilarious I knew the right-wing make shit up constantly, but this is just another level of bullshit.

  • freelancer on August 02, 2011 12:35 PM:

    He made little effort to hide his aversion to Obama as a candidate in 2007 and 2008, and has been quite candidate in the years since about his near-constant frustrations with this White House.

    Steve, I think you meant to just write "candid" in the second use of "candidate" in that sentence, FYI.

  • Extreme Moderate on August 02, 2011 12:35 PM:

    Daily Kos has my vote for Quote of the Day : "In the future, Neil, no president—in the near future, maybe in the distant future—is going to be able to get the debt ceiling increased without a re-ignition of the same discussion of how do we cut spending and get America headed in the right direction. I expect the next president, whoever that is, is going to be asking us to raise the debt ceiling again in 2013, so we’ll be doing it all over." Senate Republican Minority Leader, Mitch McConnell as quoted in an interview. This is what you get for negotiating with a gun to your head. Now we get to go through this again in 18 months.

  • Danp on August 02, 2011 12:36 PM:

    I suspect that would probably be startling news to Paul Krugman.

    Not to mention Hillary.

  • Gummitch on August 02, 2011 12:38 PM:

    Pssst. First reference to Gingrich is missing a letter. This is the "new" Gingrich?

  • Morat20 on August 02, 2011 12:38 PM:

    Loathes isn't accurate, as far as I can tell.

    Krugman is unhappy with Obama, he sees Obama repeating the economic mistakes and stupidities of the Bush Administration, he thinks Obama is basically failing at some of the key elements of his job...

    But that's different than loathes. I don't even think Krugman loathed Bush.

    Honest to God, I think Krugman can best be described as incredulous and frankly angry that the last 12 year or so have seen what, in his field of expertise, has been rank incompetence, malice, and outright stupidity that has not even been called out.

    Imagine a mathematician watching two Presidents in a row base their policy on the fact that the transitive propety never works, and that 2+2 = 5.

    And watching the media uncritically report this, even though they have to know better.

  • foghorn on August 02, 2011 12:39 PM:

    Newt does know what he is talking about. It's just that his words are meant for consumption by the Gomers and have nothing to do with what he thinks.
    Newt must kep his con going. Bills to pay and all.
    As to Krugman; I believe he is becoming a lightning rod for the right as his star is rising. Look for big time vitriol hurled his way.

    captcha: species untlas... Newt as untlas. Make of it what you will.

  • August on August 02, 2011 12:40 PM:

    Kruggles says Obama loves Reagan, Gingrich says Obama loves Kruggles. Therefore Kruggles loves Reagan?

    Anyway, brilliant economist who has an incredibly limited ability to understand real-world politics (see yesterday's NYT for Krugman's explanation of how his magic muppet beard would have gotten a liberal debt ceiling through congress) and spends his time muttering about how Obama loves Reagan ("I was going to be in Hillary's cabinet damnit and that guy dared say Reagan was popular!") is decidedly not a part of Obama's reality-based political calculations.

  • August on August 02, 2011 12:43 PM:

    Anyone insisting Kruggles the Magic Liberal *doesn't* loath Obama needs to explain why he's still obsessively pushing the Hillary 08 campaign's claim that Obama saying Reagan was popular means Obama loves Reagan's policies.

    Seriously, if you can't explain why the man spends one column a month rehashing spin from a campaign from 3 years ago, you are missing the point: Krugman is a PUMA.

    Further, if you look at Krugman's political AND economic predictions (he, the expert in local impacts of int'l trade claimed Detroit was a lost cause), you'll find he's a lot of hot beard-hair.

  • Burr Deming on August 02, 2011 12:51 PM:

    Newt has become my favorite declared candidate, possibly because he has been rendered harmless. He is a source of endless amusement.

  • David on August 02, 2011 12:51 PM:

    August is right and thanks to Steve for bringing this up.

    Krugman has become unreadable when it comes to Obama. It all goes back to what I suspect Krugman thinks was the "big con job" Obama pulled on progressives during the 2008 campaign.

    Brilliant economist (though I still prefer JK Galbraith), but a political neophyte.

  • SteveT on August 02, 2011 12:51 PM:

    Morat20 said:
    Honest to God, I think Krugman can best be described as incredulous and frankly angry that the last 12 year or so have seen what, in his field of expertise, has been rank incompetence, malice, and outright stupidity that has not even been called out.

    I watched Krugman on ABCs "This Week" on a panel with George Will and Grover Norquist. It looked like it was all he could do to keep from shouting, "THESE MORONS HAVE BEEN WRONG ON EVERY ECONOMIC ISSUE SINCE THE 1980s. WHY DO YOU IDIOTS EVEN LISTEN TO THEM?"

    But then he probably wouldn't be invited back, even though he was one of the first people to warn about a housing bubble way back in 2002:
    Teevee news readers hate people (progressives, anyway) who go against Inside-the-Beltway Conventional Wisdom.

    I would love to see someone make a side-by-side comparison of predictions by Gingrich and Krugman.

  • Rick B on August 02, 2011 12:52 PM:

    This is another example of the fact that being an American conservative is a mental illness. It has two clear symptoms. First to Newt and to conservatives generally if you are not with them 100% slavishly you are their enemy. Second conservatives all know in their gut that every one of their many, many enemies are in a tightly unified conspiracy to destroy the entire conservative movement and its organizations.

    Is there any doubt that Gingrich is mentally ill? But so are the suckers he takes money from.

  • c u n d gulag on August 02, 2011 12:54 PM:

    Somebody hurry up and call EMS to Krugmans office!!!

    He may die of laughter if we don't send help.

  • SteveT on August 02, 2011 12:55 PM:

    David said:
    Krugman has become unreadable when it comes to Obama.

    I'd also love to see a side-by-side comparison of predictions made by Krugman and by Timothy Geithner.

  • c u n d gulag on August 02, 2011 12:56 PM:

    We could have done a LOT worse, btw, than to have had Krugman as the main economic adviser to Obama.

  • MattF on August 02, 2011 12:59 PM:

    foghorn above has it right. 'Krugman' is a safe bogeyman for Newt. It's red meat for the wingers and that's all.

  • Anonymous on August 02, 2011 1:00 PM:

    PAUL KRUGMAN, apparently along with the financial markets, are probably now anticipaing that we're on coarse for, or are approaching, the 2nd trough of a double-dip recession.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on August 02, 2011 1:00 PM:

    If I ever have to hear how smart Gingrich is again, I'll puke. This is just one more episode of a Republican tearing down someone they fear - because they know the hated person is correct - so that their useful idiots won't listen to the hated person. (Just try to get a wingnut to read a CBPP study. They simply won't consider it. Just like with climate science. They just dismiss it out of hand.)

    As for Krugman's view on Obama, here's a few statements from Krugman on Obama in his blog:

    - 8/1/11: "It’s much, much too late for Obama and co. to say “Trust us, we know what we’re doing.” My reservoir of trust is now completely drained. And I know I’m not alone."

    - 8/1/11: "Barack Obama, Comedian
    Fact Sheet: Bipartisan Debt Deal: A Win for the Economy and Budget Discipline" (The title of a web page at the White House web site lauding the odious debt ceiling legislation.)

    - 7/31/11: "Am I the only one to notice that Obama no longer even talks about revenue increases? Instead he says “tax reform”, which could mean lower rates and no revenue. Complete intellectual surrender."

    - 7/31/11: "My Get-Rich Scheme:
    Please, just let me play poker with President Obama. I’ll make millions in no time at all."

  • Shroup on August 02, 2011 1:01 PM:

    I wish it were a Krugman presidency.

  • Joe Friday on August 02, 2011 1:09 PM:

    Clearly Newt has overdosed on the Purple Kool-Aid.

  • mellowjohn on August 02, 2011 1:13 PM:

    "We could have done a LOT worse, btw, than to have had Krugman as the main economic adviser to Obama."

    we did.

  • slappy magoo on August 02, 2011 1:14 PM:

    If Obama's Presidency were a Paul Krugman presidency, wouldn't Obama be listening to Krugman, taking his advice and making the country better?

    Newt's linking Krugman to Obama the same way every Dem running for the House got linked with Nancy Pelosi, once Republicans are told who's running with who, they're supposed to know never to take them seriously again.

  • Live Free or Die on August 02, 2011 1:14 PM:

    Obama: Washington should get things done. Washington caused the debt crisis Both sided are responsible for the FAA shutdown.

    Who is Washington?

  • Texas Aggie on August 02, 2011 1:16 PM:

    Regardless of Krugman's personal feelings toward Obama, I get from his columns that he is very frustrated with Obama's lack of knowledge and appreciation about how the national economy functions and how to deal with it. Dr. Krugman is focussed on the economy of the nation and the people who are suffering because it has malfunctioned. Obama is focussed on the politics and for him, the economy and the suffering of people is secondary.

  • Redshift on August 02, 2011 1:16 PM:

    Extreme Moderate:
    This is what you get for negotiating with a gun to your head. Now we get to go through this again in 18 months.

    By all means, please outline your alternate scenario where refusing to negotiate results in this not happening. I have plenty of complaints with how this was handled, but I remain mystified by those who think that there is something we could do that would make Republicans not act like Republicans.

    Refusing to negotiate "with a gun to your head" only works if the person with the gun doesn't really want to shoot you, and is only using it as leverage. When you're dealing with someone who really would like an excuse to shoot you, it's not so effective.

  • Anonymous on August 02, 2011 1:18 PM:

    Redshift, so you are saying that every time the GOP pulls this shit that dem should cave?

  • John B. on August 02, 2011 1:20 PM:

    What morat20 says x 2.

    It is incredibly unfair for someone who confessedly does not know Paul Krugman (and who oddly enough rarely mentions his writings here) to engage in a wild speculation -- a personal pejorative, actually -- claiming Kurgman "loathes" Obama. You do not know this. It is not true. You cannot support such a statement with anything Paul Krugman has written or said.

    My own view is that Paul Krugman voted for Obama, he fervently wishes him success in reversing eight years of idiocy in the White House, but he has become extremely frustrated over what he sees as Obama's near-complete captivity by David Plouffe and other political advisers who seem to regard upside-down, right wing economic policies as the key to the hearts of so-called "independent" (a.k.a. low-information) voters. If Krugman really "loathed" Obama he would be happily cheering him along on his path to becoming the Herbert Hoover of the 21st century.

    I often turn to "Political Animal" when I want a shot of conventional White House thinking served straight up, no chaser. If, as I deduce from what SB wrote here, WH sources are whispering around town that Krugman "loathes" Obama, it says more about how desperate they've become as their reelection "strategy" continues to unravel into a complete disaster.

    I take no joy in that. I'm an old guy who hopes to live long enough to see eight years of Bush wiped away by a progressive Democratic president. Like Krugman, I do not "loathe" Obama. But I am devastated that his consistently weak, wrong-headed policies look increasingly likely to make him a one term president.

  • Redshift on August 02, 2011 1:20 PM:

    The thing I find hilarious about this quote (other than how obvious it is that Newt knows he's lying) is that he's been in the pundit bubble so long, he no longer realizes that he's talking in code that no one outside it even understands, much less cares about. Anyone who actually knows who Krugman is knows that this line is patently false, and for anyone who doesn't, it doesn't add anything to the "left-wing economics" smear.

    Just like his failed phony presidential campaign, it shows that he's lost his touch.

  • apm on August 02, 2011 1:22 PM:

    Both Krugman and Gingrich desperately want Obama not to be president. Krugman is just more effective and disciplined in his messaging.

  • TCinLA on August 02, 2011 1:22 PM:

    Only at Fox News, where the staff and the audience do not have a combined single-digit positive number IQ, would Newt Gingrich be considered a member of the human race, let alone "intelligent." He pulls whatever he wants to say out of his ass, and the droolers believe him.

  • Ken in Tenn on August 02, 2011 1:25 PM:

    Redshift, terrorism is the use of violence or threats to coerce or intimidate people, especially for poilitical purposes. That's exactly what the Republicans did when the took the debt ceiling hostage.

    Obama's problem was that the moment he agreed to negotiate with them, he was negotiating the terms of surrender. You cannot win a hostage crisis, you just have to resolve it.

    Imagine how this would have played out if Obama had made it plain that he would not negotiate with those who seek ransom or make threats against the American people or its national interests, no matter what they want or what they threaten to shoot to get it. Imagine him making this speech:

    "OK, Republicans, you want to cut spending, you want to bring down the deficit, so do I. Luckily there is a process under the Constitution for doing that. You will have to bring your bills forward, subject them to the committee system and eventually bring them to a vote. To get them through both houses of the Congress, you are probably going to have to compromise. If some among you think that's a dirty word, then maybe you don't understand our system of government very well and you probably won't get anything you want. That will be your choice. As for me, I will work with you and negotiate all day and all night to find a plan that will pass Congress. But if you want to bypass Congress and our constitution and threaten our financial system or our economy, I will not give an inch. And I will make absolutely certain the American people know who is responsible."

    I have read my Constitution over and over again. Nowhere does it say that if you cannot get your legislation through both houses of Congress under the procedures set forth in Article 1, that you have an alternate procedure of using blackmail to achieve your goals. And the problem with allowing blackmail is that if it works once, the blackmailers know it will work again. It is a dangerous precedent we are setting when we accede to extortion to make American policy.

  • Kevin on August 02, 2011 1:25 PM:

    Krugman hates Obama precisely because Obama ignores all the things that Krugman has been saying. Can you blame Krug? I would be pissed to (I am actually) if everything from Macroeconomics 101 was thrown out the window and replaced with the "confidence fairy" and supply side economics.

    Newt obviously just read the dust jacket of Conscious of A Liberal and thinks he can now lump all Democrats into "The Krugman Camp." I know liberals, and Mr Obama is no liberal.

  • Chris on August 02, 2011 1:27 PM:

    Gingrich invented the science of demonization. If you just say a person's name with enough contempt and disgust in your voice, then you can discourage folks from considering that person's views or referencing that person as a resource.

    Joe Scarborough, Gingrich acolyte, does the same all the time: "Krugman's been writing the exact same editorial, week after week, for years."

    For many, it works. That's why they do it.

  • Redshift on August 02, 2011 1:32 PM:

    Way to duck the question, Anonymous. I didn't say we should give in to whatever they want, I said we shouldn't refuse to negotiate.

    Again, tell me a scenario that would have prevented future Republican hostage-taking, and then you can cite McConnell's chest-beating as evidence of some kind of failure (especially since McConnell's mostly posturing for the TPers, since he was the one who proposed giving up the debt ceiling to the president.) Yes, they should learn better negotiating tactics, but no, nothing is going to stop Republicans from pulling this kind of crap except getting people voted out of office who would destroy the country rather than give an inch.

  • Richter on August 02, 2011 1:35 PM:

    It is obvious why Gingrich referred to this administration as a "Paul Krugman presidency." Krugman is Jewish, and the anti-Semitic myth of behind-the-scenes Jews controlling world leaders is still potent stuff for the kind of people Gingrich is trying to reach.

  • ckelly on August 02, 2011 1:45 PM:

    By all means, please outline your alternate scenario where refusing to negotiate results in this not happening.

    1. Obama could have addressed the debt ceiling when he had a lame-duck Dem Congress.

    2. Obama could have invoked the 14th Amendment (or at least threatened to) to raise debt ceiling without Congress.

  • double j on August 02, 2011 2:18 PM:


    Isn't that that dweeby looking little shit who was exposed as a liar and a fraud back in the 90's?

    Why are we talking about him again?

  • Sasha on August 02, 2011 2:30 PM:

    You keep saying, "This is a Paul Krugman presidency." I don't think it means what you think it means.

  • PTate in MN on August 02, 2011 2:34 PM:

    Paul Krugman is my hero. I've been reading him since ~2003 when he was demonized by the right because he was the only pundit criticizing GWB--correctly, as time proved. I don't know how I would have gotten through the Bush years without him.

    He has been more consistently right in his predictions than anyone else with a public forum, including the POTUS and his economic team. Krugman's models explain what is happening to our economy, his predictions are supported by the evidence, and his fact-based recommendations make sense. And yet the ignorant & shallow, people with terrible track records (the Very Serious People) and the political ideologues (like Gingrich) feel emboldened to criticize his expertise as left-wing extremism because it doesn't flatter their conservative/centrist worldview. Over the past decade, Krugman has been consistently right, his claims supported by the evidence, and they have been consistently wrong, going on nothing but faith, ideology and certitude. They don't even know enough to know how wrong they have been. It is like they formed a Dunces club, and Krugman didn't want to join.

    As for a categorical statement that Krugman loathes Obama, Bah! That's just plain unfair. Why make it personal? If Krugman loathes Obama then I and just about every other person who comments on WM loathe Obama. Being disappointed in Obama isn't loathing. It is being disappointed. Loathing is what I feel for Newt Gingrich.

  • bdop4 on August 02, 2011 2:44 PM:

    Those projecting animus on the part of Krugman are doing some projection of their own.

    I think Krugman sees Obama as an intelligent person who should be able to understand the economic dynamics at work, but has come under the influence of the failed Chicago school of economic theory and isn't politically courageous enough to do what is right.

    Krugman may think Obama is completely wrong on economic issues, but hate? C'mon.

  • MR Bill on August 02, 2011 2:49 PM:

    Oh, more wisdom from the man who said

    If combat means living in a ditch, females have biological
    problems staying in a ditch for thirty days because they
    get infections and they don't have upper body strength. I
    mean, some do, but they're relatively rare. On the other hand,
    men are basically little piglets, you drop them in the ditch,
    they roll around in it, doesn't matter, you know. These things
    are very real. On the other hand, if combat means being on an
    Aegis-class cruiser managing the computer controls for twelve
    ships and their rockets, a female may be again dramatically
    better than a male who gets very, very frustrated sitting in
    a chair all the time because males are biologically driven to
    go out and hunt giraffes."

    It's a simple syllogism that the Right does: A is a (liberal); B is a (liberal), therefore A is B.
    "Obama is a liberal; Krugman is a liberal, therefore Obama is (or =) Krugman."

    You have noticed that Newt's opining doesn't actually reference the actions of Obama, or the prescriptions of the Shrill Doctor. Obama is used purely as a symbol, and scarecrow. His actions matter not one whit.

  • Neurologically Disordered on August 02, 2011 3:10 PM:

    Economist Paul Krugman wrote in May 2011: “What happened to the budget surplus the federal government had in 2000? The answer is, three main things. First, there were the Bush tax cuts, which added roughly $2 trillion to the national debt over the last decade. Second, there were the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which added an additional $1.1 trillion or so. And third was the Great Recession, which led both to a collapse in revenue and to a sharp rise in spending on unemployment insurance and other safety-net programs. Source, The Big Picture

  • st john on August 02, 2011 3:16 PM:

    L.I.E=Lacking In Evidence
    Whenever anyone makes a statement that cannot be backed up with authentic evidence, it is a LIE. Metaphysically, the evidence does not have to be scientifically verifiable, but it has to resonate within. As we attune to our energetics, we can "feel" authenticity. Science is an art, just as religion and spirituality are arts. Learn to listen to your heart for truth, and use your mind as a servant of truth.

  • ckelly on August 02, 2011 3:27 PM:

    "Obama is a liberal; Krugman is a liberal, therefore Obama is (or =) Krugman."

    Obama is no liberal.

  • Tea Bagger on August 02, 2011 4:23 PM:

    Obama is no liberal.

    You're right. He's a Socialist Marxist Kenyan.

  • MR Bill on August 02, 2011 4:27 PM:

    Obama is no liberal.

    No, of course not. He governs like moderate Republican, mostly. I mean, look at the policy on medical marijuana. Or warrentless wiretap. Or the Wars.

    But for Newt, Obama cannot be anything but a Liberal.
    He symbolizes the Left for the Right. Newt's epistemic blindness will not allow him to see the actual guy in the Oval office. Or, at least acknowledge him, or the whole paranoid fever dream (and fund raising point) will collapse.

  • JS on August 02, 2011 4:45 PM:

    For the record, someone ought to point out that saying "reading his columns, blog, and Twitter feed, and watching his media appearances, I’m left with the impression that Krugman loathes President Obama." is not the same as Benen making a direct accusation.

    A bit in the "depends on what the meaning of the word 'is', is" realm, sure. But Benen didn't actually say Krugman loathes Obama.

  • Squeaky McCrinkle on August 02, 2011 7:23 PM:

    Glenn Greenwald (who may really loathe Obama) has posted a Matt Tabibi piece that I think gets to the heart of this:

    The Democrats, despite sitting in the White House, the most awesome repository of political power on the planet, didn't fight at all. . . . We probably need to start wondering why this keeps happening. Also, this: if the Democrats suck so bad at political combat, then how come they continue to be rewarded with such massive quantities of campaign contributions? When the final tally comes in for the 2012 presidential race, who among us wouldn't bet that Barack Obama is going to beat his Republican opponent in the fundraising column very handily? At the very least, he won't be out-funded, I can almost guarantee that.

    And what does that mean? Who spends hundreds of millions of dollars for what looks, on the outside, like rank incompetence?

    It strains the imagination to think that the country's smartest businessmen keep paying top dollar for such lousy performance. Is it possible that by "surrendering" at the 11th hour and signing off on a deal that presages deep cuts in spending for the middle class, but avoids tax increases for the rich, Obama is doing exactly what was expected of him?

    Makes sense to me, and perhaps to Paul Krugman too.

  • Crissa on August 02, 2011 7:58 PM:

    1. Obama could have addressed the debt ceiling when he had a lame-duck Dem Congress.
    Republicans ran out the clock. No more bills could've been considered. You're proposing an 'if' which would've required the Republicans to have not pushed hundreds of votes off the end of the table as they did.

    2. Obama could have invoked the 14th Amendment (or at least threatened to) to raise debt ceiling without Congress.
    That's also negotiating. And a different position. Which isn't supported by a majority of Democrats, why should the President take it? (Although I believe he should've taken this position, we would still be in the same spot.)

  • Doug on August 02, 2011 9:57 PM:

    Prof. Krugman is not a poltician, he is an economist. President Obama is NOT an econoist, he is a politician.
    Both can encounter exactly the same problem yet conclude how to approach it in completely different ways. Prof. Krugman's expertise is economics and HIS approach would likely focus almost entirely on the ECONOMIC aspect of the problem and let the political aspects slide. President Obama, on the other hand, would most likely approach any solution via POLITICAL means, which may or may not be the most effective economic means.
    Let's face it, based on economics FDR SHOULD have spent two or three times as much on "relief" programs as he actually did. However, based the political realities, there were times when he was lucky to get the amounts he did.
    Was that simple enough?

  • majun on August 02, 2011 10:28 PM:

    Somebody should tell Newt that the "Krugman" Presidency was when Reagan hired the guy to raise taxes and help alleviate some of the crushing deficits that his original tax cut triggered.

  • yellowdog on August 03, 2011 5:11 AM:

    1. Obama could have addressed the debt ceiling when he had a lame-duck Dem Congress.

    2. Obama could have invoked the 14th Amendment (or at least threatened to) to raise debt ceiling without Congress.

    1. What was Obama doing during the lame-duck Congress? Passing a nuclear treaty with Russia, extending unemployment benefits, and rescinding don't-ask-don't-tell--all over GOP obstruction. It was a full plate. I looked back at Krugman's columns from the period. While he did write one about the debt ceiling, he did not include a recommendation to take up the matter in the lame-duck session. If he had, he would have also had to make the argument to take one of those other issues off the agenda. (Senate rules make delay the easiest thing to accomplish.)
    2. If Obama had gone the 14th Amendment route, the matter would have inevitably ended up in the Supreme Court - which would be only too happy to make a 5-4 political ruling in the vein of Bush v. Gore, no matter what precedents exist from the time of Chief Justice Hughes. Economy would have had a cloud over it until Roberts and company ruled. What options would Obama be left with after the Court acted?

    Best thing about Krugman is that he is a good economist. Worst thing about Krugman is that he is a good economist. What's the old joke: How does a stranded economist get off a desert island? Assume a rescue.
    Krugman vents rage a lot, but does that really help us understand the politics that generates the bad outcomes?

  • mim on August 03, 2011 7:17 AM:

    Paul Krugman has arrived; he is now in the august company of Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Nancy Pelosi and George Soros.

    But just this once, I wish Gingrich were right

  • hooher tod on September 06, 2011 4:56 AM:

    Yes there should realize the reader to RSS my feed to RSS commentary, quite simply