Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?
Clive Crook Doesn’t Understand Paul Krugman or Liberals Generally: Crook… made the quite specific claim that Krugman was using the 2009 stimulus for partisan ends….
Krugman and his admirers were at the forefront in casting discussion of the stimulus in left vs. right terms. For many Democrats, the top priority in the fiscal-policy discussion was not, in fact, to make the stimulus bigger but to reverse the Bush high-income tax cuts and to make sure that the composition of the stimulus, whatever its size, as far as possible favored higher spending over lower taxes.
Today, Crook is back… moving the goalposts. He conveniently forgets the stimulus debate, around which all his previous claims were centered, and digs up a Krugman column from December 2010, almost two years later…. What is unquestionably clear is that Crook’s earlier claim that “Krugman and his admirers were at the forefront in casting discussion of the stimulus in left vs. right terms” is completely bogus, and he clearly knows it….
Crook’s entire framework of how partisan liberals viewed the stimulus debate—and politics generally—is wrongheaded…. [L]efty economists realized [that] by far the most important thing to do from the perspective of Democratic self-interest (not to mention the American people) was to fix the freaking economy. Mass unemployment is absolute poison for elected officials (just ask Herbert Hoover), which is why Krugman was howling himself hoarse trying to get a bigger stimulus. He worried, correctly, that a Clive Crookish effort to get bipartisan support wouldn’t work, and you’d only get one bite at the apple:
This really does look like a plan that falls well short of what advocates of strong stimulus were hoping for — and it seems as if that was done in order to win Republican votes. Yet even if the plan gets the hoped-for 80 votes in the Senate, which seems doubtful, responsibility for the plan’s perceived failure, if it’s spun that way, will be placed on Democrats.
Is Krugman a outspoken ideologue who lays on the snark a bit thick sometimes? Sure. But unlike centrists, he doesn’t regard politics like a game of shuffleboard. He takes his convictions seriously, and would never consider something so boneheaded as holding up economic recovery to stick things to the rich.