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Thread: More Criticism of Obama from Krugman

  1. #1

    More Criticism of Obama from Krugman

    Nu is not going to like this:

    In An Interview With TPM, Krugman Ramps Up Case Against Obama
    By Greg Sargent - December 19, 2007, 3:52PM
    One of the more intriguing subplots of Campaign 2008 has been the ongoing battle between the Obama campaign and liberal NYT columnist Paul Krugman. In an interview with TPM Election Central, Krugman reiterated his critique of Obama, which centers largely but not exclusively on health care policy, and added a whole lot more.

    Here's a quick sample of Krugman quotes from the interview:

    On health care Obama is behaving as kind of, "Let's make a deal." The idea that he would be talking even in the primary campaign about the big table is suggesting that he is not all that committed to taking on special interests.
    On the big problems there's a fundamental, deep-seated difference between the parties. I've always just felt that his tone was one suggesting that his inclination is to believe that we can somehow resolve these things through a kind of outbreak of good feeling...

    Among the Dems he seems to be the least attuned to what progressives think.


    A full transcript of an edited version of our conversation is after the jump.

    ELECTION CENTRAL: A lot of liberal activists view Barack Obama as a liberal standard bearer. As the closest thing to an establishment voice that these activists have, were you surprised to find yourself battling Obama?

    PAUL KRUGMAN: What started it on my end was Obama's health care plan. It was weaker than the Edwards plan. It drives me crazy when people try to assess candidates on the basis of how they look and sound, and there was all this enthusiasm for Obama as a multicultural symbol, but I was waiting to see some policy proposals.

    EC: But your latest column criticizes Obama as the "anti-change candidate" across the board -- it isn't just focused on health care. Why did his health care plan end up triggering your larger critique of him?

    PK: Health care is make or break for whether we're going to have a real liberal turn in policy or not. Health care is the gaping hole in the welfare state. We all agree that the system is deeply flawed. And health care has political spillover. If Democrats get major health care reform, then it kind of re-legitimizes the idea of activist government policies. Even conservatives say that.

    Yet on health care Obama is behaving as kind of, "Let's make a deal." The idea that he would be talking even in the primary campaign about the big table is suggesting that he is not all that committed to taking on special interests.

    On the big problems there's a fundamental, deep-seated difference between the parties. I've always just felt that his tone was one suggesting that his inclination is to believe that we can somehow resolve these thing through a kind of outbreak of good feeling.

    EC: But should his conciliatory tone really be the basis to this extent of our evaluation of him? Some, including Matthew Yglesias, have argued that this focus on Obama's conciliatory rhetoric obscures the fact that Obama would still more likely prove a genuinely progressive president than Hillary would be.

    PK: What evidence is there that she would be especially bad for the progressive movement? For what it's worth, Hillary's actual policy proposals are more aggressive than Obama's.

    EC: What about on foreign policy? You could argue that Hillary is less willing to challenge old rhetorical frames on foreign policy, and that with her rhetoric and stuff like her Kyl-Lieberman vote, she's ceding turf at the outset on foreign policy the same way Obama is on health care.

    PK: I guess I've been going on the view that no Democrat is not going to end this war, and no Democrat is going to start another war. I have not felt that foreign policy is the defining issue in the race to the nomination. Whether we're going to get universal health care is much more of a question.

    EC: What other things gave rise to your current critique of Obama?

    PK: When Obama used the word "crisis" about Social Security it gave me a little bit of a sense of, "Hmmm -- I'm a little worried that my initial concerns were more right than I knew."

    To have Obama sort of sounding like the Washington Post editorial page really said among other things that he just hasn't been listening to progressives, for whom the fight against Bush's Social Security scare tactics was really a defining moment. Among the Dems he seems to be the least attuned to what progressives think.

    It's a tone thing. I find it a little bit worrisome if we have a candidate who basically starts compromising before the struggle has even begun.

    EC: But surely there's something to the argument that the skills to build coalitions, to win over moderates on the other side, aren't without any importance. Should we really take tone and rhetorical skills out of the equation entirely?

    PK: No, but there aren't any moderates on the other side. And as far as sounding moderate goes, the reality is that if the Democrats nominated Joe Lieberman, a month into the general election Republicans would be portraying him as Josef Stalin. Obama's actually been positioning himself to the right of both Clinton and Edwards on domestic policy and has been attacking them from the right.

    The Democratic nominee is still going to be running on a platform that is substantially to the left of how Bill Clinton governed, and the Republican is going to nominate someone to the right of Attila the Hun. You want the Dem who's going to make that difference clear and not say things that will be used by Republicans to say, "Well, even their candidate says..."

    And after the election, if you come in after having opposed mandates and having said Social Security is in a crisis, then you're going to have some problems fending off Republican attacks on health care and The Washington Post's demands that you make Social Security a top priority. Mostly it's a question of what happens after the election.

  2. #2
    "I find it a little bit worrisome if we have a candidate who basically starts compromising before the struggle has even begun."

    That and the lack of substance are the things that sum up my problem with Obama.

  3. #3
    [QUOTE]The Democratic nominee is still going to be running on a platform that is substantially to the left of how Bill Clinton governed, and the Republican is going to nominate someone to the right of Attila the Hun.[/QUOTE]

    I love good objective journalism.

    By the way, is he implying that the Republican Nominee will be choisen by one person, "the Republican is going to nominate"? Or is he using "the Republican" as a slur perhaps?

  4. #4
    I get it: Paul Krugman does not like Barack Obama because, in his opinion, Obama is not bitter and partisan enough.

    To many folks --including most Americans-- not being a bitter partisan is actually a plus.

    As for your lack of substance charges, I think Obama's bio and resume contain more substance than John Edwards' does. The guy was editor of Harvard Law Review; he's hardly a lightweight. While Edwards was getting rich chasing ambulances around or whatever, Obama was passing up lucrative jobs to get his hands dirty organizing poor communities.

    Does judgment count as substance? Obama said in 2002 that an invasion of Iraq would be a disaster that would waste American lives to start a sectarian civil war. (I can provide a video link if you haven't seen it.) Edwards said, "let's do it."

    A "substantial" mistake, I'd say.

  5. #5
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    [QUOTE=Warfish;2277454]I love good objective journalism.

    By the way, is he implying that the Republican Nominee will be choisen by one person, "the Republican is going to nominate"? Or is he using "the Republican" as a slur perhaps?[/QUOTE]



    why are you calling me ignorant? why are you calling me anti-freedom?

  6. #6
    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2277478]I get it: Paul Krugman does not like Barack Obama because, in his opinion, Obama is not bitter and partisan enough.

    To many folks --including most Americans-- not being a bitter partisan is actually a plus.

    As for your lack of substance charges, I think Obama's bio and resume contain more substance than John Edwards' does. The guy was editor of Harvard Law Review; he's hardly a lightweight. While Edwards was getting rich chasing ambulances around or whatever, Obama was passing up lucrative jobs to get his hands dirty organizing poor communities.

    Does judgment count as substance? Obama said in 2002 that an invasion of Iraq would be a disaster that would waste American lives to start a sectarian civil war. (I can provide a video link if you haven't seen it.) Edwards said, "let's do it."

    A "substantial" mistake, I'd say.[/QUOTE]

    My concerns about his lack of substance concerns the lack of detail in his proposals.

    As for their backgrounds, I have no doubt Edwards is more impressive.

  7. #7
    [QUOTE=Big Blocker;2277855]My concerns about his lack of substance concerns the lack of detail in his proposals.

    As for their backgrounds, I have no doubt Edwards is more impressive.[/QUOTE]

    Well, if you say so...

    We'll just have to agree to disagree.

    I have nothing against Edwards, btw. I just prefer Obama. I'd gladly take him over Clinton.

  8. #8
    [QUOTE=nuu faaola;2277915]Well, if you say so...

    We'll just have to agree to disagree.

    I have nothing against Edwards, btw. I just prefer Obama. I'd gladly take him over Clinton.[/QUOTE]

    Well if it can walk and talk and of course breathe it is better then Clinton!

  9. #9
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    If Paul Krugman doesn't like a candidate, that makes me view that candidate in a more positive light. It would be impossible for me to hold Krugman in lower regard. He's a lying hack who was once a legit economist, who now turned into a complete, fraudulent hack. Check out the Krugman Truth Squad for details. They have his number pretty good. How anyone can respect Krugman, I'll never know.

    Edwards is a used-car salesman.

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