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Krugman's long national agony is over

Krugman before Boehner's "Plan B" collapsed*:

The question about this looming deal is whether the end justifies the means. Unfortunately, it’s not nearly as clear a case as the health care deal, and I’m agonizing, big time; as of last night I was marginally positive, right now marginally negative.

Krugman after:

Furthermore, it’s now clear that [Boehner]'s having trouble getting his party unified even for a tiny tax rise on the wealthy — which means that he would suffer massive defections in any deal that even a wimpy Obama (if that’s what we have again, which I hope we don’t)** might agree to. And that in turn means that any deal would have to have overwhelming Democratic support — which gives progressives in the House, who already feel that Obama has given away too much, a lot of veto power despite their minority status.

And what is Obama doing?

Still "negotiating"! Even though there is now nobody to negotiate with! Newark Star Ledger:

"It is very hard for them to say yes to me," [Obama] said, referring to the staunch opposition of the party's right wing to tax increases -- an intransigence vividly illustrated by Boehner's failed attempt to pass the millionaires tax Thursday.

"At some point, they've got to take me out of it and think about their voters, and think about what's best for the country," he continued. "And if they do that -- if they're not worried about who's winning and who's losing, did they score a point on the President, did they extract that last little concession, did they force him to do something he really doesn't want to do just for the heck of it, and they focus on actually what's good for the country."

In other words, there's really no "negotiation" going on, as far as wer'e concerned. Obama wants the scalps of some dead elders, and he will have them. As Pete Peterson's Fecal Times points out:

But whatever the reason, the result is that the nation no longer has a party of the left, but one of the center-right that is akin to what were liberal Republicans in the past – there is no longer any such thing as a liberal Republican – and a party of the far right.

In a little-noticed comment on Spanish-language television on December 14, Obama himself confirmed this typology of today's political spectrum. Said Obama, "The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican."

I think this is correct and explains a great deal about why Obama refuses to use his leverage to pursue liberal policies and keeps inviting Republicans back to the negotiating table again and again on the budget. He wants a deal, he wants to cut spending and balance the budget if possible. This may or may not be a wise course for a Democratic president to follow, but that is who Obama is.

Well, that comment was "noticed," a lot,  in some circles; otherwise, yes. There is no left, and especially there is no left in the Democratic Party. Even if by some miracle of distraction -- where, oh where, is Obama's Monica? -- no cuts pass, the subject should never even have been up for discussion. "Not one penny of cuts, and any savings to be returned to the beneficiaries" is really the only sane policy, even the state of the economy, and the fact that "the fiscal cliff" is classic Big Lie propaganda.

FWIW, I think Boehner got Obama to throw him in the briar patch. After all, which party is going to gut Social Security? Why, the Democrats, as Obama -- who is not, as Krugman seems to think, a wimp -- can go ahead and do exactly what he's wanted to do for years.

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Submitted by Hugh on

"The question about this looming deal is whether the end justifies the means"

Let's see, the end is looting and killing old people.  With ends like those who gives a shit about the means? 

Agonizing = justifying lesser evilism

Cujo359's picture
Submitted by Cujo359 on

Actually, I think the end is keeping the feckless rich happy, which means supporting their gambling habits. Looting and killing old people is just a means to that end.

Somehow, I don't think that's what Krugman imagined he was talking about, but he should have been.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

I hope Krugman reads Hugh's comment about ends and means.  Krugman suffers from Tweed Jacket + Pipe Syndrome, among other things, and sounds increasingly addled.

In any event, he has his work cut out for him.  Obama is not letting up on the momentum to destroy Social Security (et al) -- he's just made a turgid announcement that could easily be decoded as prompting his GOP partners (and the fake-out "Democrats") to start the next set of pre-planned moves in this grotesque theatre:

From HuffPo "Just In" as of a few minutes ago:

"President Barack Obama announced on Friday he is still "ready and willing" to get a package done to avert the fiscal cliff, the latest development in an ongoing battle to reach an agreement to avert the fiscal cliff before the new year.

"As of today I am still ready and willing to get a comprehensive package done," Obama said, specifically urging lawmakers to craft a deal that would protect middle-class Americans from a tax hike set to be implemented if no deal is met."

I wonder if Krugman's brain is now going to swing back to "hmm, this sounds reasonable." 

And I'll be listening with the rest of us as Dead Silence thunks from Trumka, Bernie, and the rest of the "democratic" sellouts.

Submitted by chadwick newsome on

Cuts to Social Security, and its ultimate transformation into a harshly means tested  welfare program, was O's  goal from the beginning of his public life.  That  is what his patrons wanted.  That  is what he intends to give them.  The destruction of Social Security (and Medicaid and Medicare cuts) could mean the end of the Democratic Party.  But since O has no interest in, or loyalty to, the Democratic Party, it won't matter to him.  What O and his patrons want, are the heads of old Americans on sticks.  That is what he will get.

Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

"The truth of the matter is that my policies are so mainstream that if I had set the same policies that I had back in the 1980s, I would be considered a moderate Republican."

Obama lies even when he's being "candid" on Spanish media.  Portraying himself as an 80s "moderate Republican" -- so we have to conclude that Obama thinks that Regan was a conservative member of Bernie Sanders' party.  Right.

athena1's picture
Submitted by athena1 on

BUT, that opens up space for a new party, like the Greens. We need a lot more Green folks over here, I think.

I'm kind of working out in my head how this could work as a 10 year plan. Step one is younger people "coming out of the closet" to family as liberals. (It's amazing how many are in the closet.)

Then, a "talk to your Grandma about what both legacy parties want re ss/medicare." campaign. Convincing older folks to stop taking CNN/MSNBC/etc seriously will be the hardest part, and a lot of older folks are just NOT going to read the internet (many can't because of vision problems, too.)

Submitted by lambert on

I hate generational analysis, so this is just shorthand but--

I think 'Reagan's children," the creative class technocrats like Nate Silver are not our natural allies. I'm convinced of this because of my experiences with health care discussion. How to reach them, I don't know. Did you see that horrible Times article about kids with college degrees sleeping in shelters because there's no work? They are our natural allies.

That is one reason for the site redesign. At least it is now techically possible to have cellphone and iPad-appropriate layouts, and (I hope) an app to upload data....