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Krugman: Why doesn't Obama want to sing kumbayah with unions, anyhow?


I mean, as oppposed to the insurance corps, who definitely deserve a seat at the table? Krugman:

Now Mr. Obama has lashed out at Mr. Edwards because two 527s — independent groups that are allowed to support candidates, but are legally forbidden from coordinating directly with their campaigns — are running ads on his rival’s behalf. They are, Mr. Obama says, representative of the kind of “special interests” that “have too much influence in Washington.”

The thing, though, is that both of these 527s represent union groups — in the case of the larger group, local branches of the S.E.I.U. who consider Mr. Edwards the strongest candidate on health reform. So Mr. Obama’s attack raises a couple of questions.

First, does it make sense, in the current political and economic environment, for Democrats to lump unions in with corporate groups as examples of the special interests we need to stand up to?

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?


It may be partisan to say that a 527 run by labor unions supporting health care reform isn’t the same thing as a 527 run by insurance companies opposing it. But it’s also the simple truth.

Now, of course, it's always possible that Obama could dive into a phonebooth after the election and come out dressed as progressive Superman....

NOTE To be reasonable, this does play well in the Village, which is certainly in Anybody But Edwards mode.

UPDATE A revised and extended version of remarks I made over at Matt's place, and also at Mr. Stir Fry's:

There's a meme running around that Krugman is "really" endorsing Obama. This is more of the vacuous and cynical wannabee insiderism and candidate advocacy approaching trollism that we are seeing so much of this primary season.

The lesson of the Conservative Ascendancy over the last 30 years is that "the economy" follows "political economy" and does not lead it.

That is, conditions like flat incomes for everyone but the very wealthy are policy outcomes; they are policy outcomes because the very wealthy set out to destroy all countervailing forces to their own power, and did so. The results are as you see.

Therefore, to see unions as "an interest group" like any other is just.... Silly. Except, of course, to the Villagers.

Krugman, as I see it, like these policy outcomes about as much as I do; that is, not at all.

So, he's doing what a columnist should be doing: Using his column to advocate for the policy outcomes he prefers

And if Edwards is the only one who wants to go in the direction of that desired policy outcome, well so fucking what? That's HRC's and Obama's problem (and the country's). Don't try to make it Krugman's problem, and please let's not undercut Krugman's analysis.

I know this is boring, boring, boring, and people would rather be doing the Inside Baseball thing, or playing the "who's up, who's down" game about their favorite candidate, or pretend they, too, are actual horse race announcers or shouting heads, but Krugman is, as ever, there for us when nobody else is, and ahead of the curve on the big picture. And he'll be seen to have been so when the primary silliness dies down and all the trolls slither back under their rocks.

I mean, come on. Obama's putting union 527s in the same box as Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. WTF? That's not new politics at all, and definitely has nothing to do with unity. It is, however, very reminiscent of a Sister Souljah moment. Eh?

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