It would be presumptuous – if not flat wrong – to call Paul Krugman an idiot. The winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, Krugman has devoted much of his life to the study of the same. His New York Times articles, though, often stray from his area of expertise. A prime example of the reviled liberal “elitist,” Krugman has made a fool of himself more than once in the pages of the left’s favorite rag. This time, however, he used the broader canvas of Rolling Stone to craft a defense of President Obama that falls just short of the laugh test. Sorry, Paul; America isn’t buying what you’re selling.
Krugman breaks his defense into several categories, penning an essay that goes needlessly on for more than 4,000 words, but it takes a stiff constitution to get past the first three paragraphs. In these, Krugman admits that he was skeptical of the public’s canonization of candidate Obama. Even that turns quickly into an excoriation of his Republican opposition, which Krugman categorizes as “scorched-earth” in scope and scale. As if Democrats weren’t every bit as staunch in their opposition to Bush.
Obama One of the All-Time Greats?
It’s in his third lead-in paragraph that Krugman leaves the reservation. “Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history.” With one sentence – doubtlessly conceived to get just the sort of press this blog and other conservative commentators are affording it – Krugman puts Obama in the same category as Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Reagan, and liberal favorite FDR. Really?
Krugman spends the rest of the article trying to justify this claim and falls woefully short of the mark. Consider his overview of Obama’s most important accomplishments. He says that Obamacare is “working better than anyone expected.” Well, no. Liberals and Obama himself promised us this would be a great new day for American healthcare. Nearly half the country would still like to see it repealed. We haven’t even begun to see what kind of longterm effect the law will have on patients, doctors, and American business. Working better than anyone expected? If that’s true, it had no business being passed into law.
What else is there? Krugman admits that Obama’s financial reform has been a failure, but qualifies that statement with the cryptic “it’s much more effective than you’d think.” Huh? This is the kind of namby-pamby defense we’re expected to take seriously? What does that even mean? This is Krugman’s area of expertise, but the most he can offer on reform and the economy is that “it could have been worse.” I can see those words being etched into a plaque outside the Barack Obama Presidential Library, but they certainly don’t conjure images of “one of the most successful presidents in American history.”
There’s a better than even chance that ISIS, Ebola, or both will grow into problems so great that no liberal will be left to defend Obama. Even if we’ve forgotten entirely about them by this time next year, though, Obama’s legacy as one of the country’s worst leaders is set in stone. Obama defenders like Krugman aren’t rehabilitating his image when they produce their drivel; they’re merely letting the public know their opinions can be safely dismissed from now on.