Paul Krugman was one of the few national voices of opposition to movement conservatism in the darkest times of the Bush triumphalism. Before there was Daily Kos or TPM, there was Paul Krugman, the "shrill". There is NO ONE on the left with creater credibility. That he is a world class economist puts icing on the cake.
He has just written a book on the foundations of liberal politics in America, The Conscience of a Liberal, in which he identifies Social Security as the foundation of the New Deal and universal health insurance as the necessary foundation for beating back the movement conservative tide. He knows this subject inside and out. He supports all Democratic candidates who will defend Social Security and push for universal health insurance. I think he favors Edwards a mite, but he's not come out in support of any specific candidate. He wants the program and doesn't care who gets it done.
He has been giving Barry Obama some public smacks lately because Obama is running to the right on these two issues. The most recent slap was for attacking HRC and (to a lesser degree) Edwards for having mandates in their health insurance plans. Barry the Not-So-Bold seems to think we don't need those nasty mandates because he doesn't have them, and so his opponents are wrong to offer something he isn't offering. Krugman tells him to knock it off and quit undermining the cause. Obama replies by smearing Pual Krugman!
Dude, like, WTF? Krugman responds with elan and facts:
I’ll just outsource this to Ezra Klein.
Update OK, a bit more.
Here’s what I said about the Obama plan when it first came out:
So there’s a lot to commend the Obama plan. In fact, it would have been considered daring if it had been announced last year.
Now for the bad news. Although Mr. Obama says he has a plan for universal health care, he actually doesn’t — a point Mr. Edwards made in last night’s debate. The Obama plan doesn’t mandate insurance for adults. So some people would take their chances — and then end up receiving treatment at other people’s expense when they ended up in emergency rooms. In that regard it’s actually weaker than the Schwarzenegger plan.
I asked David Cutler, a Harvard economist who helped put together the Obama plan, about this omission. His answer was that Mr. Obama is reluctant to impose a mandate that might not be enforceable, and that he hopes — based, to be fair, on some estimates by Mr. Cutler and others — that a combination of subsidies and outreach can get all but a tiny fraction of the population insured without a mandate. Call it the timidity of hope.
On the whole, the Obama plan is better than I feared but not as comprehensive as I would have liked. It doesn’t quell my worries that Mr. Obama’s dislike of “bitter and partisan” politics makes him too cautious. But at least he’s come out with a plan.
And I was prepared to leave it at that — Obama’s plan was weaker than his rivals’ because it wasn’t universal, but I hoped that he would fix that in practice.
But then Obama started attacking his rivals from the right, denouncing their proposals using exactly the same false claims that conservatives will use to try to derail reform in the future.
And now, having been caught out on the facts, the Obama people respond with a personal attack, lifting quotes out of context to pretend that I never had problems with the plan. Something is very wrong here.
This is unforgiveable. Obama has just shown that he will say anything, no matter how untrue, to try to badmouth his critics. What his campaign has done is on par with the smears launched from right-wing think tanks against Prof. Krugman during the heady days of the "Mission Accomplished" media war. Aside from Ezra Klein, the leftwing blogs are shockingly silent on this bullshit from Obama.
I never thought I'd say this, but someone has to. I will not vote for Barack Obama - ever. He has shown himself to be opportunistic, deceitful, illiberal, and shallow. When he has an opportunity to go on the record, he ducks it. Being a sexy black dude who gives good oratory is not enough.
You have to actually be a liberal.