Thursday, March 27, 2008

Krugman Reads His Hillary

Paul Krugman, perhaps the last major columnist with both feet firmly in reality, has a post up today about the candidates. First, he reminds us that he was right about Bush from the start, when other people were wrong:

When George W. Bush first ran for the White House, political reporters assured us that he came across as a reasonable, moderate guy.

Yet those of us who looked at his policy proposals — big tax cuts for the rich and Social Security privatization — had a very different impression. And we were right.

The moral is that it’s important to take a hard look at what candidates say about policy. It’s true that past promises are no guarantee of future performance. But policy proposals offer a window into candidates’ political souls — a much better window, if you ask me, than a bunch of supposedly revealing anecdotes and out-of-context quotes.
Words are not just words. They matter because they will tell us what is buzzing around the inside of that person's brain. Krugman continues, handing out the hardest knocks to McCain, but not sparing the Democrats, either (my emphasis):

Which brings me to the latest big debate: how should we respond to the mortgage crisis? In the last few days John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have all weighed in. And their proposals arguably say a lot about the kind of president each would be.

Mr. McCain is often referred to as a “maverick” and a “moderate,” assessments based mainly on his engaging manner. But his speech on the economy was that of an orthodox, hard-line right-winger. ... These days, even free-market enthusiasts are talking about increased regulation of securities firms now that the Fed has shown that it will rush to their rescue if they get into trouble. But Mr. McCain is selling the same old snake oil, claiming that deregulation and tax cuts cure all ills.

Hillary Clinton’s speech could not have been more different.

True, Mrs. Clinton’s suggestion that she might convene a high-level commission, including Alan Greenspan — who bears a lot of responsibility for this crisis — had echoes of the excessively comfortable relationship her husband’s administration developed with the investment industry. But the substance of her policy proposals on mortgages, like that of her health care plan, suggests a strong progressive sensibility. ... Mrs. Clinton wants a modern version of the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, the New Deal institution that acquired the mortgages of people whose homes were worth less than their debts, then reduced payments to a level the homeowners could afford.

Finally, Barack Obama’s speech on the economy on Thursday followed the cautious pattern of his earlier statements on economic issues.

I was pleased that Mr. Obama came out strongly for broader financial regulation, which might help avert future crises. But his proposals for aid to the victims of the current crisis, though significant, are less sweeping than Mrs. Clinton’s: he wants to nudge private lenders into restructuring mortgages rather than having the government simply step in and get the job done.

Mr. Obama also continues to make permanent tax cuts — middle-class tax cuts, to be sure — a centerpiece of his economic plan. It’s not clear how he would pay both for these tax cuts and for initiatives like health care reform, so his tax-cut promises raise questions about how determined he really is to pursue a strongly progressive agenda.

Shorter Paul - McCain's a whacko, Hillary knows what's she's doing and is using the power of government to help ordinary people, and Obama is still trying to decide if he's a progressive or just playing one on the blogs.

Paul Krugman is not into currying favor with any administration. He has a day job as one of the most respected economists in the world, and is deeply concerned about ensuring that a progressive get elected. He was an Edwards supporter and I don't think he's happy that his preferred candidate has dropped out. However, he's also very clear that there is only one person left in the race who has a solidly progressive agenda. Now, if only the Blogger Boyz could get over their CDS long enough to be as honest as the person they all claim to admire.
Mr. McCain, we’re told, is a straight-talking maverick. But on domestic policy, he offers neither straight talk nor originality; instead, he panders shamelessly to right-wing ideologues.

Mrs. Clinton, we’re assured by sources right and left, tortures puppies and eats babies. But her policy proposals continue to be surprisingly bold and progressive.

Finally, Mr. Obama is widely portrayed, not least by himself, as a transformational figure who will usher in a new era. But his actual policy proposals, though liberal, tend to be cautious and relatively orthodox.
Krugman not so subtly slaps the elite punditocracy for their disparate treatment of Hillary, not even being willing to engage what this person offers the country on the merits of her positions and policies. I'm sure he will be assailed by the Blogger Boyz for being on a personal vendetta against The Precious for saying the simple truth.

It's the economy, stupid, and what the candidates have to say about how they will fix it.



gendergappers said...

Thankfully there are still a few like Krugman and Craig Crawford that don't follow the lemmings of the MSM.

Yesterday Howie Dean played the abortion card. With the polls showing that 22% of both candidate's supporters would stay home or vote for McCain or write in, Dean conviently honed in on women as defectors, warning them about the dire prospects for Supreme Court nominations. This is supposed to scare Hillary supporters and bring them into line.

The fact is that keeping abortion legal is just as important to Repugs as Dems as it keeps their base intact. It is the Dems in Congress that have not prevented the far right judge appointments - namely, Vermont's Pat Leahy.

Teresa said...

Agree with commenter. I'm sick and tired of the Democrats playing "THE ABORTION CARD".

If the Democratic candidate loses, I have no one to blame but Dean, Pelosi, etc. for running a weak candidate -- again.

It's not my fault I can't vote for him. Run candidates I can vote for and we'll talk.

Chinaberry Turtle said...

My gal just sent me an email that got me to open up my wallet again. If yall can, please donate to the campaign. Let's show these punks they can't intimidate our gal into capitulation!


Dear [Chinaberry Turtle],

Have you noticed the pattern?

Every time our campaign demonstrates its strength and resilience, people start to suggest we should end our pursuit of the Democratic nomination.

Those anxious to force us to the sidelines aren't doing it because they think we're going to lose the upcoming primaries. The fact is, they're reading the same polls we are, and they know we are in a position to win.

In three days, we're facing a critical March filing deadline -- another chance to show the strength of our campaign. Let's take these three days to make something absolutely clear: we aren't going to simply step aside. You and I are going to keep fighting for what we believe in, and together, we're going to win.

Your contribution of $120 came just as we needed it; thank you. Can you help us show our strength today with a contribution of $180?

Contribute today to help us raise $3 million by the March filing deadline at midnight Monday.

Every time we are challenged to prove the strength and durability of our appeal to voters, we meet our goals. We did it in New Hampshire, we did it on February 5, and we did it again this month in Texas and Ohio.

With the March filing deadline, we have the chance to show our strength again. This is a crucial test as we approach the next big primary in Pennsylvania and the contests that follow.

Millions of voters are still waiting to have their say. Let's make sure they have a chance to be heard.

Contribute today to help us raise $3 million by the March filing deadline at midnight Monday.

At times like this, with everything on the line, it means so much to me to know that I can rely on you to meet the challenges we face head-on.

Thank you for everything,

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Shainzona said...

Maybe Obama will just take credit for things everyone else does to "prove" that he's a progressive:

"After weeks of arduous negotiations, on April 6, 2006, a bipartisan group of senators burst out of the "President's Room," just off the Senate chamber, with a deal on new immigration policy.

As the half-dozen senators -- including John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) -- headed to announce their plan, they met Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who made a request common when Capitol Hill news conferences are in the offing: "Hey, guys, can I come along?" And when Obama went before the microphones, he was generous with his list of senators to congratulate -- a list that included himself.

"I want to cite Lindsey Graham, Sam Brownback, Mel Martinez, Ken Salazar, myself, Dick Durbin, Joe Lieberman . . . who've actually had to wake up early to try to hammer this stuff out," he said.

To Senate staff members, who had been arriving for 7 a.m. negotiating sessions for weeks, it was a galling moment. Those morning sessions had attracted just three to four senators a side, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) recalled, each deeply involved in the issue. Obama was not one of them."

Chinaberry Turtle said...

Howard Dean just sent me an email asking for a donation to the Democratic party. The following was my response:


Dear Mr. Dean,

I will not give any money to the Democratic party this year. So far, I have donated over $500 to Hillary Clinton's campaign. I will continue to donate more to her campaign as time goes on. For the following reasons, I will give nothing to the Democratic party so long as you are in charge:

(1) Your complicity in Obama's apparently successful attempts to disenfranchise Florida and Michigan voters.

(2) Obama's false and incendiary accusations of racism against the Clintons. You know these accusations are false, yet you stood on the sidelines and let it happen.

(3) The horrible misogyny that has been directed against Hillary by both the media and Obama. You know this is wrong, yet you stood on the sidelines and let it happen.

I'm all for a good fight between Democratic opponents, but there are two things that should never occur: the use of race or gender against an opponent. Obama has committed both sins, yet you stood on the sidelines and let it happen.

You will get none of my money. I've given over $500 to Hillary and will continue to give much more. My wallet is closed to you this time. If Obama wins the nomination, my wallet will still stay closed to you.

-[Chinaberry Turtle]

p.s. Please take me off your mailing list. I am NOT your friend.