Free Markets, Free People

Krugman – Another “History Began January 20th, 2009” Moment

Of course, it is a rather simple and transparent ploy to establish a basis for his broad brush defamation of the GOP (not that the GOP isn’t capable of doing that all by itself).  He begins by calling the failure of the US and Barack Obama to secure the Olympic bid “a teachable moment”.


Of course, for 8 years I don’t recall Krugman et. al, ever once finding similar teachable moments in the invective or demonstrations aimed at the Bush administration. Anyway, he wanders on with:

“Cheers erupted” at the headquarters of the conservative Weekly Standard, according to a blog post by a member of the magazine’s staff, with the headline “Obama loses! Obama loses!” Rush Limbaugh declared himself “gleeful.” “World Rejects Obama,” gloated the Drudge Report. And so on.

So what did we learn from this moment? For one thing, we learned that the modern conservative movement, which dominates the modern Republican Party, has the emotional maturity of a bratty 13-year-old.

When, exactly, did the “Weekly Standard”, Rush Limbaugh and the Drudge Report come to comprise “the modern Republican Party”?

Conflation is a favorite device of those who are really reaching to make a point and Krugman is reaching here. I’m not suggesting that the three cites he gives don’t indeed act with the “emotional maturity of a bratty 13-year-old” at times, I’m simply wondering how Krugman managed to make the leap from those three to “the modern Republican Party”?

Of course he did it to try to suggest they are representative of the GOP today and, in fact, this is the way the GOP has always been – unlike Democrats. And for those gullible enough to swallow his premise whole, he then throws his rewrite of history out there in an attempt to make his point that unlike Republicans, Democrats are and always have been the adults:

In 2005, when Democrats campaigned against Social Security privatization, their arguments were consistent with their underlying ideology: they argued that replacing guaranteed benefits with private accounts would expose retirees to too much risk.

In actuality, Democrats acted with “the emotional maturity of bratty 13-year-olds” by Krugman’s own standard:

* NW Progressive Institute, March 2005: “a boisterous crowd which frequently interrupted the discussion with shouts and hard nosed questions. … Democrats in the audience who were interrupting the panel…. the crowd erupted in anger… Democrats in the audience started shouting him down again.”

* Savannah Morning News, March 2005: “By now, Jack Kingston is used to shouted questions, interruptions and boos. Republican congressmen expect such responses these days when they meet with constituents about President Bush’s proposal to overhaul Social Security.”

* USA Today, March 2005: “Shaken by raucous protests at open “town hall”-style meetings last month … Santorum was among dozens of members of Congress who ran gantlets of demonstrators and shouted over hecklers at Social Security events last month. Many who showed up to protest were alerted by e-mails and bused in by anti-Bush organizations such as and USAction, a liberal advocacy group. They came with prepared questions and instructions on how to confront lawmakers.”

Using Krugman’s logic above, the fact that MoveOn and USAction plus others shouted, heckled, disrupted and booed at these events (the “Weekly Standard”, Rush Limbaugh and Drudge Report equivalents on the left), his “bratty 13-year-old” characterization should easily extend to the Democratic party as well, correct?

Krugman then asks:

How did one of our great political parties become so ruthless, so willing to embrace scorched-earth tactics even if so doing undermines the ability of any future administration to govern?

Why not ask the Democrats of the last 8 years? Ask them how calling the president a “liar”, a “loser”, “incompetent” and many other things did anything but “undermine the ability of any future administration to govern”?

Another “history began January 20th, 2009” moment for the left.



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9 Responses to Krugman – Another “History Began January 20th, 2009” Moment

  • “their arguments were consistent with their underlying ideology:”

    Well, he stumbled on the truth there, since their underlying idealogy is, as you point out,that of a bratty 13 year old.

  • I think this kind of reaction (and I’ve seen it a lot from the left lately) is an indication that there is nothing of substance to present, so they’re starting their 2010 midterm campaign by explaining to voters that they’re the more self-disciplined and mature party. It may also be an attempt at reassuring themselves, such as when they’ve ignored polls and insisted that the uproar over Democrat proposals are a creation of a right-wing cabal (which is at once able to display amazing strategic and organizational skills in generating a false dissent while also being a party of inept, immature buffoons who couldn’t keep the nation from voting them out of office in droves).

    I think that voters –independent voters in particular– read all of this finger-pointing as the response to their rejection of the Democrat’s agenda, and they are unimpressed and insulted. It strikes me as the worst possible way of dealing with the anger and disappointment of the electorate. How clueless can a person possibly be?

  • Did you read Krugman’s comments? Whole lotta lifetime Democrats and Obama supporters telling Krugman that bashing Republicans doesn’t make Obama’s failures any better, and that changing the subject doesn’t make the Democratic Party look any more effective, either.

    Amazing how quickly the cult turns, eh?

  • Obama’s failures? What are those? Not getting the Olympics? That’s minor, and I’m sure he knows it. He tried, but that’s what leaders do. Health care is still being fought, and he looks far more likely to succeed than fail — unlike Clinton in 1994. He’s pursuing active diplomacy with Iran to deal with an issue Bush never was able to come to grips with (Bush tried with Iran for eight years — history did not begin in 2009!). He’s rethinking strategy in Afghanistan, one the most difficult and important decision he’ll face in his Presidency. He seems to be spending time giving this serious thought and listening to a lot of people. He did pass a stimulus package that most economists say is working (though it may be setting up a future problem — we’ll see). I mean, for a first year President he’s doing pretty well. You’ve created this alternate narrative where for some reason you want to paint him as psychologically flawed, failing, weak, etc., all based on your fantasies. Either that, or you’re just engaged in propaganda, trying to “spread your memes” as you say to win the political jihad. If it’s the latter, then you’ve really sunk to a political and ethical low. If it’s the former, you need to really look at history and compare Obama to other Presidents, especially in their first year.

    Also, given the real failures of the Bush administration in foreign policy and domestic policy (and how any criticism of Bush was met with a charge of “BDS”), you are the one who seems to exhibit a very short memory.

    • Health Care as he wants it will not pass. He’ll certainly get something called ‘health care reform’ but it will not be what he’s wanted or asked for.

      Sure, he’s ‘rethinking strategy in Afghanistan’: after ignoring it for the better part of 3 months and never making contact with the active general in the zone.

      He passed a stimulus package that under no way seems to be working by any benchmarks even he set up, and the only ‘economist’ saying it’s working is Krugman. I believe that’s all that needs to be said on that subject.

      The man has, in eight months, done what Bush did and multiplied it by four. So while I’m far from a Bush Fan, this guy’s even more incompetent than the last guy. only difference is he ‘speaks good’.

  • Health care reform always was going to be a work of compromises and deals, that’s been clear from the start. No President could simply dictate the kind of reform. It’s important to have something passed — that can always be built upon.

    I’m amazed you’d complain that Obama has been “ignoring” Afghanistan for three months. Do you really believe that? Do you have evidence for that? And tell me, what was President Bush doing for the last seven years, if not ignoring Afghanistan? From what I understand there has been an extensive study going on for at least that long concerning Afghanistan.

    Bush started two wars that have decimated the US position abroad, spread the military thin, and left Obama with some difficult problems to fix. President Bush’s economic policy helped set up the crisis we’re facing. I think you are so quick to dislike Obama because you disagree with him that you jump on any insult because it fits your own political bias. Economists seem to think the stimulus is working (definitely not just Krugman, I’ve been seeing a positive analysis many places). I’m skeptical about its long term impact, but we’ll see.

    I think Bush did make some improvements in his second term as he recognized the reality of the problem and the failure of neo-conservatism. But his mistakes, made with good intent, I believe, will be with us for a long, long time.

    • Blah Blah Blah, more BDS, I don’t think Bush was a particularly good president, but he was far from the caricature that you lefties created. And his foreign policy so called “mistakes” such as the Iraqi war, could still be a great advantage to us in the west as it seems to be creating a stable democratic regime in the heart of Islam.

    • I am sorry, Scott, but I believe the damage Obama is doing will last for a long time. He is uninterested in foreign policy and it shows. He has no interest in leading the free world, but he is unwilling to cede that to anyone else. Hence, there will be no lead. A rational, non narcissistic personality would realize he is in trouble when the military is leaking his non involvement in Afghanistan and the France is calling him “weak and naive”.

      I wish I shared your enthusiasm about Iran, but I don’t. Obama is waddling around as Iran gets closer every day to getting a nuclear device. All Obama does is move back his so called “deadlines”. Obama has zero plan for Iran. He is assailing our allies, including Israel, while getting nothing from our enemies. At the end of the day, our enemies get stronger while we and our allies lose ground.

      On the domestic front, it is not clear who are his economic advisers. It is not clear what, if any plan, is in place. If there is any recovery at all going on, it is quite fragile. All the unknowns about taxes, Medical, cap and trade, and protectionism make business reluctant to hire. All of the floundering about by Obama is making things worse not better. Obama only knows how to campaign. He does not know how to govern and it is showing.

      Dick Morris is right. Obama is a “Catastrophe”.