Free Markets, Free People

Krugman finally notices Obama’s an empty suit

Funny stuff.  Paul Krugman, representing much of the left, has apparently finally noticed what an empty suit Obama is:

What have they done with President Obama? What happened to the inspirational figure his supporters thought they elected? Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular?

I realize that with hostile Republicans controlling the House, there’s not much Mr. Obama can get done in the way of concrete policy. Arguably, all he has left is the bully pulpit. But he isn’t even using that — or, rather, he’s using it to reinforce his enemies’ narrative.

Of course Krugman is pretty much focused on economic issues and so seemingly hasn’t been watching Obama through most of his presidency, as many of us have.  He’s finally noticed the “timid guy” who doesn’t seem to stand for anything but does enjoy a good round of golf.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised it has taken this long – the blinkers had to be firmly in place to elect him in the first place.   You had, to quote Hillary Clinton as she addressed Gen. Petraeus about the situation in Iraq some years ago, “willingly suspend disbelief” in order to vote for the guy in the first place.  What you had to suspend was the belief that experience and leadership count for something, especially when you’re talking about the highest office in the land.

This timid guy Krugman is talking about has shown the rest of us over and over he’s really unsuited for the job.  And now, even the Krugman’s of the world are beginning to take some notice.

I have to admit to laughing out loud at Krugman’s example – apparently the one that finally clued him into the problem:

His remarks after last week’s budget deal were a case in point.

Maybe that terrible deal, in which Republicans ended up getting more than their opening bid, was the best he could achieve — although it looks from here as if the president’s idea of how to bargain is to start by negotiating with himself, making pre-emptive concessions, then pursue a second round of negotiation with the G.O.P., leading to further concessions.

And bear in mind that this was just the first of several chances for Republicans to hold the budget hostage and threaten a government shutdown; by caving in so completely on the first round, Mr. Obama set a baseline for even bigger concessions over the next few months.

Of course Krugman, as typified by his one-trick pony policy of more and more government spending to cure all ills is bound to be upset by any spending concessions a Democrat might make.  However, I loved his characterization of Obama’s bargaining style.  It is true  and not only does it point to someone totally out of his depth, but someone with no real principles upon which to make a stand.

Krugman turns his attention, after wondering what happened to Obama, to trying to trash everything the GOP has put forward or will put forward.  But so captured is he by his discovery of what Obama isn’t that he has to return to that subject:

You might have expected the president’s team not just to reject this proposal, but to see it as a big fat political target. But while the G.O.P. proposal has drawn fire from a number of Democrats — including a harsh condemnation from Senator Max Baucus, a centrist who has often worked with Republicans — the White House response was a statement from the press secretary expressing mild disapproval.

What’s going on here? Despite the ferocious opposition he has faced since the day he took office, Mr. Obama is clearly still clinging to his vision of himself as a figure who can transcend America’s partisan differences. And his political strategists seem to believe that he can win re-election by positioning himself as being conciliatory and reasonable, by always being willing to compromise.

But if you ask me, I’d say that the nation wants — and more important, the nation needs — a president who believes in something, and is willing to take a stand. And that’s not what we’re seeing.

Baloney.  Krugman has to have lived in a cave if he believes the rhetoric has even come close to matching the reality of the Obama presidency.  He is not a transcendent figure by any stretch.  He is, instead, a true exception to the Peter Principle and has indeed risen to a level above his incompetence. 

But to Krugman’s last point – Obama believes in one thing – Obama.  And any objective appraisal of his performance in office these past 2+ years cannot give him very high marks on “principle” or a willingness to take a stand.   There’s a reason for that.  Obama traded principle for the achievement of his ambition years ago.  He’s intelligent enough to talk the talk, but he seems absolutely incapable of walking the walk or even attempting to do so.

As Dale said on the podcast last night, you sometimes get the feeling that when he says something he truly believes it becomes reality.  In this world you actually have to take action and lead to have things happen.  Obama has no idea how to do that.



31 Responses to Krugman finally notices Obama’s an empty suit

  • Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.

    … but I doubt Krugman will work to help him regain his anonymity

  • Love it when the rubes self-identify

  • Shorter Paul Krugman: “Obama has no clue what he’s doing? Damn, if only someone had told me he was incompetent and in over his head before I supported him!”
    Anyhow, I ran across multiple posts from the Democratic Underground which highlight just how much confidence the Left has lost in Obama, and are realizing that Obama is not in it for them, but himself and his “corporate masters.”

    • I like that they think his master’s are corporate.    Highly entertaining.
      Course I think he’s long ago discarded anyone as master.  He thinks too highly of himself to answer to anyone.
      And without guidance, well, you get what we have.

  • Paul must be watching for the economy to fold like a tent, now that the federal budget has actually shrunk 0.7%
    DOW up 20 of so, but I’m sure (as the crazies blame everything on AGW) the smallest retreat will be blamed on this miniscule reduction.

  • Crazy PaulieWhat happened to the inspirational figure his supporters thought they elected?

    He never f*cking existed, you idiot.  He had less reality than Big Brother.

    But in the same moment, drawing a deep sigh of relief from everybody, the hostile figure melted into the face of Big Brother, black-haired, black-moustachio’d, full of power and mysterious calm, and so vast that it almost filled up the screen. Nobody heard what Big Brother was saying. It was merely a few words of encouragement, the sort of words that are uttered in the din of battle, not distinguishable individually but restoring confidence by the fact of being spoken.

    As I recall, The Annointed One (as he was then known) even bragged about being a blank screen upon which his idiot followers could project their beliefs, their hopes, their dreams.  Even this was a lie, however: he was never a post-partisan, post-racial, pragmatic, moderate.  This version of Obama was a careful construction of MiniTru; they covered up the bad things (Ayers, Wright, even his smoking habit) while talking up what he was SUPPOSED to be.  The Nobel he was given is a perfect example: he didn’t get it for what he had DONE, but rather for what lefty morons THOUGHT he would do.

    Crazy Paulie, meet reality.  She’s a total b*tch.

    Crazy PaulieWhat’s going on here? Despite the ferocious opposition he has faced since the day he took office, Mr. Obama is clearly still clinging to his vision of himself as a figure who can transcend America’s partisan differences. And his political strategists seem to believe that he can win re-election by positioning himself as being conciliatory and reasonable, by always being willing to compromise.

    Is there some alternate version of history that nobody told me about?  Because I seem to recall the “concilliatory and reasaonble” Obama telling the GOP bluntly, “I won” and outright refusing to even meet with Boehner and McConnell until absolutely forced to do so.  Even in the recent negotiations, he was far from concilliatory, flatly announcing that he’d veto this or veto that, holding the troops hostage and threatening a government shutdown if he didn’t get his way.  Even after the deal was done, he whined that he would never have done it had the economy been better.

    Jeebus… With such a distorted view of reality, shouldn’t Crazy Paulie be in a home somewhere?

    • Despite the ferocious opposition he has faced since the day he took office,”
      From who?  The Democratically controlled House and the Democratically controlled Senate?
      God, these people wake up every morning with less memory of the previous day than my dogs have.

  • About a week ago, the president came out and announced that they had given the Republicans another $33 billion in cuts — a billion more than they originally asked for. And still the Republicans wanted more. Why not? They’re dealing with the world’s worst negotiator, why not ask for more?

    Cenk Uygur

    There is great dissatisfaction on the left with Obama, as Uygur on HuffPo attests.

    • Cenk is almost as deranged as Krugman, and has even less intelligence.

      • However Uygur is correct that Obama is a terrible negotiator. Unless he can break the other side with the race card, he’s out of moves and not interested in the details.

    • They’re dealing with the world’s worst negotiator

      From everything I’ve observed in my lifetime, I’d have to say that the Palestinians are the world’s worst negotiators, but Obama may be a close 2nd.

  • On a slow news day bloggers can always just go to the Paul Krugman is crazy, stupid, and evil card. It is always true, and never gets old. He IS crazy stupid and evil, all at the same time.

  • It is a fatal error to think of Obama as an “empty suit.” Right now he is rampaging through the agencies. He also just started his own war, the purposes of which have yet to become clear. The Republicans taking the house made him more, not less, dangerous, because now he is at work in the sullen, grinding power of the permanent government, relentlessly working his way.

    Paul Krugman is more suitably the empty suit, a hack academic Leftist political ideologist wearing the mask of a, now Nobel laureate, economist.

    Only an idiot would complain that Obama isn’t using the “bully pulpit.” The plainest fact in America is that Obama never shuts up.

  • I think the scope of Krugman ‘noticing’ is very limited.  He only noticed because his spending was cut.  And he still found a way to put it partial on Republicans. 

    • But he should take solace that soon we will be just like the Europeans …

      It is a sentiment that appears to be spreading. Popular anger at bail-outs, austerity and general economic uncertainty has already toppled leaders on the eurozone’s periphery: first in Ireland, then Portugal and arguably Spain, where José Luis Zapatero has said he will not seek a third term as prime minister.
      Now, anger is beginning to infect Europe’s prosperous core, where mainstream parties are losing ground to populist outsiders playing on resentment and frustration triggered by austerity and falling living standards.

  • “The kids who are graduating into the 2011 job market are never going to have the lives they should have had,” says economist Paul Krugman in this video. A grim outlook for the next generation of America’s workforce.

  • What happened to the inspirational figure his supporters thought they elected? Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular?

    Someday, Mr. Krugman might figure out that “inspiration” is even easier when you don’t actually stand for anything.
    “Hope” and “Change” were vacuuous and content-less from the start, and it’s not like nobody pointed that out. (In fairness, of course, campaign slogans are necessarily not wonkish policy, but even by the standards involved, these were weak.)

  • Ummm, if anyone had actually read Krugman prior to the last presidential election they’d realize he was always skeptical of Obama and that today’s column was really just a rhetorical question.

    • I’ve been reading Krugman for years and I can’t disagree more.

      • Google “Krugman Obama criticism”. There are quite a number of hits. I don’t know if it qualifies as “always skeptical of Obama” but Krugman even before the election has been attacking Obama from the left:

        Which brings me to a big worry about Mr. Obama: in an important sense, he has in effect become the anti-change candidate.

        Krugman, Dec. 2007

        • Change? He had to keep some things the same… in order to be able to blame Bush when expedient.

        • Don’t forget, Krugman did a little pre-stimulus calculation and determined about $600 billion was needed. Obama came up with almost $900 billion and Krugman said it was too little.

          • Like I said, Krugman attacks Obama from the left. It’s not that Krugman disapproves of Obama’s leftishness, but  Krugman believes that Obama is too prone to compromise with the right.

            This is what Dave was getting at with his “always skeptical of Obama” remark. There was even a Newsweek cover article on Krugman as Obama’s biggest liberal critic.

            This doesn’t mean that Krugman is skeptical of Obama the same way QandO commenters are skeptical. Far from it.

    • Then obviously you have never read Krugman!

      • You … must … be … kidding … me!
        Aside from Krugman’s all over the dartboard musings on things economic, one thing is sure, Krugman worships big D democrats and will abide little d democrats for the sake of party solidarity. (Worker ants have their place in the larger scheme of things.) After all, one just doesn’t “earn” a Nobel prize in somethin’ for nothin’, ya know. Rhetorically speaking, of course!
        Krugman always reminds me of my college roommate I had in school. He was the first guy to introduce me to the mathematical concept “proving” that “Yes, Virginia 2 + 2 does in fact equal 5!” His logic was flawless. I had no way to refute my roomie until I realized he was pulling my leg and demonstrating that the world of math had its own class of slippery slope arguments. And, that is what Krugman has done over time by hiding behind a really sharp brain working both sides of the argument using a wealth of information (gathered by a stable of researchers) and a numbers mastery that border’s on Paul Ryan’s ability to count the number of pot holes in the nation and tell you where they are.
        The problem for Krugman now is that even he cannot manage to talk around his own internal inconsistencies as published because there is no way to paper over and defend Obama’s inability to measure up to the tasks at hand. The most excellent Libyan misadventure, Af/Pak, Russia/defense shields, the border, Gitmo, debt, spending, entitlement, the inability to understand that there are two chambers of Congress and both are divided for some strange reason (and on purpose!), why even those folks who speak Austrian and certainly all of us across the breadth of these 57 united states of America can see that the “suit” with a really sharp crease in the trousers is not up to the job.

        • “After all, one just doesn’t “earn” a Nobel prize in somethin’ for nothin’, ya know.”

          Yeah, well, I wouldn’t use THAT as a strut to support your argument.    Two words for you – Barack Obama.

          • looker:
            I’m mighty proud of ya!  I was indeed speaking about Barack Obama. Why, you have an astute grasp of the obvious. Keep up the good work. Farewell, rough seas are ahead.

  • I wonder how many liberals are asking these same questions to themselves but don’t dare ask them aloud for fear of sounding disloyal and risking the anger of their liberal friends.

    • Liberals are becoming disillusioned with Obama and some of them are speaking out. The fervor for Obama has long since dissipated. There is not much risk in criticizing Obama as long as one doesn’t get crazy and become a Republican or, worse yet, a Tea Partier.

      However, liberals are unlikely to learn much from the experience, since they are mostly blaming Obama for lack of courage in pressing the left agenda harder. They see Obama as a sell-out to the banks and Wall Street, and as a well-meaning, but ineffectual wimp in the face of the cruel Rethuglican machine and talk radio hyenas like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh.

      So the American left will remain estranged but we can hope that the independents and old-style Democrats remain lost to the Democratic Party for the next couple of decades. I’m not sure what the burgeoning Hispanic demographic will do in the coming years, but I suspect we will see a huge backlash among young Democrats as they realize their futures have been deeply damaged by classic Democrat entitlement policies.