Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Krugman Takes Down Obama

Paul Krugman did not support Obama. He backed Hilary Clinton. I was aghast because putting up Clinton as a presidential candidate was saying that "America is no longer a democracy but an aristocracy" where the "great" political families vote in the husbands, then the wives, next the children, then the aunts, uncles, and cousins. Voila, you get a Medici style political system with graft and violence at its heart.

So I was big on Obama. He was a historical break. And I was fooled by his "community organizer" background and his "blackness". I thought: here's a guy that understands the downtrodden and will work mightily to lift up the poor and give all of the working people a decent future instead of using government as a pig trough for the greedy Wall Steet titans.

But I was a fool. Krugman pointed out that Obama was far more centrist and right-of-centre than anybody knew. And Krugman was right.

So... as pennance, I've excerpted this litany of complaints about Obama from a recent post by Krugman on his NY Times blog:
But on the Obama issue, I still think that the administration has made four serious misjudgments.

First, I think that it has paid too much attention to the short-run political risks of taking unpopular positions versus the medium-run political risks of having a lousy economy. Yes, a real mortgage-mod program would have fed Tea Party sentiment — but it might have meant a stronger economy in the second half of 2010, and that would have mattered a lot more. As best as I can tell, the political types in the White House have, year after year, operated on the principle that the economy is on the mend, so it’s time to pivot to centrist-sounding themes — only to keep finding that no, the economy isn’t on the mend, and they’re paying for that at the polls.

Second, the administration made what I continue to believe was the awful decision to pretend that the half-measures it was actually able to get were exactly right, not a penny too small. Would it have made a difference in 2010 if Obama had been able to say to the country, “I asked for more aid to the economy, but those guys blocked it, and that’s why we’re not recovering faster”? I don’t know — but it could hardly have been worse than the position he actually found himself in, which was trying to explain why a policy he insisted had been perfect wasn’t doing the job.

Third, it’s one thing to recognize that there’s only so much you can do; it’s another to adopt the arguments of your enemies. Since some time in the fall of 2009, Obama’s rhetorical stance has been basically that he’s like the GOP, but less so; can you even remember him offering a full-throated defense of Keynesian policies?

Finally, while the White House doesn’t set Fed policy, it does get to appoint Fed governors. Why are there all those vacant seats? Why weren’t there recess appointments?
There is more. Go read the whole post.

The tragedy is that Americans elected Obama in 2008 with a groundswell of hope and enthusiasm. The candidate of "hope" and "change you can believe in" has shown that he turned his back on "hope" and has failed to deliver any meaningful change. He has shown himself to be more concerned about "positioning" himself for a 2012 run than for fixing the economy for Americans in 2009, 2010, 2011, or 2012. He's feathered his nest but left the American public out in the cold.

Sure he is better, far better, than the right wing crazies who want to get back into power and complete the entire dismantling of the US government and economy started by Reagan and so nearly accomplished by George Bush. But while Obama is better, he is only a half-measure. He is a tiny step and not the long journey promised, the journey back to a land of promise and hope for all Americans. Sad.

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