lambert strether blogs at Corrente
I’m tempted to call this one Krugman Agonistes. Why? Here’s the video, and don’t listen to Morning Edition, if you still do; listen to this:
Krugman Agonistes not so much for the battles Professor Krugman waged during the Bush administration, when he seemed quite literally the single voice willing to call bullshit, and not so much for the battles Krugman wages on behalf of Keynesian economics, whose policies really would help a lot of desperate and suffering people who’ve been betrayed and abandoned by “their” government, nor so much for the battle Krugman just waged on behalf of #MintTheCoin, nor even for the daily battle Krugman wages on behalf of old school blogging. No, I have a different battle in mind.
From the transcript, look on this picture:
[KRUGMAN] I think he might have said that two, three years ago. I don’t think that president, you know, we happen to have a very intelligent man as president.* He’s for real. And he does understand. with him. …
And on this:
… [W]e have maybe made up a quarter of the ground we lost in that great plunge in 2008, 2009. And at this rate.
In the same paragraph.
A picture held us captive. I cannot help but think that Krugman must also be waging a tremendous internal battle between his picture of this man he seems to like and trust to do the right thing, and the picture of human economic devastation in all forms that he must see through the windows of the Acela, which can but tell him that this man is doing nothing like the right thing. This battle — and yes, “Will Doctor Freud please pick up the white courtesy phone?” — can only force its way to the surface with formulations like Obama “wussing out” (others say “cave”). But the possibility that Obama is doing exactly what believes in**, cannot be allowed to reach a conscious level, let alone expressed.
We’ve just gone through a battle where the proponents of Proof Platinum Coin Seigniorage (including, honorably, Krugman) were called every synonym for “crazy” in the book. Assume PPCS detractors were right: Isn’t it just as crazy to think that Obama will convert to Keynesianism? Na ga happen. Obama’s politics will never permit the kind of economics that Krugman (honorably) is fighting for. But then, that’s been the problem with Obama all along, hasn’t it?
NOTE * Meaning, although Krugman doesn’t say this, that to The Eternal Question — “Is ____ stupid and/or evil” — he’s given the answer, at least if one rules out “afflicted by Republicans” as a third alternative, as I do.
NOTE ** I realize that attributing a belief system to Obama may prove controversial.