On the same day a new poll found only 37 percent of liberals strongly approve of Barack Obama's performance as president, the New York Times's Paul Krugman bashed America's chief executive for being missing in action.
"What have they done with President Obama?" asked the Nobel Laureate. "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.
Isn't it fascinating? The Democrats control the White House and the Senate, but now that Republicans are in charge of the House, the President is hamstrung to get anything done.
Shouldn't that mean that in the final two years of the Bush presidency, when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress, whatever happened in those two years should be blamed on them? Say, for instance, a financial crisis that led to a recession and exploding debt?
Of course not. The laws of civics don't apply when there's a Republican in the White House. But that's as much a constant in our lives as Krugman making silly comments:
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.
What's fascinating here is that if Krugman really wanted to bash his president, he could remind readers that the White House and the Democrat-controlled Congress could have averted all of this last year by passing a budget of their own.
Nowhere in the Nobel laureate's column did he mention this inconvenient truth. Too bad, for that in reality was the truly hapless play by Obama, one that he's largely gotten a pass for from his fans in the media.
Now the narrative has indeed changed to one of budget cuts rather than increases, and this could have easily been prevented if Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) would have immediately put forth a budget after the healthcare reform legislation was passed last May.
Instead, they decided it wouldn't be prudent to do so with elections coming up in November, and now the dynamic in D.C. has radically changed as a result:
But let’s give the president the benefit of the doubt, and suppose that $38 billion in spending cuts — and a much larger cut relative to his own budget proposals — was the best deal available. Even so, did Mr. Obama have to celebrate his defeat? Did he have to praise Congress for enacting “the largest annual spending cut in our history,” as if shortsighted budget cuts in the face of high unemployment — cuts that will slow growth and increase unemployment — are actually a good idea?
As Reagan would say, there you go again.
It seems whenever possible, Krugman wants to spin his yarn about government spending creating jobs. This of course ignores the immutable fact that outlays have risen 41 percent in the past four years as unemployment has doubled from 4.4 percent to 8.8 percent.
How's that government spending creates jobs thing workin' for yah, Mr. Krugman?
Of course, it never works. From 1929 to 1939, annual government spending tripled from roughly $3 billion to $9 billion. Did it help?
Hardly. The unemployment rate was 3.2 percent in 1929. Having peaked at roughly 25 percent in 1933, it was still at 17.2 percent at the end of 1939.
No matter how many times liberals try to spend us out of a recession, it never works. All it does is explode the national debt.
This time's no different, and Krugman is now officially concerned the president he supports has lost that spending feeling:
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.
Makes you almost want to cry, doesn't it?