Paul Krugman's Monday New York Times column hit all of the sweet spots that make liberals smile, defending both President Obama and Hillary Clinton while bashing President Bush and the current crop of Republican presidential candidates. And what of the Democrats? Well, Hillary's "email thing doesn’t rise to the level of a 'scandal.'" Meanwhile, "the modern GOP is basically anti-rational analysis; it’s at war not just with the welfare state but with the Enlightenment."
Plus: Last week, after being annoyed that he was being treated by some as a partisan hack, despite his stellar "analysis and track record," he insulted a libertarian economist on his nytimes.com blog.
After claiming Monday that none of Obama's alleged "Katrina" moments were disasters after all, and marking Obamacare as "a huge success," he turned viciously on the tenure of President George W. Bush.
Beyond that, Katrina was special in political terms because it revealed such a huge gap between image and reality. Ever since 9/11, former President George W. Bush had been posing as a strong, effective leader keeping America safe. He wasn’t. But as long as he was talking tough about terrorists, it was hard for the public to see what a lousy job he was doing. It took a domestic disaster, which made his administration’s cronyism and incompetence obvious to anyone with a TV set, to burst his bubble.
Consider, if you will, the case of Chris Christie. Not that long ago he was regarded as a strong contender for the presidency, in part because for a while his tough-guy act played so well with the people of New Jersey. But he has, in fact, been a terrible governor, who has presided over repeated credit downgrades, and who compromised New Jersey’s economic future by killing a much-needed rail tunnel project.
Or consider Jeb Bush, once hailed on the right as “the best governor in America,” when in fact all he did was have the good luck to hold office during a huge housing bubble. Many people now seem baffled by Mr. Bush’s inability to come up with coherent policy proposals, or any good rationale for his campaign. What happened to Jeb the smart, effective leader? He never existed.
On Hillary Clinton keeping sensitive government documents on her personal server while serving as Secretary of State, well, that doesn't even deserve the term "scandal."
I know, now I’m supposed to be evenhanded, and point out equivalent figures on the Democratic side. But there really aren’t any; in modern America, cults of personality built around undeserving politicians seem to be a Republican thing.
True, some liberals were starry-eyed about Mr. Obama way back when, but the glitter faded fast, and what was left was a competent leader with some big achievements under his belt – most notably, an unprecedented drop in the number of Americans without health insurance. And Hillary Clinton is the subject of a sort of anti-cult of personality, whose most ordinary actions are portrayed as nefarious. (No, the email thing doesn’t rise to the level of a “scandal.”)
Krugman reached back to the Iraq War to get some more licks in at Bush and the GOP.
And while Mr. Trump doesn’t exude presidential dignity, he’s seeking the nomination of a party that once considered it a great idea to put George W. Bush in a flight suit and have him land on an aircraft carrier.
An August 28 blog post at nytimes.com found the esteemed-economist turned Democratic hack in an arrogant and defensive mood, calling the tech elite "stupid" for failing to see the badness radiating in waves off the Republican Party and its medieval mindset.
....In fact, policies that the tech elite support, like carbon taxes, are supported only by the left wing of the Democratic Party; the entire Republican Party is controlled by climate denialists, and anti-science types more broadly. And in general the modern GOP is basically anti-rational analysis; it’s at war not just with the welfare state but with the Enlightenment.
As readers might guess, I face some personal frustration here. When it comes to economics, I try to base what I say on evidence and on models that have stood the test of confrontation with evidence; but I often encounter people who assume that I’m just a left-wing version of Stephen Moore. Why do they believe that? Have they actually looked at my analysis and track record? No, they just know that I’m much more critical of the right than of the left, and they assume that this means ipso facto that I’m biased. But what if in modern America the right is much more wrong than the left? Not a possibility they’re willing to contemplate.