On his blog today, Paul Krugman discusses three current Republican misconceptions. The first is how Romney is a bad candidate. Krugman notes that this may be true, but he’s not as bad as everyone else who ran. It is much the same argument that Saturday Night Live presented last week:
Krugman added his own joke. It’s an oldie, but it still makes me laugh:
The second misconception is that Paul Ryan is doing an inexplicably bad job selling his budget “ideas.” Krugman notes that these ideas only ever appealed to Serious Centrists: people like Thomas Friedman who think that Serious Ideas must require a great deal of pain for the little people (that is, not themselves or any of their friends). “There was never any good reason to believe that voucherizing Medicare would be anything but desperately unpopular,” he writes.
And then Krugman brings up how Republicans are pinning their hopes on a repeat of the first presidential debate in 2004. I remember this one well. In fact, I recently mentioned it. But he reminds us that the issue in that debate was not that Kerry won but that Bush lost. I remember this clearly. Bush’s claim that the six-way talks with North Korea were the right way to go really stood out, because it was the only policy that he seemed to have a handle on. Krugman’s argument is that Romney may do okay, but it is extremely unlikely that Obama is going to come off as an idiot.
I agree on this point. However, that doesn’t mean that Romney won’t get some traction from the debate. My thinking is that the chattering classes are looking for any reason to give Romney a boost. This isn’t because they want him to win; they just think the race is boring and will be more so if Romney doesn’t start doing better. So I’m expecting a lot of headlines saying things like, “Romney Nails It!” Of course, Romney could be a disaster, in which case that will be, “Romney Nails Own Coffin.”
But the main thing is that Paul Krugman made a funny.