Now Is the Part Where Paul Krugman Whines

Paul KrugmanKrugman, Krugman, Krugman. Saturday morning, Paul Krugman wrote, Wonks and Minions. We liberal true believers are being mean to him and other people for all their ridiculous anti-Sanders articles. I have little doubt that many Sanders supporters are just as silly as supporters of every other candidate and go on tilt when they read negative things about their candidates. But this is a straw man. Who cares that Sanders’ supporters are angry? Maybe it is time for Krugman and company to look at why they are angry.

Yesterday, I wrote The Complete ‘Bernie Sanders Can’t Win’ Liberal Pundit Article Kit. And my point was not that it is wrong to complain about Sanders. Have at it! Attack Sanders all you want. Just don’t sit around and write more of these articles about how you love his policies but that it would be a big mistake to vote for him. I have policy differences with Sanders myself. I simply have bigger policy differences with Clinton. None of them are that big a deal.

But Krugman mentioned that Mike Konczal (who I really like) is getting some grief about saying that Sanders’ focus on Glass-Steagall and too-big-to-fail banks is all wrong. I agree! As everyone should know, the repeal of Glass-Steagall did not cause the 2008 financial crisis. Then again, Sanders has not been talking about just reinstating Glass-Steagall; he’s been talking about a Glass-Steagall for the 21st century. Truthfully, I don’t much care. But there are some thing that I care about very much.

I doubt I would make a big deal of all this liberal Bernie Sanders sniping. But it all came together. As long as Sanders was getting 30% or less nationally, everyone was fine. But now that he’s sitting at 40%, there is a sudden freak out.

Let’s just look at two things very quickly. First, there is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). I hate it. I think it is a very bad thing. There is no doubt that it would die under a Sanders administration and almost no doubt that Clinton would sign it. Then there is the financial transaction tax that Sanders is a big supporter of. Clinton was forced to propose something similar, a high frequency trading tax, which Dean Baker says is unworkable and is regardless, not the same thing. That’s Clinton all over: protecting Wall Street.

But somehow, we hear liberals complaining about Glass-Steagall. Well, this is a tactic I’ve seen elsewhere — you know, on places like Fox News. For example, have you been hearing all the big news about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal? Most people probably think that’s a thing of the past. But if you’ve been watching Fox News for the last week, you’ve seen little else.

Well, that’s what we are seeing in these recent attacks on Sanders. Are we just going to avoid Clinton’s negatives now? I think it really comes down to the electability issue. And I’m fine with that. I have my own concerns. But let’s make that argument. Let’s not make the argument that Sanders’ policies are bad. This article is sort of the other side of yesterday’s article. There you have people saying, “I love Sanders, but he can’t win.” The problem there is that there is no argument that he can’t win — just the proclamation. And here we have cherry picking of issues.

There is another issue there I tend to side with Hillary Clinton’s rhetoric. I think we need to gradually expand Obamacare to the point where we have universal single-payer health insurance. But are we going to get there via Hillary Clinton? Her pragmatic approach might do it, but it is more likely that it will end in things like getting rid of the taxes on premium private plans and medical devices — things that are part of a pragmatic approach that has already resulted in Obamacare being less secure.

I doubt I would make a big deal of all this liberal Bernie Sanders sniping. But it all came together. As long as Sanders was getting 30% or less nationally, everyone was fine. But now that he’s sitting at 40%, there is a sudden freak out. And it is a freak out from people who have generally been very favorably inclined toward Sanders. Krugman’s sudden attacks on Sanders don’t surprise me. I’ve long said that he was quite a lot more conservative than I am. But it bugs me that he isn’t being honest about what he really thinks.

And now, he’s whining about being attacked from the left. Oh, I know: it isn’t him. He’s just defending the feelings of Mike Konczal. But as far as I remember: Konczal is for a financial transaction tax. Krugman is for one. But it is only Dean Baker who has attacked Clinton on the matter. I don’t expect Sanders to win the nomination. I’m not certain that he should win the nomination. Maybe Clinton really is the better choice. But that is the case that has to be made. And Krugman can whine all he wants. But there are real reasons to complain about his recent anti-Sanders writing.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

12 thoughts on “Now Is the Part Where Paul Krugman Whines

  1. The reason why I think Sanders can win is because there’s no such thing as independents. Anyone who calls themselves “independent” likely favors one side or the other, and is waiting for someone to get excited about. So the idea that candidates need to be “moderate” to be electable is dubious, given that such moderation is just as likely to depress the base turnout. I’m not advocating a Bush strategy of moving far to one side and ignoring everyone else, but people don’t fall for calculation and the “Third Way” anymore.

    This probably doesn’t make any sense, but I think there’s something there.

    • You are largely right. But I think Glenn Greenwald summed up well what I’ve been saying for a while: that I’m afraid that the Democratic Party establishment is as keen on destroying Sanders as the Labour Party is on destroying Corbyn. They really seem to care more about defeating him than actually winning elections. And I’ve been seeing a lot of that from the Democratic Party establishment. And I fear that they would act the same way if Sanders got the nomination. Compromise is all great as long as it is compromise with the right. But compromise with the left is unacceptable. This is not a reason to vote for Clinton. It makes me all the more convinced to vote for Sanders. If they want me to vote for Clinton, Paul Krugman is going to have to start making some better arguments.

      • This happened when Franken ran for the Senate. Amazingly, the local Democats went full-on Fox. Their ad hominem attacks were sheerly brutal. Norm Coleman, a man so soulless maggots look elsewhere for moral advice, didn’t sink nearly as low in the general campaign as the local Democratic Party did in the primaries. And Franken plays nice with these people. I’m not that forgiving. It’s a real skill.

  2. I think it is the end of the pre-primary season sniping. There are only eight more days (thank god) before the first primary. There really isn’t much to talk about that has not been done to death forever and again. We know the positions of the two candidates-one has five thousand word policies that make policy wonks sing with joy and the other has shorter flexible outlines that the media pointlessly whines is too short. Both have positions that can and will change as time goes on and the primaries occur.

    After the first primary, some of the topics that keep being endlessly brought up will go away. If Clinton wins Iowa, South Carolina and Nevada in a blow out, I can see Sanders gone by the end of February since even a massive win in New Hampshire doesn’t do very much for him. But I don’t know if that will be a good thing politically since it gives too much attention to the Republican contest that already gets too damn much attention.

    All I know is I am tired of good friends fighting on my Facebook page over two very good candidates we have very little really to complain about having.

    • I don’t see Clinton winning a blow out in Nevada. I think this is going to grind on. But all along I’ve said that Clinton supporters need to calm down. They remind me of people watching a basketball game, giving up by 14 points, and freaking out every time the lead slips to 12. At this point, I’m afraid Clinton is doing things that are hurting her because of unrealistic panic. But we’ll see.

      • Yeah, something like that. I can see how she would be frustrated after working so dang hard for so long.

        It is going to grind on until probably mid March. After that, who knows? At least it keeps attention being paid to us instead of only the Republicans. But articles like this, just make me want to say “oh my god, stahp!”

        • I didn’t get past the first paragraph. The thing is, Reagan (and others like him) ride a wave. The transformation was already happening in the late 1970s. Carter was part of that. It’s frustrating that Republicans talk about how weak and horrible he was, but he was the leading edge of moving the Democratic Party to the right. Bernie Sanders is similarly riding a wave. And if it weren’t for the fact that Republicans really are crazy and they have a base made up of people who vote for politicians who hate them, Sanders could be transformative in that way. But we know that if Clinton becomes president, there will be a 4 (or 8) year full court press against her because she is a she and because she is Clinton. And the same goes for Sanders because he’s a socialist. Of course, it would also be true of O’Malley because he’s a Democrat.

          • Don’t forget that Sanders is Jewish-there will be a lot of really nasty antisemitism suddenly coming out.

            Basically we have to pick our poison when it comes to the Republicans.

            • The Republicans are so good at hatred, it hardly matters. But when you’ve got “socialism” who needs The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? They kill Christian babies and drink their blood. Just saying.

              • Well, socialism was traditionally blamed on all those Jewish intellectuals from Europe. So there’s tradition in hating both at once.

                OTOH . . . part of the reason I suspect we see “socialism” losing its steam as a negative label might have to do with how overused its been. When clean-water laws are called “socialism,” the word loses its punch.

                • I remember the line from Schindler’s List, “Ah, an educated Jew… like Karl Marx himself.” It’s interesting that Nazism did start as a socialist movement. Joseph Goebbels was very unhappy that Hitler had abandoned socialism for what we’ve come to know Nazis as. Not that the Nazi Party was bad for workers — as long as they weren’t “undesirables.” And Stalin persecuted the Jews terribly.

                  It’s true that conservatives have overplayed their hands. But it is also that the Cold War is over. And it is that things really have gotten worse over the last 40 years. And people look at Sweden and Finland and think, “That seems nice.” The only ones who don’t think that are the ones who believe in having unimaginable wealth. Win or lose, Sanders’ run for the president is going to result in a lot more people calling themselves democratic socialists.

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