Krugman, 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.
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.