Paul Krugman got a taste of what President Obama deals with every single day during his debate with Joe Scarborough on Charlie Rose.
Joe Scarborough had two arguments. He argued that the debt is a generational crisis, and that we must reform entitlements. Scarborough demonstrated how devoid of facts he was by quoting something Krugman wrote fifteen years ago. For the most part, Scarborough’s position echoed the same tired alarms that Republicans always sound when a Democrat is president. While he was in Congress, Joe Scarborough supported the complete destruction of the Clinton surplus by voting for the Bush tax cuts that added $1.6 trillion to the deficit. Thus, Scarborough’s concern about the debt is a fairly new phenomenon.
Clip of Scarborough playing gotcha:
Krugman argued that household debt has been paid down, the private sector is recovering, all that is standing in the way of larger economic growth is the Republican obsession with austerity. Krugman argued the Keynesian approach, while Scarborough called the debt a “generational crisis,” and inaccurately linked it to Social Security. Scarborough was so full unfounded Republican ideological BS, that Krugman uttered a stunned wow. Krugnan closed the debate by telling Scarborough that he was mushing together two different issues.
Here is a clip:
Paul Krugman, who has at times been hard on Obama, got a taste of what the president deals with every single day. They can be no serious policy discussion, because Republicans like Scarborough argue everything with ideology. Krugman had the facts on his side, but that didn’t matter to Scarborough. The Morning Joe host ignored facts and reality. Scarborough pulled a straight out of the 1990s GOP move at the end of the debate by arguing that this gridlocked government could both grow the economy and reduce the debt by privatizing Medicare and Social Security. Joe Scarborough definitely trotted all of the talking points.
Krugman wrote that he thought he did poorly, “Well, we’ll see how it comes out after editing, but I feel that I just had my Denver debate moment: I was tired, cranky, and unready for the blizzard of misleading factoids and diversionary stuff (In 1997 you said that the aging population was a big problem! When Social Security was founded life expectancy was only 62!) Oh, and I wasn’t prepared for Joe Scarborough’s slipperiness about what he actually advocates (he’s for more spending in the near term? Who knew?)”
I thought Krugman did fairly well given what he was dealing with. He thought he was going to have a policy debate, but Joe Scarborough brought a political debate. The fact that Krugman was unprepared for the misleading factoids and diversions should give him a bit of insight into what President Obama has gone through from the moment that he came into office.
It is easy to sit on sidelines and criticize Obama as the some on the left do for fun, sport, and profit. (For his part, Krugman has been fair to Obama. He criticizes when it is called for, and praises when deserved.) The lesson here is that until one walks a mile in his shoes, it is difficult to understand what Obama is dealing with.
Take Paul Krugman’s experience and multiply it by a thousand, and you are living in Obama’s world.
Given this political environment, it is amazing that President Obama gets anything accomplished at all.