Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Krugman nails it

Why is it that, when the Republicans are in power, they play to their base (even the lunatic fringe) and when the Democrats are in power, they play to the center? It really depresses me sometimes. Paul Krugman puts it this way: "Call Yourself a "Centrist" and Magically Get Away with Selling out the American People". Here's a sample:

What do you call someone who eliminates hundreds of thousands of American jobs, deprives millions of adequate health care and nutrition, undermines schools, but offers a $15,000 bonus to affluent people who flip their houses?

A proud centrist. For that is what the senators who ended up calling the tune on the stimulus bill just accomplished.

Even if the original Obama plan — around $800 billion in stimulus, with a substantial fraction of that total given over to ineffective tax cuts — had been enacted, it wouldn’t have been enough to fill the looming hole in the U.S. economy, which the Congressional Budget Office estimates will amount to $2.9 trillion over the next three years.

Yet the centrists did their best to make the plan weaker and worse.
All in all, the centrists’ insistence on comforting the comfortable while afflicting the afflicted will, if reflected in the final bill, lead to substantially lower employment and substantially more suffering.

But how did this happen? I blame President Obama’s belief that he can transcend the partisan divide — a belief that warped his economic strategy.

I really recommend that you read the whole article. I'm sad to say that it's discouraging. What gives me hope, however, is that I have no doubt that President Obama reads Krugman's columns (unlike our former president who boasted that he never read newspapers).

UPDATE: Just found another article that speaks to this issue by Arianna Huffington entitled Bipartisanship Fetishism vs. What's Best for America: Obama Needs to Choose. I guess Obama is more idealistic than I had earlier discerned. I'm afraid he's in for a big disillusionment.

UPDATE2: Here's a comment to the Huffington article that is VERY encouraging if, in fact, it represents what's really happening:

I may be wrong, but in thinking over how things have gone the past two weeks, I think you people may be missing something. As you know, Obama made a very public, sincere overture to the Republicans. He had pieces of the bill removed that they complained about. The House Republicans then stabbed him in the back. They got all giggly-excited that they'd won some sort of political points (what ones aren't clear), and then proceeded to make things difficult in the Senate as well. I thought at the time that they looked like real heels, and now the polls are reflecting that. The public is even more behind Obama than before, and the Republicans keep losing ground. The Republicans are going to realize sooner or later than their obstructionist tack is not working--right about the time the universal health bill needs to be voted on. Meanwhile, the centrist Senators took out THE most popular parts of the stimulus bill--the ones there will be the most hue and cry about resurrecting, either in the compromise bill or in a separate bill. I think they did it on purpose--to achieve just that. This may all come out to Obama's and the nation's advantage in the end.

The person's screen name who wrote this is midwesthousewife.

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