Posted by: Rick | Saturday, July 25, 2009

Paul Krugman Should Know Better. . .

. . . than to bother chastising the pundits for acting like airheads in their analysis of Obama’s somewhat wonkish press conference:

Now, it’s true that George Bush liked to give names of people who would benefit from his tax cuts; but Ronald Reagan’s anecdotes — about, say, the Cadillac-driving welfare queen — generally didn’t name names. And there was a good reason for that: with rare exceptions, Reagan’s folksy anecdotes weren’t true.

So what are the talking heads really complaining about? It’s not what Obama didn’t do — it’s what he did, namely talk seriously about policy. How unpresidential of him!

To his everlasting credit, Paul Krugman once stood practically alone — amidst a gang media hacks transfixed by George W. Bush’s “Codpiece of Authority” — in pointing out that the emperor had no clothes.  He knows what kind of nonsense the beltway gasbags want to hear from their president.  Most of them cut their journalistic teeth covering Ronald Reagan’s myth-making machine.  In their world, policy talk is strictly for low-level grunts who can’t get on television.

Barack Obama wanted to be president, and I hope he didn’t expect people like Gloria Borger to start playing by his rules.  They won’t.  There’s no upside to pissing off the pundits by making them have to think about stuff.  They’ll take out their anger in chunks of your political hide, so you might as well give them something easy to pontificate about.

On that score, I wish we’d seen Obama serve up a platter of Democratic red meat concerning the Republican Party’s current strategy of partisan, brain-dead obstructionism.  His supporters would have gotten energized, and the commentariat might now be debating whether Jim DeMint is — in fact — an asshole, rather than whether Barack Obama has lost his political mojo.

The important thing is for the president to keep the pundits playing with toys of his choosing.



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