Tuesday, January 6, 2009


It's hard to find someone who has been more right about everything for several years now than Paul Krugman. Here he is again:

And that gets us to politics. This really does look like a plan that falls well short of what advocates of strong stimulus were hoping for — and it seems as if that was done in order to win Republican votes. Yet even if the plan gets the hoped-for 80 votes in the Senate, which seems doubtful, responsibility for the plan’s perceived failure, if it’s spun that way, will be placed on Democrats.

I see the following scenario: a weak stimulus plan, perhaps even weaker than what we’re talking about now, is crafted to win those extra GOP votes. The plan limits the rise in unemployment, but things are still pretty bad, with the rate peaking at something like 9 percent and coming down only slowly. And then Mitch McConnell says “See, government spending doesn’t work.”

Let’s hope I’ve got this wrong.

I frankly have no idea what Obama thinks he's doing with this stimulus maneuvering, which would be OK, except that it's beginning to look like Obama doesn't, either. All this bipartisanship stuff will tickle the David Broders pink (they are currently a dull shade of red), but Republicans don't listen to David Broder. They listen to Rush Limbaugh. And there is no way of reaching some kind of accord with Rush Limbaugh -- he's paid in excess of $20,000,000 a year to be unreasonable. In the end, as goes Limbaugh and his followers, will go Mitch McConnell and congressional Republicans -- they will have no choice.

This was one of my fears about Obama -- that in his eagerness to please the Broderites to whom he owes his meteoric ascent, he would get rolled by establishment Washington. And it's happening. If he doesn't show substantial progress on the economy, especially after talking about creating 3,000,000 jobs, he's going to find himself in a philosophical fight with a movement that is advocating policies that should, by all rights, be thoroughly discredited.