Krugman’s blog, 1/25/16

There were four post yesterday.  The first was “Bernie, Hillary, Barack, and Change:”

Greg Sargent notes that President Obama, in his interview with Glenn Thrush of Politico, essentially supports the Hillary Clinton theory of change over the Bernie Sanders theory:

I think that what Hillary presents is a recognition that translating values into governance and delivering the goods is ultimately the job of politics, making a real-life difference to people in their day-to-day lives. I don’t want to exaggerate those differences, though, because Hillary is really idealistic and progressive. You’d have to be to be in, you know, the position she’s in now, having fought all the battles she’s fought and, you know, taken so many, you know, slings and arrows from the other side.

He could be wrong, of course. But if you’re a progressive who not only supports Sanders but is furious with anyone skeptical about his insurgency, someone who considers Mike Konczal a minion and me a corrupt crook, you might want to ask why Barack Obama is saying essentially the same things as the progressive Bernie skeptics. And you might want to think hard about why you’re not just sure that you’re right, but sure that anyone who disagrees must be evil.

Yesterday’s second post was “Crude Humor:”

Oh, my:

Oh, HSBC. This is terrible. But I like it.
“Now is the winter of our discount Brent”

He apparently tried to link to something from Monty Python, but the video was blocked.  Hence, just the picture…  The third post yesterday was “Delusions of Moderation:”

Well, I guess if David Warsh writes a piece titled “Against Krugman” I have to respond.

David is defending his prediction some time back that Jeb Bush might well make it to the White House. Obviously that’s now a very long shot, which he attributes to “Bush-Clinton fatigue.”

But is that really the story? I would have said that Jeb’s amazing lack of success comes from a fatal lack of charisma that somehow wasn’t visible before. But look, polling averages show all of the mainstream Republican candidates combined with less than 25 percent support; this isn’t about dynastic disdain. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, while facing a much stiffer challenge than expected, still has the support of a majority of primary voters.

So the two parties are, as usual, not at all symmetric, much as some commentators would like them to be. And an establishment GOP candidate would have to do a lot more than consolidate the divided support for such candidates to win; he’d have to win over large numbers of voters currently supporting Trump or Cruz.

Beyond the politics, however, what about substance? David insists that there are real moderates on the Republican side. Since he’s calling for a Jeb/Kasich switch, I assume that he includes Jeb in that category. But as the chart above shows, Jeb is calling for bigger, more regressive tax cuts than anything his brother ever passed. He wants to privatize Medicare. He’s turning to the architects of the Iraq War (Paul Wolfowitz!) for foreign policy advice. This is moderation?

Maybe there is a route by which someone like Kasich could still become the GOP nominee. But it would require a near-miracle — and even then, you would get someone who only seems remotely moderate because you’ve defined moderation way, way down.

The last post yesterday was “Deep Manure and the Future:”

I review Robert Gordon’s new book.



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