Paul Krugman’s latest blog post entitled, "He Wasn’t the One We’ve Been Waiting for," strikes a grim tone:
I’m pretty close to giving up on Mr. Obama, who seems determined to confirm every doubt I and others ever had about whether he was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.
Krugman’s doubts about Mr. Obama are well chronicled, dating back to the campaign for the Democratic party’s 2008 presidential nomination. Krugman’s major criticisms of Obama during the primary campaign basically boiled down to this:
- The three major candidates for the Democratic nomination proposed broadly similar agendas. To the extent that policy differences did exist among the candidates, Mr. Obama’s policy proposals were the least bold and progressive.
- Mr. Obama displayed a disturbing willingness to attack his opponents from the right.
- Mr. Obama also displayed a disturbing tendency to adopt right-wing talking points in a misguided effort to sound bipartisan.
- Mr. Obama’s intent to give insurance companies “a seat at the table” for healthcare suggested disturbing naïveté on Obama’s part.
Diehard Obama supporters were quick to dismiss Krugman’s criticisms as some sort of unjustified favoritism towards the other candidates (remember the rumor about Krugman’s nonexistent son working for the Clinton campaign?).
However, the truth is, Krugman was simply viewing Mr. Obama through a different lens than were many of Obama’s diehard supporters. Looking past Obama’s lofty message of "hope" and "change," Krugman evaluated Mr. Obama based on his policy proposals. In the end, Krugman was left wondering whether Mr. Obama “was ready to fight for what his supporters believed in.”
The point of this post is not to suggest that we would have been better off if Clinton or Edwards won the nomination. Rather, I am writing this because, in 2007 and 2008, there was actually somewhat of a backlash against Krugman among progressives that backed Obama. How dare Krugman attack their hero (never mind that Krugman’s criticisms were from the left, in support of progressive ideals)?
Well, it is now clear that Krugman’s doubts about Obama much were justified. Much — if not most — of the Democratic Party’s progressive base is now disillusioned with the Obama administration’s performance thus far.
Krugman did not say it, so I will: he told us so.