Monday, March 03, 2008

Dear Paul Krugman

Hi, Paul Krugman, a word, please: Stop writing about the Democratic primary. Yes, yes, you support Clinton and think Obama would be a mistake. Fine. But when you write paragraphs like the following, it upsets me:
Now, nobody would mistake Mr. Obama for a Republican — although contrary to claims by both supporters and opponents, his voting record places him, with Senator Clinton, more or less in the center of the Democratic Party, rather than in its progressive wing.
See, you write for the New York Times, and despite the continued op-ed presence of Maureen Dowd, there are certain standards. You're smarter than this "Obama as Republican" meme, and the "more or less" shows it. You're fudging. And then you write this:
But Mr. Obama, instead of emphasizing the harm done by the other party’s rule, likes to blame both sides for our sorry political state.
So when Obama criticizes the Iraq war, the Bush tax cuts, or the shoddy state of health care, he's not criticizing Bush? Really? And, by the way, I think you know that the Democratic party has enabled Bush in a lot of ways. You're aware of this, right? Good, just checking.
That — along with his adoption of conservative talking points on the crucial issue of health care — is why Mr. Obama’s rise has caused such division among progressive activists, the very people one might have expected to be unified and energized by the prospect of finally ending the long era of Republican political dominance.
Now, you've been trying this one for a while, this "conservative talking points" angle. Would you mind being specific about those conservative talking points? Has Obama been calling Clinton's plan socialized medicine? Have I been missing that somewhere? In his votes (in both the Illinois and U.S. Senate) to spread affordable health-care coverage, has he been arguing against health care as foundational to a major world economy? Oh, he hasn't? Then I'm a little confused, I guess. But you do end on a good point:
All in all, the Democrats are in a place few expected a year ago. The 2008 campaign, it seems, will be waged on the basis of personality, not political philosophy.
You're right: the Clinton campaign signs that read "Hillary!"? Those are totally about political philosophy. Totally.

For more on this, go here.

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