In his latest NY Times
op-ed, Paul Krugman asks, "What have they done with President Obama?"
Krugman longs for the day when President Obama was forceful and transformational, as if that rhetorical facade had any substance in the first place. Those who saw Obama as merely a representation of many liberal desires knew he had no executive experience and generally avoided taking any action that might imperil his path to the White House. It was all about winning in the future, not principles. It's as if Krugman knew this also but feigned support, all to get the guy in the White House so he could bleat about how he wasn't up to snuff for four solid years. Or perhaps he was just drawn in by the drunken romance of it all.
The smart play in 2009 was to load up on Pfizer stock since lefties have undoubtedly been inhaling Xanax in record numbers to take the edge off the hangover.
Is it any coincidence that Pfizer went from around $12 in early 2009 to over $20 today? Look for it to keep climbing as we approach the 2012 election as lefties contemplate a Republican president in the White House. That's a dissertation right there: "Benzodiazepine Use in Light of Broken Political Promises: A Case Study of Early 21st Century American Liberalism."
What did Krugman expect from our celebrity president? Solid leadership based solely on personality? Principled American liberalism? The dude's from Chicago for crying out loud.
Arguably, all he has left is the bully pulpit. But he isn’t even using that — or, rather, he’s using it to reinforce his enemies’ narrative.
Does Paul Krugman know how politics work? When you see a trend in Obama's rhetoric, that is
him; he's the re-election strategy. Obama's "enemies" are winning right now because they are more accurately representing what most Americans believe in, which is the idea that when you're ears deep in debt you cut back; you don't toke a big joint laced with Keynes. Obama and his team have one principle: win the next tilt. To ignore the will of the people would be suicide.
Gotta keep this freight train of failure chugging full steam ahead. Onward!
Krugman acknowledges as much:
...his political strategists seem to believe that he can win re-election by positioning himself as being conciliatory and reasonable, by always being willing to compromise.
However, that idea seems foolish:
But if you ask me, I’d say that the nation wants — and more important, the nation needs — a president who believes in something, and is willing to take a stand.
Obama does believe in something: bigger government. It's being rejected outright by most Americans. People just aren't buying the rhetoric right now because the rhetoric says one thing, yet this administration's actions say another. It's just not working. Most Americans are generally disinterested until right before election time, but the contradiction between this administration's rhetoric and action is so great, even Americans paying only half attention are raising incredulous eyebrows at what's going on in DC.
Is Krugman suggesting that Obama "go rogue" and stand up to his strategists? Should he go off script? I don't know about you, but in my experience, only the most revered and seasoned actors are allowed to go off script—think Serpico or Vito Corleone ... Obama is more like Erica Kane: say your lines, smile, and offer up the sugary Kool-Aid so we can win this thing; we'll get right to work on your redesigned logo, Mr. President.
Krugman's one-party wealth-redistributive dream is in trouble if even Obama can't be effective against the current logic of most Americans:
Mr. Obama is conspicuously failing to mount any kind of challenge to the philosophy now dominating Washington discussion
That philosophy, the philosophy of not spending your way out of financial trouble but cutting back, is how most Americans live their lives, Mr. Krugman. A massive welfare state doesn't appeal to most Americans because they are actually making an effort and are proud to do so. Take your philosophy of huge government and shove it; we can take care of ourselves.
Krugman's disappointment in Obama reminds me of a line from Arthur Penn's Bonnie & Clyde
, when Faye Dunaway as Bonnie says to Clyde as he rejects her physical advances: "Your advertisin' is dandy ... folks'd never guess you don't have a thing to sell."
Obama got many people all hot and bothered. It's a shame there's no payoff.
Obama isn't missing; he's exactly who many people knew him to be: not necessarily a bad guy, but not a proven leader. Look for the next president to have some real leadership experience on his or her resume.