excerpted from old essay on Paul Krugman

What Krugman basically sees is a political divide between Liberals and Conservatives, with competing generic ideologies. Liberals seek government intervention, amelioration of the (worst) excesses of Capitalism; Conservatives seek to accelerate Capitalistic processes, which are best summed up by Private Enterprise, rendering a rabid and irrational hostility toward government itself. (The inherent validity of Capitalism is of course unquestioned). This simplistic dogma overlooks a lot: most obviously, the consistent bipartisan commitment to Empire, but also the darker and more complex intricacies of neoliberal capitalism, particularly in the overlap between State and Private Sector; not to mention their absolute ecological destructiveness. What it really ignores is the hegemonic approach to reality that seemingly underlies all mainstream ideology these days, implicitly suggesting that the effects of Capitalism are (still) malleable, a rather compromised position on the effects of economic processes that a Nobel Laureate might recognize as objectionable (admittedly, it does raise severe questions about the supposed objectivity of the “science” Economics). To be sure, every critique of Neoliberalism points out the obvious truths that Krugman spends each column diminishing, rendering into mildness, non-absolutes.

 

In any case, Krugman’s consistent anti-Bernie columns and blog posts (Sanders over the edge, Varieties of Voodoo, Who Hates Obamacare?, The Truth About the Sanders Movement, Bernie’s Bad End, Weakened at Bernie’s)— based never so much on fact as on liberal political commentating orthodoxy— neatly mutated into anti-Trump columns, who, it should be noted, was lumped into the same “demagogue” category as Sanders. All columns were asterisked with the same defense of the beneficent Hillary Clinton, who was only, Paul Krugman repeatedly reminded us, after twenty five years in the public spotlight, a little misunderstood. In the general campaign Krugman wrote column after column attacking the media— aligned pretty much 99% with the Clinton campaign— for being completely unfair to Clinton, and spouting over and over, in the same 3-4 sentences, a banal and uninformed defense of Clinton’s record and objectives (“realistic,” “left-leaning,” “most progressive platform in decades,” “most qualified candidate in history.”) His characterization (this characterization, one seemingly dreamed up as a Clinton talking point and repeated ad nauseam by all sympathetic political commentators) stank of unbelievability and demonstrated a thin and selective reading of words and expressions with a staggering blindness; i.e. no consideration of the evident ideological approach underlying the Clinton political program. Virtually nothing he wrote acknowledged the myriad and obvious flaws of Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic political agenda, which were visible well before the election. These columns were beyond useless, indeed were probably unhelpful to Clinton (who in God’s name could they have convinced who was not already?) and most aesthetically problematically, were written in the graceless pseudo-conversationality that increasingly defines the style of all NYTimes ed board writers (though the imbecilic & delusional pablum of David Brooks remains a world unto its own).

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