Krugman cowers in curious case of Klein confrontationism:
I like epic confrontation as much as the next guy, and probably more so.... But we need a strategy to deal with the crazies if they really do prove irredeemably crazy, which seems all too possible.
In short, Krugman would take the coin, or the scrip, or whatever--anything to avert the incalculable pain of a global meltdown.
Klein's prosecutorial argument: We have got to have this partisan showdown sometime or another. Krugman's defense: True enough, but we should have had it at the cliff's edge, when the damage was both containable and comparatively modest.
I find this inversion--or at least what I think is an inversion--interesting. Ordinarily one would expect the more radical Krugman to be the one advocating extreme political aggression, and for Beltway-wonderwonk Klein to be counseling peace at virtually any cost, given the dire alternative. Yet here it's the radical urging any port in the coming storm, while the wonk is damning the torpedoes and plowing full steam ahead (sorry, but revolutionary times call for heavily clichéd arms).
What's more, we've got mild-mannered Obama (so far) siding with the torpedo-damning crowd, and Krugman suspecting that Obama will blink, which, I happen to agree, he will--for the same global-economic reasons that have Krugman petrified.
Yet Klein is now correct for the very reason that Krugman was correct before: We have got to have this partisan showdown sometime or another, and since we missed our less damaging chance, this is what's left.
What a mess.