This is sad, just sad. In Salon, Thomas Frank's extended, historically uninformed, politically unaware and utterly feckless assault on Paul Krugman's recent defense of the Obama administration, in Rolling Stone. All Krugman has done is awaken to the constraining political realities that President Obama faced early in his first term. That's why Krugman's change of heart. Politically, he has matured.
Obama's predicament in securing major legislation such as the stimulus package and Affordable Care Act lay not merely in the GOP's monolithic opposition to anything Obamian, but in the gaggle of conservative Democratic opposition as well. You may recall, for instance, that Obama's Democratic Senate lacked the Democratic votes for the ACA's perfectly sensible "public option." Similar "friendly" opposition to anything approaching revolutionary change pervaded Obama's first term. Yet Frank neglects this immovable predicament of the past:
What the times called for was a second New Deal, for a wholesale makeover of the economic system.... The right as we know it was utterly prostrate in 2008; its signature ideas were completely discredited; its time was obviously up and prominent historians were writing its obituary.
Hell, in the original New Deal the Democratic Congress of 1933 was pushing Roosevelt to the left. The situations are mammothly incomparable. And yet Frank, who knows better, doesn't even acknowledge the incomparability. It's sad.