Thursday, January 28, 2016

Krugman as Part of the Vichy Left Brand Cover for the Democratic Party Messaging Apparatus

Yves Smith, quite correctly, lays into Krugman for being a political hatchet man/apologist for the Obama regime, rather than a serious economist:
Paul Krugman’s recent posts have been most peculiar. Several have looked uncomfortably like special pleading for political figures he likes, notably Hillary Clinton. He has, in my judgement, stooped rather far down in attacking people well below him in the public relations food chain, violating one of the unwritten rules of discourse: if you are going to kick someone, you kick up or at least sideways.

Perhaps the most egregious and clearest cut case is his refusal to address the substance of a completely legitimate, well-documented article by David Dayen outing Krugman, and to a lesser degree, his fellow traveler Mike Konczal, in abjectly misrepresenting Sanders’ financial reform proposals and attacking that straw man....

What so irritated Krugman, and led him to issue not one but two posts going after Dayen on a bizarre no-name, no-link basis? ...

Krugman’s first post, Wonks and Minions, went full bore ad hominem. Members of his audience who would not know that Krugman was settling a particular score would mistakenly see this as an effort to depict many of Sanders’ backers as hysterics and unsound, clearly less trustworthy than established fauxgressive brand names like Ezra Klein, Jonathan Cohn, and Jonathan Chait. Treating this list as if it were a pantheon of intellectual accomplishment is a big tell as to where Krugman is coming from. Established readers will recognize Klein as a shallow apologist for neoliberalism; we’ve referred to him as Baghdad Bob...

And here’s the priceless part in Krugman’s faux high ground post: he acts as if he’s riding in to defend Konczal when Dayen’s article was almost entirely about Krugman. And Krugman’s failure to offer a substantive response means he’s resorting to old trick of trial lawyers at the end of their rope: “When the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When neither is on you side, pound the table.” The post is full of cheap slurs...

This is remarkable, and in a very bad way. Krugman conflates the content of his inbox with Dayen’s post via the “minions” in the headline and text, tarring Dayen with being emotional and accusing his of depicting Krugman and Konczal as evil. Moreover he simply chooses to deny the evidence presented by Dayen in his post,..

Is Krugman off his meds? Where does this paranoid “those who challenge my positions and those of my allies are calling me evil and a corrupt crook” lunacy come from? Straw manning isn’t an adequate depiction of what is going on here, since “straw man” is a misrepresentation of the content of a position. Krugman goes well beyond that to accuse Dayen of personal enmity and moraL abolutism.

The Krugman that was early to stand up to the Iraq War, who was incisive before and during the crisis has been very much in absence since Obama took office. It’s hard to understand the loss of intellectual independence. That may not make Krugman any worse than other Democratic party apparatchiks, but he continues to believe he is other than that, and the lashing out at Dayen looks like a wounded denial of his current role. Krugman and Konczal need to be seen as what they are: part of the Vichy Left brand cover for the Democratic party messaging apparatus. Krugman, sadly, has chosen to diminish himself for a not very worthy cause.
Note, I have purposely left out of this post Yves' defense of Sanders' view on banking regulation, a view I am not fond of. I have merely focused on the brilliant exposure that Yves has brought to Krugman's role as, well, a Vichy Left brand cover for the Democratic party messaging apparatus.

The full Yves Smith essay is here: Krugman’s Cowardly, Dishonest Attack on David Dayen Over Krugman’s Misrepresentation of Sanders’ Financial Reforms.



  1. Replies
    1. buts thats the problem. We know that but to a vast audience of people he is Nobel prize winning economist and he doesn't let them know he is writing an op ed for the Democratic Party

  2. A leftist calling out Krugman is almost as good as J Bush vs Rub(e)io clown show!