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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Is Krugman going to be really mad at Obama again soon? 

Lest we forget, not long ago Paul Krugman was acting up as Obama's #1 critic from the left, earning a Newsweek cover story as "Obama's toughest liberal critic."

Then, suddenly, he became a cheerleader for all things Obama! Wha' happened?

We learn from New York Magazine that Obama invited Krugman to a nice meal, applied the Obama charm, and maybe made a promise...
Today, Krugman's message is: Stay the course. By "the course," does he mean the one that previously had us headed over the cliff?... Whoa. How did he get from there to here?

[T]he White House had him over for dinner ... The conversation between them and the Obama economic team was off the record, but the White House's "engagement" policy sure seems to have worked ...

So what might Krugman have learned at the White House that adjusted his vision? He provides a clue in an interview published over the weekend in the Guardian....

"You know, the buzz I'm getting is that a second-round stimulus might well come on the agenda."

Hmmm, the buzz where could that be coming from?

"It's what you hear from people who talk to people who talk to people," he said. Of course, you hardly need the intermediary if you have direct access to the people, like over dinner at the White House ...

For now, the White House has solved its Krugman problem. Next stop: North Korea!
Wow, back in my single days I applied the old "dinner, charm and a promise" routine many times, and never got results like that! Is Krugman a cheap date? (Or is dinner more seductive at the White House than at White Castle?) Since then, Krugman has been all over the place as an Obama supporter enthusiastically arguing for more stimulus.

But you know, those you seduce rarely stay "wowed" forever -- and about that promise...

Around the blogroll we find a lot of informed opinion that there is no chance a second stimulus is coming, or that Obama will stick his neck out to lobby for one he knows he can't get.

(E.g., Megan McArdle, "would Obama and the Democrats rather have a second stimulus or health care reform?"; and Economics of Contempt, "Krugman is a first-rate economist, but he's not especially savvy politically, and this is one of those times when his political/legislative inexperience shows. The reality is that the administration isn't going to come back to Congress for a second stimulus package, and for good reason: A second stimulus is politically impossible", among others.)

And while I don't remember "wowing" many of my dates, I sure remember the blowback I got from some of them after breakin..., er, they unfortunately misunderstood, over-interpreted, carefully qualified representations I'd made to them.

I still carry the scorch marks. There is no wrath like that of someone who rolled over for you after a cheap date due to a promise you made, after you explain to them the mistake they made in trust..., er, interpreting what you said.

So are Obama's Krugman problems really over? Or only on hiatus until the results of that meal are fully digested? So that Obama should be stocking up on some heartburn medication...