"KRUGMAN Wins Nobel Prize" was the headline, though not in the Times, which, online at least, was remarkably subdued about it. Maybe they don't like blowing their own horn, or maybe they're rightfully embarrassed that they let right-wing nitwits and the world's worst-ever ombudsman claw at him. Or maybe they just don't like him, I dunno. The dedicated sidewalk psychoanalyst has a lifetime of enjoyment ahead of him with the wreck of the USS Glorious Ronald Wilson Reagan Revolution, just as accident investigators are gonna find all sorts of curiosities among the flotsam. These people brought you Judith Miller, in case you've forgotten (and it's a measure of how utterly beyond the previous Worst Administration in History the Bush Crime Gang has gone when you consider that it's entirely understandable if you have forgotten). How many times, fer instance, is it necessary to read Gail Collins before you figure out she'd like to be a public intellectual like Bill Kristol, or a consummate prose stylist like Maureen Dowd? Left Blogtopia erupted over Kristol's Op-Ed sinecure, but, y'know, it's Krugman who got the Super Glue on the Keyboard treatment, not Kristol, the same way it's MoveOn that got publicly hammered by the "Democratic" Congress. Middle-aged fucking liberals in this country have been suffering from Reagan/Stockholm Syndrome for their entire adult lives; they can't be trusted.
Anyway, I know nothing about Economics, or rather, I know this: I saw one of its priests on the teevee this weekend explaining that it was called The Dismal Science because it has to look at unpleasant facts. Really. I think the segment ended before anyone could ask why it felt obligated to create some if the natural rate fell below a certain level. Anyhow, when I first saw that Krugman won the Nobel I looked up Milton Friedman, the father of Freedom. His was awarded in 1976, to which I could only reply that someone needs to explain to those Swedish refs that makeup calls are supposed to come during the same game, or at minimum, the same century.
(Speaking of the Gray Lady's Libs, we didn't have the energy yesterday to tackle Frank Rich's Sunday piece, which is another reason we thank our Explicitly Metaphorical Supreme Being there's Bob Somerby, who did it better and quicker than we'd have ever done. Yes, the McCain campaign is the one that's beyond the pale, excepting that Republicans destroyed the palings two generations ago. But the myth of Barack Obama as the wholly improbable African American candidate whose rise betokens a Novus Ordo Seclorum of post-racial harmony, excepting he might be assassinated--last seen gasping for breath as the Spring primary season advanced, and which Rich single-handedly tries to resuscitate--is just bollocks. And I'd have simply said it was bollocks, but Somerby digs up Rich mourning the passing of the Wholly Virtual Candidacy of Colin Powell back in 1995, and without noting the General's wholly improbable skin tone. The Gray Lady's Libs backed Colin Powell! for a couple of trendy weeks, probably just to break the monotony of sliming Bill Clinton three times in a row. Did something happen between 1995 and 2007 to re-preposterize an African-American candidacy? Or was the concept de-preposterized by Powell belonging to the anti-civil rights party, thereby validating him? Or have we simply gone too long with too many people who lie for a living? )
Which would bring us to David Brooks, except that between starting this piece last night and ending it, as it's now projected, sometime before the election, I ran into Roy running into David Frum's performance on Rachel Maddow's show. David Frum was pleading for civility in politics, which gave me something of a new perspective: now that the Ghost Dance phase has reached its nadir, now that the Real Power behind those Gloriously Revolutionary Republican majorities is on view, in all its mis-matched finery and racist necktie-party glory, prissy little third-tier functionaries like Brooks and Frum want nothing to do with it. (It would, of course, be different if the plan were working.) Packing the ol' Ghost Shirt in mothballs isn't easy, and it must be that much tougher in light of the brief glimmer of mid-summer hope, not that McCain might win, but that Obama might lose, which was followed as if on cue by the bathos that is Sarah Palin.
So whaddya do when you find out you're not actually bulletproof, when the UFOs don't pick you up and the Messiah fails to show? When even doubling down, which never failed you before, just leaves you wandering around the stage muttering to yourself? Why, cue the organist, and gimme that olde tyme religion:
Obama will try to straddle the two camps — he seems to sympathize with both sides — but the liberals will win. Over the past decade, liberals have mounted a campaign against Robert Rubin-style economic policies, and they control the Congressional power centers. Even if he’s so inclined, it’s difficult for a president to overrule the committee chairmen of his own party. It is more difficult to do that when the president is a Washington novice and the chairmen are skilled political hands. It is most difficult when the president has no record of confronting his own party elders. It’s completely impossible when the economy is in a steep recession, and an air of economic crisis pervades the nation.
What we’re going to see, in short, is the Gingrich revolution in reverse and on steroids. There will be a big increase in spending and deficits. In normal times, moderates could have restrained the zeal on the left. In an economic crisis, not a chance. The over-reach is coming. The backlash is next.
I've been trying to come up with a name for this next phase, the one where "conservative" punditasters like Brooks get to pretend that nothing they've said for the past decade, from "Restoring Honor and Decency to the White House", through "Get Over It", "Irrational Bush Hatred", and "The Surge Is Working", right up to "Sarah Palin: Voice of the Working Stiff" ever crossed their lips. I'm reminded of the big launch party for Irrational Bush Hatred, when the likes of Rich Lowry and Chuck Krauthammer allowed as how, okay, maybe some people didn't care for Bill Clinton much, either, but it sure wasn't them. I'm reminded--every time I open one of his pieces--how Brooks said he needed to rethink Iraq, a year after it turned to shit, then never mentioned the process again until six or eight months later, when he was simply confirmed as Sadder But Wiser. (His acceptance of the Workingness of The Surge was instantaneous by comparison. Go figure, huh.) Maybe these guys should see Frank Rich for some tips. David Brooks, restaurant critic, has a nice ring to it, I think.