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December 5, 2011
Romney Cynical, Gingrich Clueless, So Sayeth Krugman
In his latest NYT editorial, Krugman maintains that a Republican candidate, in order to hold the conservative base, must be:
1. Against Big Government
2. Against high taxes
3. Against cuts to Social Security and Medicare
4. Against Obama even though (a) he enacted a Republican designed (sic) health reform and (b) killed Osama bin Laden
5. Against Obama because he is a radical socialist who is undermining American security
Krugman claims that to hold (1)-(5) one must be totally clueless or totally cynical. Ergo any Republican candidate must be totally clueless or totally cynical. He further claims that Romney manages the above because he is totally cynical and that Gingrich manages to endorse (1)-(5) because he is totally clueless. This is because Gingrich is by nature gifted with double-think. He is naturally wired to be able to believe what he says when he says it even though it contradicts what he says on other occasions.
Krugman's whole thesis is predicated on maintaining that (1)-(5) are both necessary to the Republican platform and collectively incompatible.
Shrinking taxes and government, (1) and (2), obviously go together. But as regards (3), is it possible to rationalize Social Security and medicare without gutting Social Security and medicare? This is precisely the Ryan plan. While (3) is (appropriately) the third-rail of politics, Republicans and even Obama are willing to tackle the problem. The Republican platform certainly must be against gutting SS and medicare but is hardly against trying to improve the cost-benefit ratio of both.
Moreover (1) and (2) are obviously consistent with (5). Being against big government entails being against radical socialism and is certainly consistent being against someone who is arguably undermining American security and has a sub rosa socialist agenda.
That leaves (4).
Is it inconsistent to be against Obama even though "he killed bin Laden"? There is nothing incompatible with being on balance against a person's record even though he has a few positives under his belt. On balance the negatives totally overwhelm the positives. Moreover, Obama dragged his heels on the clandestine takeout of bin Laden. It is a stretch to claim Obama "killed bin Laden."
It is Krugman that has to fall on his own sword. He is the one who totally logically clueless or totally cynical - take your choice.
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