Saturday, March 29, 2008

Robert Kuttner Lauds Obama's Cooper Union Speech And Blasts Paul Krugman For Becoming A Hillary Hack

Robert Kuttner, a progressive author and a co-founder of the American Prospect, blasts Paul Krugman, formerly a Princeton professor and now at UC at Berkeley, for sniping at Barack Obama in his New York Times columns.

"Barack Obama's speech on the financial crisis was a remarkable breakthrough," Kuttner writes in a March 28 column called Obama v. Krugman, adding that "I wish I had written the speech. It is this kind of leadership and truth-telling that is the predicate for the shift in public opinion required to produce legislative change. A radical, appropriately nuanced, and deeply public-minded description of what has occurred, the speech was Roosevelt quality: the president as teacher-in-chief."

He goes on to say that it "...also showed real understanding and subtlety in grasping how financial 'innovation' had outrun regulation, as well as a historical sense of the abuses of the 1920s repeating themselves. Obama is one of the few mainstream leaders -- Barney Frank is another -- calling for capital requirements to be extended to every category of financial institution that creates credit. This is exactly what's needed to prevent the next meltdown...."

He then takes on Paul Krugman, who is a fierce critique of the Bush administration's policies, and a leading progrssive economist.

"A real puzzle here is the repeated assertion by columnist Paul Krugman, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, that Clinton's views on economic policy are more progressive than Obama's. Indeed, Obama's stunning speech read as if it were informed by recent Krugman columns on the meltdown. Hillary has not said anything close to what Obama (or Krugman) has suggested.
But Krugman, ordinarily an ornament of fair-minded progressive economics commentary, writes almost as if he has become part of the Clinton campaign. His latest characterization of Obama's proposals in commenting on the New York speech -- 'cautious and relatively orthodox' -- was preposterous. Even if Krugman's sympathies are with Clinton, he owes it to his readers and to his own credibility to play it straight and credit Obama with a breakthrough when credit is due. This was surely one of those times."

Read Paul Krugman's column here.

Hans Sandberg

Post a Comment