Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The blackmail caucus

with 2 comments

Good column this morning by Paul Krugman:

If President Obama is re-elected, health care coverage will expand dramatically, taxes on the wealthy will go up and Wall Street will face tougher regulation. If Mitt Romney wins instead, health coverage will shrink substantially, taxes on the wealthy will fall to levels not seen in 80 years and financial regulation will be rolled back.

Given the starkness of this difference, you might have expected to see people from both sides of the political divide urging voters to cast their ballots based on the issues. Lately, however, I’ve seen a growing number of Romney supporters making a quite different argument. Vote for Mr. Romney, they say, because if he loses, Republicans will destroy the economy.

O.K., they don’t quite put it that way. The argument is phrased in terms of “partisan gridlock,” as if both parties were equally extreme. But they aren’t. This is, in reality, all about appeasing the hard men of the Republican Party.

If you want an example of what I’m talking about, consider the remarkable — in a bad way — editorial in which The Des Moines Register endorsed Mr. Romney. The paper acknowledged that Mr. Obama’s signature economic policy, the 2009 stimulus, was the right thing to do. It also acknowledged that Mr. Obama tried hard to reach out across the partisan divide, but was rebuffed.

Yet it endorsed his opponent anyway, offering some half-hearted support for Romneynomics, but mainly asserting that Mr. Romney would be able to work with Democrats in a way that Mr. Obama has not been able to work with Republicans. Why? Well, the paper claims — as many of those making this argument do — that, in office, Mr. Romney would be far more centrist than anything he has said in the campaign would indicate. (And the notion that he has been lying all along is supposed to be a point in his favor?) But mostly it just takes it for granted that Democrats would be more reasonable.

Is this a good argument?

The starting point for many “vote for Romney or else” statements is the notion that a re-elected President Obama wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything in his second term. What this misses is the fact that he has already accomplished a great deal, in the form of health reform and financial reform — reforms that will go into effect if, and only if, he is re-elected.

But would Mr. Obama be able to negotiate a Grand Bargain on the budget? . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

2 November 2012 at 8:53 am

Posted in Congress, Election

2 Responses

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  1. Most columnists, including Krugman, missed the point about the Register endorsement. Some of Obama’s staff unwisely tried to exert editorial control before publication of an interview given to the paper. That’s the biggest hot button journalists have. They’re very protective of their right to control content in their own media outlet. In retaliation, they endorsed Romney, while still saying in effect that Obama’s policies are better. It was a “Don’t tread on me” statement.

    Invisible Mikey

    2 November 2012 at 10:04 am

  2. Seems to me like a response lacking in wisdom and judgment: cutting off the nose to spite the face. If you are correct in the reasons, their actions seem completely irresponsible to me.

    LeisureGuy

    2 November 2012 at 10:47 am


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