I’ve been sitting here entertaining adjectives like “wildly,” “vastly,” “incredibly,” “ridiculously,” and various combinations thereof. Paul Krugman’s NYT column today [adjective] overstates the role of John Edwards in putting universal health care policy on the agenda for Democrats. Given that I can’t imagine Krugman ever seriously thought Edwards was going to win the nomination, I’ve wondered whether his regular, strong implicit endorsements of him serve as a hedge to give him column fodder if the Democrats win in 2008. In other words, the column will still be mostly critical of the adminstration, and occsaionally there will be references to how we wouldn’t have Problem X if the Democrats had voted for Edwards.

Interesting contrast between Democrats and Republicans last night at the Democratic debate: the biggest cheer of the evening from the audience was at the proposal thet, regardless of who wins, the two candidates onstage run on the same ticket for the general election. If someone posed that to a Republican audience at a debate of McCain vs. Romney, would there be any applause at all?

Meanwhile: Regarding my 200-days-in-2008 exercise plan, I end January with 17 stars, which is roughly exactly on the pace I need.

Author: jeremy

I am the Ethel and John Lindgren Professor of Sociology and a Faculty Fellow in the Institute for Policy Research at Northwestern University.

3 thoughts on “hedges”

  1. I gotta agree — none of the issues Krugman mentioned would have been off the radar for any viable Democratic Party candidate. It may be the case that Edwards encouraged bolder plans out of Clinton and Obama, though. There’s a real issue that the newish liberal think tanks haven’t yet learned the lesson from their right-wing counterparts that they should push the policies they want and not those that will make the Washington Post op-ed page happy.

    As for his column, I think there’s enough material in the economic news to keep him going.


  2. I don’t think he’s using Edwards as a hedge for column fodder. Krugman has made it clear, in his columns and his latest book, that he prefers to see a partisan, progressive Dem win the nomination. He clearly doesn’t see Clinton or Obama as progressive enough for real social change, and he’s very critical of Obama’s plans for bipartisanship.

    I love Krugman, but I think he’s out to lunch in thinking that progressives can force real change to happen.

    As for Edwards, one thing that PK doesn’t note is that Edwards was running — unofficially, at least — way before Obama got into the race, so it’s not surprising that he pushed policy initiatives earlier.


  3. RFN: I agree that Krugman would like a candidate who is going to run less centrist than either Clinton or Obama will run. I’m not convinced Krugman would like a candidate who will actually win. (And understand this comes from a perspective of someone who has enormous intellectual respect for Krugman, at least when he’s focusing on articulating issues than about reminding readers how he’s was right all along about this or that.)

    Part of this is that it’s hard for me to imagine what Krugman’s column is going to be like without a Republican in the White House. Nobody does ultrarational indignation better.


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