Since when do presidential candidates do “then” and “now”
comparisons on columnist’s writings? Like I said, very weird and also a bit
defensive, especially since the quotes are truncated so badly as to totally misrepresent the column Krugman wrote.
Take this snippet:
KRUGMAN THEN: Obama’s Health Care Plan “Is Smart And Serious, Put Together
By People Who Know What They’re Doing.” Paul Krugman wrote, “The
Obama plan is smart and serious, put together by people who know what they’re
doing…So there’s a lot to commend the Obama plan.” [New
York Times, 6/4/07]
KRUGMAN NOW: “The Fundamental Weakness Of The Obama Plan Was Apparent
From The Beginning.” Paul Krugman wrote, “The fundamental weakness
of the Obama plan was apparent from the beginning.” [New
York Times, 11/30/07]
In the “then” section above there is another point completely left
out of Obama’s (ahem) “Fact Check” item:
Now for the bad news. Although Mr. Obama says he has a plan for universal
health care, he actually doesn’t Ã¢â‚¬” a point Mr. Edwards made in
last night’s debate. The Obama plan doesn’t mandate insurance
for adults. So some people would take their chances Ã¢â‚¬” and then end up
receiving treatment at other people’s expense when they ended up in
emergency rooms. In that regard it’s actually weaker than the Schwarzenegger
I asked David Cutler, a Harvard economist who helped put together the Obama
plan, about this omission. His answer was that Mr. Obama is reluctant to impose
a mandate that might not be enforceable, and that he hopes Ã¢â‚¬” based,
to be fair, on some estimates by Mr. Cutler and others Ã¢â‚¬” that a combination
of subsidies and outreach can get all but a tiny fraction of the population
insured without a mandate. Call it the timidity of hope. … ..
There is no “then” and “now” with Krugman. Referring to
Obama’s health care plan as the “timidity of hope” is hardly positive.
Krugman has been consistent throughout. However, you sure won’t get that from
Obama’s “Fact Check” page.
Looking further into Obama’s “Fact Check” pages, things get worse quickly. This
headline isn’t exactly tolerant: Obama Has Never Been A Muslim, And Is
a Committed Christian. There is nothing wrong with being a Muslim. It’s
followed by OBAMA IS NOT AND HAS NEVER BEEN A MUSLIM, which is in all caps.
I fully understand the necessity of attacking on the radical school angle, the
madrassa slur, but this comes off completely paranoid. It’s also a slam against
honest American Muslim citizens. Hey, but it’s a nod to evangelicals and anti Muslims so why not, right? This is the trouble
when you start trying to prove your religious purity.
But why is Obama targeting Krugman on his website? Krugman believes mandates
are critical in order to get everyone insured. Without mandates, which must include
adults to be successful, you simply aren’t going to get universal health coverage.
Maybe Obama’s worried that the word will get out that his plan falls short
of universal coverage. That would be because it does. Or maybe it’s because
he doesn’t believe we can get to universal coverage and isn’t even going to
try. That would be more trouble for him in the primaries.
Quoting Krugman’s column, call it the timidity of hope.