Friday, February 6, 2009

Finally, A Sane And Smart Voice

I loved listening to economist Paul Krugman this a.m. on the Morning Joe show. Finally, someone was speaking in full, reasoned sentences on one of these diatribe news shows. What the interview really shows is how the chosen hosts of these various shows are not particularly bright. Or, if they are bright, they are not deep thinkers. Or, if they are deep thinkers, they haven't bothered to put on their thinking caps. Or read the background material. And haven't, in a long time. (Though host Joe Scarborough did do a decent job with his part of the interview.)

They had Krugman on the show because he had written this column this a.m., really taking to task the behavior of Republicans these past few days towards the stimulus package. His first two sentences in the column: "A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to economic recovery. Over the last two weeks, what should have been a deadly serious debate about how to save an economy in desperate straits turned, instead, into hackneyed political theater, with Republicans spouting all the old clich├ęs about wasteful government spending and the wonders of tax cuts." He's not shy, this Krugman guy.

One exchange on the show that I loved in particular was when the female host Mika Brzezinski (at about the 4 minute mark) built her question up into a crescendo, starting with "is it like you say, that the Republicans are pushing the economy over the edge" and then ending with "or is it really Republicans pushing back" because the stimulus "goes against principles of stimulus as defined by [the president's own economic advisor] Larry Summers?" (Ha, ha, take that, she should have said at the end, though I'm assuming she didn't because her teleprompter ended with the word "Summers").

Krugman's answer was brilliant. Uh, no - it's what I said, about pushing us over the edge, was his response. Oh, and the Summers statements? Those were said back last fall, Krugman explained, back when everyone thought this was going to be an ordinary, garden variety depression, before Summers knew how big and deep this thing was going to be. Picking out quotes of what the president's advisor said months ago when things looked quite different is "just a cheap shot," Krugman told her.

It's just a wonderful video segment. Krugman effectively took on Pat Buchanan too. I loved his one line: If you're going to have a stimulus program, you have to do it (which echoes President Obama's comment from yesterday when he said, "The plan's opponents say, 'This is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill.' What do you think a stimulus is? That's the whole point! No seriously, that's the point!")

Oh, and BTW - it's snowing again in Spokane.

No comments: