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NYT Columnists Deserting Obama?

First it was Paul Krugman, denouncing the inadequacy of the Obama administration’s response to unemployment and slow growth. Then it was Maureen Dowd, unleashing a fiery salvo at what she sees as the President’s shortcomings.

And now, it is “Et tu, Nick Kristof?” as the Times‘ most indefatigable voice for human rights and the protection of the poor slams President Obama’s response to the humanitarian crises in Sudan and Syria.

None of these writers is likely to endorse Governor Romney in November, but the paladins of the liberal press are clearly approaching the President in a very different spirit than they did four years ago. The “new Lincoln” meme and the giddy excitement of 2008/9 have been airbrushed out of history, and a spirit of resigned skepticism seems to prevail among some of the President’s strongest former supporters.

If the health care bill is found unconstitutional in whole or in part (and while we note that Intrade currently quotes odds of 70 percent in favor of that happening we also note that the Supremes are unpredictable), the President is likely to take more hits from disillusioned pundits on the left as they ponder the irony: Guantanamo is still open, more drones are flying than ever, and the administration and Congress bungled the best chance in a generation to get a national health care system.

Back when President Obama bestrode the political world like a colossus, we warned that the polls and the press would come back to earth sooner or later; the last two weeks have been particularly hellish for the administration. But Republicans shouldn’t get cocky; the left’s fear and loathing of the GOP far outweigh any skepticism now felt about the President on the port side of the political spectrum.


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  • Anthony

    WRM, who can we attribute the statement: the applause from audience (crowd) is ephemeral as well as be wary of friends (they will betray you more quickly). The admonitions certainly apply in this instance for President Obama.

  • Felipe Pait

    Paul Krugman may be a Keynesian of the old school – as in “When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?” – as compared to ideologists who give the same answer to any question.

    But you have to grant that his opinion of Obama has been rather consistent – in short, he says Obama is better than the alternative, but not forceful enough.

  • Walter Sobchak

    Nicholas Kristoff = Another Rube Self-Identifies*

    *As the Blogfather says.

  • thibaud

    Maybe NYT columnists are deserting Obama because Romney’s deserting the Tea Party loons.

    In his interview with Mark Halperin, Romney gaveaway the game and admitted that, should the economy tank – which is the only path to victory for him in Nov. – he will NOT slash spending, let alone starve to the bone every government function save SS, Medicare and Medicaid, as Ryan’s ludicrous budget prescribes.

    “TIIME/Halperin: You have a plan, as you said, over a number of years, to reduce spending dramatically. Why not in the first year, if you’re elected — why not in 2013, go all the way and propose the kind of budget with spending restraints, that you’d like to see after four years in office? Why not do it more quickly?

    “Romney: Well because, if you take a trillion dollars for instance, out of the first year of the federal budget, that would shrink GDP over 5%. That is by definition throwing us into recession or depression. So I’m not going to do that, of course.”

    /end intvw

    Mr. Mead, feeling rather cocky, writes:

    “Republicans shouldn’t get cocky; the left’s fear and loathing of the GOP far outweigh any skepticism now felt about the President on the port side of the political spectrum.”

    The electoral threat to the GOP this November comes from the “left”? Huh?

    The presidential election will be decided by centrists and swing voters. As we’ve seen in WIsconsin, these people have deep misgivings about both parties – not, as VM imagines, about big gum’mint.

    Many Democrats are appalled at the capture of state and local governments by public sector unions, and at least as many Republicans and former Republicans are appalled at the capture of the GOP by Tea Party nuts, goldbugs, and fundamentalist know-nothings.

    Public opinion polls – not exit polls, mind you – of Wisconsinites have shown them to be even more disdainful (only 32% approve) of the Tea Party loons than they are of unions, be they pblic unions (40% approve) or private unions (44%).

    The biggest problem for the GOP in the Tea Party era sn’t the left but the nutty right.

  • cubanbob

    The rats sense that the ship is sinking and are doing a CYA. They haven’t had an epiphany, they are just practicing self survival.

  • BillH

    Those NYT flacks aren’t deserting O.; they’re jockeying to put their pet cause first in line for White House attention after he’s (they hope) reelected.

  • thibaud

    @ #6 BillH: “they’re jockeying to put their pet cause first in line for White House attention after [Obama’s] re-elected”

    Actually, in Krugman’s case, the challenger has already publicly embraced Keynesian economics, so no “jockeying” necessary.

    Thank goodness Romney’s dispensed with any effort to suck up to the Tea Partiers. At least we won’t see the kind of bait-and-switch delivered by Scott Brown, he of the backdoor efforts to gut the Volcker Rule.

  • Everyman

    Or, mirabile dictu, is it possible that the prols – left and right – have no answer for the accomplishments of the Scott Walkers of the world, and that we don’t just play the same silly name games that the political pros do? And that they prefer what they see of those accomplishments to the endlessly excused failures of those now, but perhaps not a whole lot longer, entrusted with our treasure, entrusted with our governance?

  • Jacksonian Libertarian

    The leftists who can see the writing on the wall and know that the American people are going to throw them under the bus, are now looking to cast blame and find scapegoats, because they can never admit that it’s their own leftist ideas that failed.

  • Tom


    There’s a difference between “I believe in Keynesian economics” and “I believe in giving the American people time to adjust to smaller government.” One can interpret that statement either way.

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