Posts Tagged ‘Bill Clinton’

It’s been a real pleasure watching the Democrats argue over Reagan’s legacy. Finally it’s not just conservatives talking too much about Reagan, who was great but isn’t coming back or likely to be matched anytime soon.

Republicans are trying in vain to follow up Reagan, but right now it seems Democrats are having a harder time grappling with his legacy. It’s also split the Democrats, which is fun. And it’s revealing Paul Krugman to be a ridiculous Clinton shill. Not just a Democrat shill. We knew that. Let’s go back to Krugman’s Monday column:

Historical narratives matter. That’s why conservatives are still writing books denouncing F.D.R. and the New Deal; they understand that the way Americans perceive bygone eras, even eras from the seemingly distant past, affects politics today.

And it’s also why the furor over Barack Obama’s praise for Ronald Reagan is not, as some think, overblown. The fact is that how we talk about the Reagan era still matters immensely for American politics.

Bill Clinton knew that in 1991, when he began his presidential campaign. “The Reagan-Bush years,” he declared, “have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.”

Contrast that with Mr. Obama’s recent statement, in an interview with a Nevada newspaper, that Reagan offered a “sense of dynamism and entrepreneurship that had been missing.”

Oh yeah? Here Mr. Krugman is undercut only today in a column by his fellow liberal columnist, E.J. Dionne:

It was a remarkable moment: A young, free-thinking presidential hopeful named Bill Clinton sat down with reporters and editors at The Post in October 1991 and started saying things most Democrats wouldn’t allow to pass their lips.

Ronald Reagan, Clinton said, deserved credit for winning the Cold War. He praised Reagan’s “rhetoric in defense of freedom” and his role in “advancing the idea that communism could be rolled back.”

“The idea that we were going to stand firm and reaffirm our containment strategy, and the fact that we forced them to spend even more when they were already producing a Cadillac defense system and a dinosaur economy, I think it hastened their undoing,” Clinton declared.

Let’s recap: On Saturday, Krugman bashes Obama for allegedly praising Reagan, and cites Bill Clinton from his 1992 campaign. Then today, Dionne points out that Clinton said some very favorable things about Reagan himself during the 1992 campaign.  So Krugman’s anti-Obama tendencies lead him to write hackish things in the same way his anti-Bush tendencies lead him to write hackish things. Conclusion arrived at once again: Paul Krugman is a hack.

What’s that sound you hear? Not the pop of Krugman’s reputation. That happened along time. Maybe what you heard was a rustle of wind causing his already deflated reputation to rustle just a tiny bit. Not that much, though, it’s been deteriorating a lot from being exposed to the elements.