May 14, 2008

 Sitting out the party

The dyspeptic Paul Krugman refuses to join the fun:

Can the Democrats nonetheless find a way to lose the presidential race?

Krugman's objection to Obama seems to be that he's a hollow Tony Blair clone, a brilliant speaker with no stomach for the gritty business of governing - arm-twisting, negotiating, checking details, burning the midnight oil, using the bully pulpit: an idealistic trimmer who will perforce sell out the American working class on universal health care, growth and taxes when the going gets tough. (I exaggerate, but that's the tendency.) We can take Krugman's word for how bad the economic situation is going to be in January 2009.

I can't buy this picture, apart from the hard times a-coming, but supposing it's true ad arguendum. What has it got to do with losing the election? If Obama is nothing more than a brilliant campaigner, he will still win. Compared to the obstacles he has overcome to secure the nomination, the general should be a doddle. The Krugman case FWIW is that Obama might fail as a president, spending his time making lovely speeches at the UN while his legislative programme stalls in Congress.

Can Hillary Clinton lose the election for the Democrats? Only by running as an independent. Her lifelong party loyalty, umbilical ties to the party establishment, and empty coffers surely make this wildly improbable. When she concedes, why on earth should she do anything else than endorse Barack Obama and call on her supporters to work for a Democratic sweep in November?

Cheer up Paul. It's not quite morning in America, but the doves aren't flying back to the Ark.

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