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Paul Krugman, perhaps the most vital asset in the Media for progressive policies (even if he does not always advocate for them), writes these strange words:

My sense is that too many people are taking the easy route of going for the cheap slogans instead of thinking things through; and some people are pushing their signature issues even when the evidence clearly shows that they’re wrong. And we can’t afford that kind of self-indulgence.

I'm not familiar with every issue Krugman mentions in that post (though I think he is wrong on the issue of "too big to fail"), but I am familiar with how politics works. I think Krugman is confusing "easy route" with "effective route" when it comes to politics. In a perfect world, politics would be a polite debating society. In the real world, "cheap slogans" are almost always more valuable than "thinking things through." The thinking comes first - decide what policy you want to forward, then the politics (the "cheap slogans") for forwarding those policies comes next. Bashing Wall Street (and Goldman) is clearly the best "cheap slogan" for advancing financial reform. Silly to pretend otherwise. Krugman's title - "Can't Anybody Play This Game" - is ironic to me. He seems the one lacking in the political acumen here.

Speaking for me only

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    I think Krugman (5.00 / 2) (#4)
    by lilburro on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 05:03:23 PM EST
    is being too arcane here.  Sure it might be besides the point to be in an uproar over Wall St emails.  But it's something a politician SHOULD grab onto so they can make a "this is what we stand for" type of pronouncement.  People identify as Dem or Rep based on their values.  And right now Dems seem to have lost their ability to communicate their values.  "I'm a technocrat!" is not a winning message.

    It is also a very hard sell (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by MO Blue on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 05:13:09 PM EST
    to on one hand say that we, the Democrats, have taken all the good ideas of the Republicans to draft  current legislation and on the other hand to convince people that they should vote Democratic.

    I think FDR was the last President who (none / 0) (#6)
    by observed on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 05:23:30 PM EST
    truly used all the good Republican ideas in making his policies.

    You can't communicate your values (5.00 / 6) (#9)
    by oldpro on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:03:22 PM EST
    when you're busy hiding them, changing them or denying them.

    There's no point in communicating if you don't know what you think...that's just babble aned blather. So, yes...think first.  Write a paragraph or a speech, boil it down to a bumpersticker.


    Winning is not a value (none / 0) (#18)
    by cawaltz on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:28:54 PM EST
    It's a goal. Unfortunately, too many within the party not only see it as a value but as THE value they wish to imbue.

    BTW (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:23:08 PM EST
    Krugman was arguing about Simon Johnson's "tactics," and he is just play wrong.

    Johnson has addressed the policy and now recommend political tactics to forward the policy he favors.

    To be honest, I was  kind to Krugman cuz I think he really objects to Johnson's call to break up the banks.

    He calls it  a "call for integrity" but really it is a call to agree with Krugman on the policy.

    It was a horsesh*t post from Krugman imo.

    Krugman is against breaking up the banks (none / 0) (#15)
    by observed on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:39:25 PM EST
    , so he may be going a little bit Ezra on us with his comments about tactics.

    Totally agree with this post (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by abdiel on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:57:45 PM EST
    and a distinction should be drawn between academics and practitioners. Maybe Krugman is struggling because he's an economist, not a businessman.

    Reasoned, peer-reviewed debate has its place, but appealing to the masses is not one of them. Acting as though Democrats are above arm twisting, backroom deals, and cheap slogans is just disingenuous. We literally watched Nancy Pelosi churn out the sausage of half-baked health care reform a month ago.

    Yes, repairing America's humpty-dumpty financial system needs careful, nuanced theory that is beyond the ken of anyone without a PhD in economics or a decade's worth of experience in finance. But pushing legislation through requires the motivation of imagery, of Obama reining in the vampire squid that is Goldman Sachs from sucking the lifeblood of the American people.

    I'm certainly glad Krugman is out (5.00 / 2) (#17)
    by ruffian on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 08:04:20 PM EST
    there making the economic  arguments. If he occasionally wants to vent his political opinions to, so be it.  I seriously doubt anyone consults him for political advice, so I'm not going to worry about his lack of acumen.

    Well, evidently the Obama administration (none / 0) (#19)
    by Spamlet on Mon Apr 26, 2010 at 02:32:45 AM EST
    doesn't consult Krugman for economic advice either.

    He wasn't invited to (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Apr 26, 2010 at 08:04:24 AM EST
    the early sitdowns.  The "being excluded" was painfully obvious.  I know that he and Stiglitz were invited later to a private sitdown and dinner with Obama, and they were probably outlined on the Obama approach to saving our economy.  Shortly after that Krugman wrote that he would no longer spend time arguing for what really should be done because it wouldn't be done at this time anyhow.  Stiglitz does seem to continue to apply pressure at times though.

    There's truth to what Krugman claimed (none / 0) (#1)
    by szielinski on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 03:13:30 PM EST
    Yet, his is the lament of someone with influence. The lesser mortals among us lack the influence and, for that matter, the education to speak intelligently about financial reform, industrial policy, welfare policy, the constitution and America's post-9.11 war and security governments. But they would hardly be mistaken if they were to intuitively identify Wall Street as a source of economic and political Corruption in the United States. Requiring legally valid evidence of Wall Street corruption unnecessarily narrows the possible uses of this term. The word corruption also applies to practices that deviate from their rational sense. Who but a market fundamentalist or a grasping insider would want to defend Wall Street and its practices as manifestations of a sound political economy? Krugman wouldn't.

    Obama and his team are very good (none / 0) (#2)
    by observed on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 04:45:37 PM EST
    at soundbite politics---better than Clinton, possibly.
    I say this as a compliment, agreeing with your post.
    I'm confident in his ability to sell policies to voters, but less confident that I will like  what he proposes.

    I realize that he's a nice guy (none / 0) (#3)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 04:51:14 PM EST
    I've always liked that about him.  But either show up on fight day to represent where you are  on the issues Paul or I guess keep whining and whining and whining and whining.

    So you also found this line (5.00 / 5) (#7)
    by Cream City on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 05:36:48 PM EST
    to be a sad commentary on the Age of Obama, the Era of the Nu Dems, and lord knows what else is ahead?

    [Krugman is] the most vital asset in the Media for progressive policies (even if he does not always advocate for them)

    Mostly meringue. Nice. (none / 0) (#10)
    by oldpro on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:08:59 PM EST
    I'll use it!

    Obviously not (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:20:35 PM EST
    Reread the post.

    Liberals Are Great At Nuanced Arguements (none / 0) (#12)
    by john horse on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:20:39 PM EST
    but conservatives have been masters of the "cheap slogan".  And that is why we have been gotten our asses kicked politically.  

    It wasn't always that way.  As FDR said of the bankers and Wall Street speculaters that opposed him "They are unanimous in their hate for me -- and I welcome their hatred."  FDR didn't engage in nuanced political points.  Nuanced politics is for the elite.  Instead he was after bigger game -he was trying to influence the public and get his policies passed.  

    "nuance" (none / 0) (#14)
    by christinep on Sun Apr 25, 2010 at 07:31:05 PM EST
    An interesting area. 'Agree that Repubs are better at sloganeering...usually. GW Bush said "I don't do nuance."