Paul Krugman Actually Thinks His Readers Can’t Tell Which Party He Favors


If you were to guess which candidates Paul Krugman of the New York Times favored over the past 11 elections since becoming eligible to vote back in 1971, almost anyone would say the list reads like this:

1972 – McGovern
1976 – Carter
1980 – Carter
1984 – Mondale
1988 – Dukakis
1992 – Clinton
1996 – Clinton
2000 – Gore
2004 – Kerry
2008 – Obama
2012 – Obama

As a random coincidence, the New York Times has endorsed all of those Democratic candidates as well during that time. No issue there: the paper is liberal, as are many of its columnists, with Nobel winner and Princeton Economics Professor Paul Krugman being its most hard-left op-ed writer. (Note: the hard-left characterization isn’t a criticism, it’s just who the 61-year-old Yale and MIT graduate is. In fact, he even titled one of his 20 books and his New York Times blog: The Conscience of a Liberal. )

All of that said, it is patently hilarious to see Krugman trot out this line to the follow-up-question-challenged Ezra Klein in a recent interview in Vox when previewing the 2016 election (emphasis mine):

But I don’t think Hillary Clinton is going to try and make it 1999 again. I remember in 2008 —as a Times columnist, I can’t do endorsements, so you have no idea which party I favor in general elections — but I was skeptical of Obama at a time when a lot of people on the Left were very, very high on him. I heard a number of people saying, oh, god, if Hillary is elected, she’s going to bring in the old Rubin crowd, people like Larry Summers, to run the economy. And then Obama got elected and did exactly that. I think, if anything, he was more conventional on economics than she was.

Yup, we have zero clue which party Krugman favors in a general election. It’s almost a crime to think we have to wait 22 months before getting a decent idea if Hillary Clinton or Elizabeth Warren will receive positive ink, or if John Kasich orJeb Bush or Ted Cruz or Rand Paul or Mitt Romney (or insert name here) will receive a pat on the back. So let’s go back and look at the most recent contest between President Obama and the aforementioned Romney, as perhaps he wrote an op-ed somewhere that may have tipped whether he was voting Democratic or Republican leading up to that November:

On the GOP challenger (one of 534 criticisms by Krugman that year): “Mitt Romney isn’t seeking a debate on the issues; on the contrary, he’s betting that your gullibility and vanity will let him avoid a debate on the issues, including the issue of his own fitness for the presidency.

Yup, hard to tell there. So what did he think of Romney’s running mate, Paul Ryan?

“He is, in fact, a big fraud, who doesn’t care at all about fiscal responsibility, and whose policy proposals are sloppy as well as dishonest. Of course, this means that he’ll fit in to the Romney campaign just fine.”

Krugman must be one hell of a poker player, because it’s simply impossible to tell whether he’s wearing a blue or red uniform here. Sarcasm mercifully aside, the examples are endless through the years regarding which way he leans (OK — bends over backwards) to support a Democratic party his readers apparently can’t tell he supports. It’s no different from Rachel Maddow‘s line to Bill Maher when confronted to take a side on a particular issue: “Listen, my job is to cover these things, not to tell you how I like them or not.” Just like Rachel does exactly that (tell you how she likes them or not), Krugman does the same when it comes to presidential candidates in overwhelmingly obvious fashion. And while he’s shoveling this out, there’s the smartest guy in the room — just ask him — in the form of Ezra Klein who doesn’t even bother to even challenge him on it (or ask if he was joking, because if he was, Klein would have made a note indicating such). Perhaps the echo during the discussion made it too hard to hear for the former Journolist founder to register the comment.

Journalism is more polarized than ever. Battle lines are drawn, sides are taken. And intelligence gets insulted when one member of one of its most prominent publications thinks you’re actually dumb enough to believe he’s somehow non-partisan.

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