I have a rule of thumb that has served me well in assessing public figures: Anyone Paul Krugman dislikes can’t be all bad. Thus, Krugman’s recent attacks on Barack Obama suggest that the Illinois Senator has hidden virtues. Yesterday’s hit piece accuses Obama of infecting the Democrat debate with that most vile of all contagions–conservative rhetoric:
He’s doing the same thing in the health care debate he did when claiming Social Security faces a “crisis” … echoing right-wing talking points.
And what blasphemies has Obama uttered? He has (gasp) endorsed individual choice in the purchase of health insurance.
He doesn’t want the government to “force” people to have insurance, to “penalize” people who don’t participate.
My God! Is there no limit to Obama’s depravity? Here’s what Krugman finds most “troubling”:
Obama accuses [Clinton and Edwards] of not explaining how they would enforce mandates, and suggests the mandate would require some kind of nasty punitive enforcement.
Krugman insinuates that this is lowest sort of political rhetoric, but John Edwards has shown Obama’s concerns to be entirely valid. Edwards has just proposed a plan to garnish the wages of people who fail to buy health insurance.
So, while I’m no great fan of Barack Obama, I’m warming to him. Krugman’s disapproval, being a reverse indicator of value, has shown the Senator to be a better man than I had supposed him to be.
Richard Eskow does a good job of deconstructing Krugman’s column at The Sentinel Effect.