Paul Krugman, after defending the Clinton legacy for many long months, and trashing Obama for criticizing it, finally decides it is time to agree with Obama’s critique of Clintonism. Of course, Krugman only does so in order to taunt Obama as Krugman demonstrates an incredibly shallow grasp of politics and recent history.
The problem with Krugman’s little tantrum here is that he confuses politics itself, especially in a two party system, with Clintonism. It’s not as if Bill Clinton himself invented compromise. That was invented some time before Pericles.
The problem with Clintonism was not in the fact that the Clintons compromised in order to gain power – it was that they believed the only thing needed to change America was for one of them to be in charge of the system as it was. So they played the game, campaigned on trivialities and money, and took over, only to realize with the health care debacle and Somalia that they couldn’t force their way.
Obama’s approach is clearly different. His campaign is less about himself, and more about a movement. His policies are less about top-down government demands and more about adjustments that will gradually change the way the system works.
Krugman doesn’t see it. Instead, he projects from the mild events of the past week an abrupt turnaround on Obama’s part to embrace the Clintonism he rejected. The blindness is glaring.