Rahm Emanuel calls out Paul Krugman

The White House chief of staff asks of the economist: "How many bills has he passed?"

By Andrew Leonard

Published February 23, 2009 7:53PM (EST)

Politico's Ben Smith describes Ryan Lizza's New Yorker profile of White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel as a "must-read." He is correct.

Smith highlights one of Emanuel's responses to Paul Krugman's criticism of Obama's political strategy, but I liked this summary better:

"Now, my view is that Krugman as an economist is not wrong. But in the art of the possible, of the deal, he is wrong. He couldn't get his legislation."

Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake provides Krugman's answer:

Eh. The question is why Obama didn't ask for what the economy needed, then bargain from there. My view is that Collins et al would have demanded $100 billion in cuts from whatever they started from; and that's not the case he answers.

I'm not so sure about that. If Obama had asked for a $1.2 trillion or greater stimulus package, it's just as possible that he would have scared off some of the more conservative Democratic senators and made passing his bill even tougher. Who better to make that calculation that Rahm Emanuel, a veteran of both the White House and Congress?

Although, at this point, the stimulus bill seems like old news. Obama presents his first budget on Thursday. There's plenty of room for more action on the economy there, and less space for obstructionists to maneuver.

UPDATE: Somehow, I managed to completely miss Glenn Greenwald's critical take on the Emanuel profile.



Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

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