Paul Krugman (Reuters/Zainal Abd Halim)

Paul Krugman: There's a reason the 23 "Katrinas" the GOP's tried to pin on Obama haven't stuck

And that's because none of them were remotely equivalent, despite the Republicans' best efforts


Scott Eric Kaufman
August 31, 2015 3:59PM (UTC)

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman ripped into the GOP field on Monday, declaring that while he's "supposed to be evenhanded, and point out equivalent figures on the Democratic side," there's no Democratic equivalent to the "cult of personality built around undeserving politicians" on the left.

Speaking about the GOP's tendency to label any misstep by President Barack Obama his "Hurricane Katrina," Krugman noted that "these putative Katrinas never end up having the political impact of the lethal debacle that unfolded a decade ago," mostly because "many of the alleged disasters weren’t disasters after all."

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The "teething problems of Heatlhcare.gov were embarrassing," he confessed, "but they were eventually resolved" and in most objective measures Obamacare is a stunning success. But this locution does point to the fact that "Katrina was special in political terms because it revealed such a huge gap between image and reality," inasmuch as President George W. Bush had been "posing as a strong, effective leader leader keeping America safe" after 9/11, even though he was nothing of the sort.

Voters should have learned to distrust "poseurs" of this ilk, and maybe -- hopefully -- they have, but the GOP decided to lard its field with them anyway, because why not?

Krugman writes:

You probably think I’m talking about Donald Trump, and I am. But he’s not the only one.

Consider, if you will, the case of Chris Christie. Not that long ago he was regarded as a strong contender for the presidency, in part because for a while his tough-guy act played so well with the people of New Jersey. But he has, in fact, been a terrible governor, who has presided over repeated credit downgrades, and who compromised New Jersey’s economic future by killing a much-needed rail tunnel project.

Now Mr. Christie looks pathetic — did you hear the one about his plan to track immigrants as if they were FedEx packages? But he hasn’t changed, he’s just come into focus.

Or consider Jeb Bush, once hailed on the right as “the best governor in America,” when in fact all he did was have the good luck to hold office during a huge housing bubble. Many people now seem baffled by Mr. Bush’s inability to come up with coherent policy proposals, or any good rationale for his campaign. What happened to Jeb the smart, effective leader? He never existed.

And there’s more. Remember when Scott Walker was the man to watch? Remember when Bobby Jindal was brilliant?

Read the rest at the New York Times...

Economist Paul Krugman Joins HuffPost Live


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aol_on Barack Obama Business Economics Elections 2016 Hurricane Katrina Paul Krugman

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