Paul Krugman Backs ‘Consequential’ Obama Presidency

October 14, 2014 | By TheSpreadit More

A Paul Krugman Obama presidency op-ed, published last week, is being debated left and right of the political spectrum.

Paul Krugman Obama presidency

Paul Krugman says Obama’s presidency is a big success in a new Rolling Stone opinion piece that surfaced online few days ago. Amid disappointing polling numbers (RealClearPolitics Average currently sits at 42.6 in job approval), a very unfavorable political landscape (Democrats might lose control of the Senate after the midterm election), crisis at home (Ebola), a world in shambles (ISIS), President Obama will be happy to know that he has changed the opinion of one of his most fierce critics from the liberal side.

Krugman was not always a huge fan of Obama. The New York Times columnist found him to be too cautious, when he ran against Hillary Clinton in 2008, after Obama took office the professor was critical of his initiatives on the economy that were not progressive enough.

In 2009, Krugman was on the cover of Newsweek for a story titled “Obama is Wrong: The Loyal Opposition of Paul Krugman,” about liberal pundits who did not agree with the president’s policies. Five years later, he is doing a complete reversal with Rolling Stone‘s “In Defense of Obama.” In his op-ed, the Nobel Prize winner argues that the Obama presidency is a success and he will go down as one of the most consequential presidents in American history.

Krugman says that pundits fail to appreciate all the things this president has managed to accomplish in the face of the current gridlock in Washington. The columnist writes:

But now the shoe is on the other foot: Obama faces trash talk left, right and center – literally – and doesn’t deserve it. Despite bitter opposition, despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history. His health reform is imperfect but still a huge step forward – and it’s working better than anyone expected. Financial reform fell far short of what should have happened, but it’s much more effective than you’d think. Economic management has been half-crippled by Republican obstruction, but has nonetheless been much better than in other advanced countries. And environmental policy is starting to look like it could be a major legacy.

Krugman concludes his essay by saying although all is not perfect, Obama did more for this country than most will ever admit. The New York Times writer adds:

Am I damning with faint praise? Not at all. This is what a successful presidency looks like. No president gets to do everything his supporters expected him to. FDR left behind a reformed nation, but one in which the wealthy retained a lot of power and privilege. On the other side, for all his anti-government rhetoric, Reagan left the core institutions of the New Deal and the Great Society in place. I don’t care about the fact that Obama hasn’t lived up to the golden dreams of 2008, and I care even less about his approval rating. I do care that he has, when all is said and done, achieved a lot. That is, as Joe Biden didn’t quite say, a big deal.

After “In Defense of Obama” went viral, Krugman sat with ABC News’ Jonathan Karl to explain his reasoning. The economist stated that Obama changed the trajectory of this country in a way predecessors like, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan have not. For Krugman, only Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson have had more impact on the American society. He said:

“Bill Clinton is an incredibly gifted politician. But, in fact, Bill Clinton was not a consequential president. And Obama, although clearly not the natural politician, is a consequential president. “In the end, Reagan did not leave the structure of America’s society particularly different. He did not in fact change the basic legacy of Lyndon Johnson and FDR.”

The Paul Krugman Obama presidency piece was ridiculed on the right and embraced by people on the left. Those who agree with Krugman say, Democrats should embrace Obama’s legacy in a more forceful way.

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Comments (1)

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  1. Keith Davis says:

    Granted he has done some good but he has made some bad judgments on many fronts, ISIS and the war on terror has grabbed major footing and it is only going to get worse. Steps on Russia’s Putin should have been harsher and more forceful instead of acting like a coward, this is where Putin found more strength. The non-action of getting involved in Syria at an earlier time only gave Muslin terrorists’ greater strength. Yes much more can be done and should. It is time to step up Obama, you are not Military oriented, and base your own opinions on making passive designs when it comes to fighting when it becomes necessary. The only wrong for evil to survive is for good men to do nothing.


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