Monday, July 19, 2010


Paul Krugman today, talking about the Obama administration's decision to go for an inadequate stimulus back in the early days of 2009:'s ... clear that political advisers believed that a smaller package would get more friendly headlines, and that the administration would look better if it won its first big Congressional test.

In short, it looks as if the administration itself was taken in by the pundit delusion, focusing on how its policies would play in the news rather than on their actual impact on the economy.

Republicans, by the way, seem less susceptible to this delusion. Since Mr. Obama took office, they have engaged in relentless obstruction, obviously unworried about how their actions would look or be reported. And it's working: by blocking Democratic efforts to alleviate the economy's woes, the G.O.P. is helping its chances of a big victory in November.

Well, we need to remember that the mainstream press is rarely inclined to hold Republicans accountable for the actual results of what they do, because holding right-wingers accountable makes you an evil East Coast liberal, the worst thing in the world, the thing no reporter wants to be accused of being.

Reporters, of course, are afraid to hold Republicans accountable because Republicans have made them afraid. We don't know what would happen if Democrats tried to make reporters afraid to hold them accountable, because reporters aren't afraid of them now. Republicans don't even have to try to scare reporters anymore -- they're pre-terrified.

It's only in those rare moments when public opinion polls show Republicans in such bad odor with the public at large (see: the latter days of both Bushes) that the press is willing to acknowledge that something might be vaguely suboptimal going on (though they usually insists there's a very good chance of a comeback!).

Meanwhile, Democrats are suspect pretty much from the moment they take office (see: honeymoons of Presidents Clinton and Obama, lack of).

No comments: