« Fed Watch: Distributional Impacts of Monetary Policy | Main | No End to the Unemployment Problem in Sight »

Monday, April 23, 2012

Paul Krugman: The Amnesia Candidate

Will the media let Romney get away with his "amnesia campaign"?:

The Amnesia Candidate, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Just how stupid does Mitt Romney think we are? If you’ve been following his campaign from the beginning, that’s a question you have probably asked many times.
But the question was raised with particular force last week, when Mr. Romney tried to make a closed drywall factory in Ohio a symbol of the Obama administration’s economic failure. It was a symbol, all right — but not in the way he intended.
First..., George W. Bush ... was president when the factory in question was closed. Does the Romney campaign expect Americans to blame President Obama for his predecessor’s policy failure?
Yes, it does. Mr. Romney constantly talks about job losses under Mr. Obama. Yet all of the net job loss took place in the first few months of 2009,... before any of the new administration’s policies had time to take effect. ...
But Mr. Romney’s poor choice of a factory for his photo-op aside,... Mr. Romney is essentially advocating a return to ... Bush policies. And he’s hoping that you don’t remember how badly those policies worked. ... Yes, Mr. Obama’s jobs record has been disappointing — but it has been unambiguously better than Mr. Bush’s over the comparable period of his administration. ...
Which brings me to another aspect of the amnesia campaign: Mr. Romney wants you to attribute all of the shortfalls in economic policy ... to the man in the White House, and forget ... that Mr. Obama has faced scorched-earth political opposition since his first day in office. ...
So am I saying that Mr. Obama did everything he could, and that everything would have been fine if he hadn’t faced political opposition? By no means. Even given the political constraints, the administration did less than it could and should have in 2009, especially on housing. Furthermore, Mr. Obama was an active participant in Washington’s destructive “pivot” away from jobs to a focus on deficit reduction.
And the administration has suffered repeatedly from complacency — taking a few months of good news as an excuse to rest on its laurels... So there is a valid critique one can make of the administration’s handling of the economy.
But that’s not the critique Mr. Romney is making. Instead, he’s basically attacking Mr. Obama for not acting as if George Bush had been given a third term. Are the American people — and perhaps more to the point, the news media — forgetful enough for that attack to work? I guess we’ll find out.

    Posted by on Monday, April 23, 2012 at 12:33 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (85)


    Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.