Barack Obama Has Gone AWOL

Not only is Obama caving to the GOP—he's 'celebrating' it, writes Paul Krugman
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2011 1:51 PM CDT
Paul Krugman on Budget Deal: What Happened to the Old Barack Obama?
In this Oct. 21, 2008 file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill. speaks at a rally at Western Gateway Park in Des Moines, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Barack Obama has left the building. Granted, with Republicans running amok, all Obama really has is “the bully pulpit,” but incredibly, “he’s using it to reinforce his enemies’ narrative,” writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times. Maybe he did have to make big concessions to avoid a government shutdown, but did he “have to celebrate his defeat,” applauding it as “the largest annual spending cut in our history”? Looking back at 2008, one has to wonder: “Who is this bland, timid guy who doesn’t seem to stand for anything in particular?”

The GOP wants to pummel Medicare and Medicaid and cut taxes on top earners to their “lowest level since 1931.” That should be a “big fat political target” for Obama’s team; instead, we get a statement of “mild disapproval,” Krugman notes. “Despite the ferocious opposition he has faced since the day he took office,” Obama is “still clinging to his vision of himself as a figure who can transcend America’s partisan differences,” winning reelection through constant compromise. But what we need is a president who “believes in something, and is willing to take a stand," Krugman concludes. "And that's not what we're seeing.” (More Barack Obama stories.)

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