Monday, February 8, 2010

Herr Doktor Professor Krugman, constitutional sage
Tom Smith

Now that the GOP has 41 Senators, and the filibuster is really a problem for the Dems, Professor Krugman says it is time to get rid of it.  I will leave it to my colleague, Professor Rappaport, to explain to us the advantages of governing by supermajority, on which is the nation's leading expert perhaps.  But my question is, what if the GOP gets a majority of the House in 2010?  Will Professor Krugman then think it is time to get rid of the House?  And there was that disappointing, cosmically so, opinion of the our benighted Supreme Court recently.  Perhaps we should get rid of it to?  Or at least some of them?  Or at least amend the First Amendment, to restrict corporations other than the New York Times from engaging in political speech.  Laws, customs, institutions-- what are they compared to the judgment of the Bank of Sweden?  Musn't stand in the way of progress!

Some might conclude from this and other missives that I am critical of Professor Krugman.  But this is not really so.  I regard him as a national treasure of sorts.  Nobody I can think of does a better job of exposing the sneering yet half-baked, the condescending yet ill-informed, the pedantic yet misguided, the professorial yet creepily unnerving, and the self-aggrandizing and deeply unappealing face of contemporary American progressivism than does the good Doktor Professor. It takes talent to inspire distrust that profound.  If he encourages his sympathetic readers to believe that they are that much smarter than everybody else, this is in a way all to the good, as one whose nose is up in the air will not see the approaching cliff and cliffs are Nature's way of disposing of excess lemmings.  Nobody in a position of economic policy authority appears to pay any attention to him whatever, being, whatever else you may say of them, experts in their respective fields, so I don't think there's much to worry about there.  He serves to encourage the American left in their delusions and make everybody else even more disgusted with them.  So I say, you go Herr Doktor Professor Paul.  We should take a lesson from, uh, Poland, and get rid of the filibuster.  Excellent point.  Tell us your other ideas, please.  There's a whole country out here that needs schooling.  If I may, how would you reform our Constitution, if you could, Professor?  Surely you must have some views on that?

If you want to read something intelligent on America's "ungovernability", see this excellent post by Jay Cost.

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Tom Smith


I am old enough to remember the last time liberal viewed the United States as ungovernable--Jimmy Carter was President. I can recall taking a political science class on the Presidency and spending much time discussing whether the role of President had become too large for any one person to effectively fulfill.
Then, of course, we got a new President and he put an end to such discussions for 30 years.

Posted by: PaulD | Feb 8, 2010 10:44:47 AM

Does your second to last sentence mean to imply that the filibuster is a constitutional provision?

To disagree with your main point, Krugman is not advocating for the revocation of the filibuster because democrats no longer have 60 senators. You have to admit that it's at least a little dishonest to write that this is Krugman's point. It's not, and I think you know this.

To my knowledge, he didn't advocate for the recall of the filibuster when Democrats were in the minority, and that's because Democrats did not try to stop government in an immature tantrum of partisan obstruction. Yes, we blocked the most partisan, ideological, and unqualified judicial candidates, as every party has done since the implementation of the filibuster. However, I challenge you to detail an incident where a democrat blocked over 70 nominations just for more earmarks (where is your rant against government spending? insert here, restore credibility). That's just one example. Republicans have filed for clotures dramatically more often.

This is Krugman's problem. President Obama has a right to fill his nominations without having to trade for more Republican pork. How can you write this post without even criticizing Shelby's approach? You certainly criticized pork for votes when it came to healthcare.

Posted by: Tim Donahue | Feb 8, 2010 4:20:44 PM

Ah yes, those threats to the republic like Miguel Estrada. Notoriously unqualified man. Democrats covered themselves in splendor on that one. Did Reid not think he had latino dialect? Wouldn't want a qualified latino to get on the judiciary. Wait, what's the word for that again? Oh that's right. Racism.

Posted by: john knox | Feb 8, 2010 4:45:01 PM

They blocked Estrada because they didn't want us to "Thomasize" the Latino quota seat.

Posted by: Lou Gots | Feb 9, 2010 7:28:36 AM

I think the good Professor would argue that while the filibuster may have been a reasonably decent tool in the past, its "abuse" by contemporary Republican senators has exposed a major problem with it. You see, Dr. Krugman wholeheartedly subscribes to every popular trope the Left develops to characterize the actions and philosophies of the Right--including the idea that today's Republicans are pure "obstructionists," out to sabotage whatever President Obama proposes, solely for political advantage. (Heaven forbid that a senator should work to "obstruct" something that he REALLY DOESN'T LIKE!)

Other popular left-wing tropes that Dr. Krugman endorses:

--Republicans are against any reform of U.S. health care, and have made no health care proposals
--Rush Limbaugh is the intellectual voice and de-facto leader of the Republican party (Glenn Beck is a contender)
--Sarah Palin is almost certain to get the Republican nomination for the 2012 Presidential election

I could go on.

If I believed that the straw men constructed by Paul and his clique in their cozy little Ivy League bubble bore any real resemblance to actual Republican or conservative values, I wouldn't call myself a conservative either.

Posted by: Steve | Feb 25, 2010 7:22:05 AM