During the 2008 Democratic primary battle between Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton (and Dennis Kucinich, if we really want to be accurate here), I had a deep, dense feeling of disenchantment. Not with my candidate of choice, Barack Obama (though in my heart I knew Kucinich was right), but with my favorite economist and political pundit, Paul Krugman of the New York Times. I was in the process of developing the various ideologies and mildly polarizing viewpoints that would govern my voting patterns, and there were few commentators that I had more respect, more near-religious idolatry for, than Paul Krugman.
The disillusionment, then, came from Krugman’s bizarre resistance to Obama. Following the Potomac Primaries, it was quite clear from my “Obamamania” viewpoint that Hilary Clinton was the spawn of Lucifer, the kind of political gremlin who would stop at no level of slime-drenched bile and slander to win the election. And indeed, Clinton did utilize some fairly shady strategies, such as equating Obama with Whitewater-investigator Kenneth Starr, darkening Obama’s image in TV ads that ran in the racially turbulent sections of Ohio, and her inconceivable fabrications regarding her voyage to Bosnia as First Lady. Yet, Paul Krugman, my progressive hero, wrote column after column that was ceaselessly critical of every facet of Obama’s candidacy, not Clinton’s. It was a frustrating, mind-boggling process, how a man who was so right so much of the time could be, ostensibly, so wrong.
Well, that’s I get for second-guessing a Nobel laureate. The main thrust of Krugman’s criticisms was that Obama’s pragmatism, his tendency to forgo the honest and altogether correct policy for the sake of public agreement, would tarnish any of his proposed reforms. To Krugman, the kind of crisis our country was experiencing did not need a Dwight D. Eisenhower, an all-round likable figure who, despite his conservatism and genuine dislike for anything resembling progress (such as equal rights for African Americans), did not attempt to tear down the very fabric of society. It needed a Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a traitor to his class who, regardless of campaign contributions and powerful lobbyists, charged ahead with their agenda and transformed the country for the better.
And now that Candidate Obama has become President Obama, all the campaign-season cries for gimmicky bipartisanship and weak-kneed reconciliations that created such nausea with hard-lined progressives such as myself have evolved into the very governing process for our country.
Propose sweeping financial reforms, including the creation of a Consumer Protection Agency, but legalize Too Big to Fail banks and specifically legislate that roughly 80 percent of the risky derivatives and credit default swaps that destroyed the American economy be permanently left off the banks’ balance sheets, all the while shoveling tens of trillions of dollars into the banks' reserves but remaining ignorant of how they use the funds; propose universal health care reform, but secretly guarantee to Pharma that the government will not, under any circumstances, negotiate drug prices for Medicare; guarantee a public option in the aforementioned health care legislation, but water it down to such a degree that private health insurance is the only viable option; ban all uses of torture, but maintain extraordinary rendition, preemptive detention, and expand the use of “State’s Secrets” privileges to such an extent that Alberto Gonzalez would weep with jealousy; claim a change in US foreign policy, but appoint one of the key proponents of torture as the leading general in Afghanistan; claim to support an independent Palestinian state, but gush over Israel for temporarily halting illegal settlements on Palestinian territories; claim that nobody is above the law, but refuse to investigate war crimes committed by the past administration.
I think we see a fairly devastating pattern here. I could go on, but the central narrative to this dialect of disgrace is painfully clear: Krugman was right. Instead of the right man for the job, the kind of leader with the, well, audacity to deliver a unilateral "F-YOU" to the Washington establishment, we have a tepid, overtly-conciliatory sellout who will sacrifice everything for claims of bipartisanship—even the welfare of the country that elected him.
So, Paul? You were right.
 An undertaking that becomes more warped with each passing day—or whenever we learn a new tidbit about Tim Geithner