The president that Tim Geithner works for is making policy, and he didn't ask Paul Krugman or Rush Limbaugh for their permission! So Krugman and Limbaugh are building personal Obama-Will-Fail, media-based ego empires to hedge their anti-Obama bet.
Yes, I know that open discussion, a "loyal opposition" and all that play a part, and that the strength of the Democratic Party is the free exchange of ideas, as opposed to the top down ideological "purity" of the folks in the Republican Party. However the Obama critics to the left criticize some members of his team for being beholden to the "Wall Street mentality." Well, what about the ethos they are beholden to? These commentators live in a media news cycle bubble, wherein after only 8 weeks they already expect miracles, or they are academics who live in the academy bubble where it's all hot air all the time with no personal buck-stops-here accountability.
Enough is enough! Some of us -- including this life-long Republican and now independent voter -- voted for Obama, and, guess what?: we will back him! We trust Obama more than we trust his detractors. We actually believe in him and are ready to think in years not sound bites.
The Krugman/Limbaugh legacy now depends on Obama (and America) failing in order to vindicate these (and many other) naysayers. Luckily for Krugman/Limbaugh, their "predictions" get a big hearing so they can help guarantee the outcome of their Obama Is Wrong prophecies; sort of like God. Maybe not even "sort of," because together Krugman/Limbaugh make the perfect team: the smart white lefty and the stupid white righty together at last!
The Nobel committee said; ""Krugman has deepened our understanding of the determinants of trade and the location of economic activity." And Limbaugh has 20 million listeners! Nevertheless, Obama thinks he can lead America without Krugman/Limbaugh. See, Krugman/Limbaugh backed Hillary and sniped at Obama through the primary. But the American people wouldn't do what Krugman/Limbaugh told them to do and didn't back their candidate, irrespective of the fact Krugman/Limbaugh said only Hillary could win and govern.
If Obama succeeds will Krugman's Nobel Prize become an SNL-style joke, something like Arafat's Nobel? Will Krugman/Limbaugh get made fun of by Jon Stewart? What will Krugman/Limbaugh do if by the end of next year an economic turnaround is in full swing? (Note to Krugman/Limbaugh: buy stock - in anything but newspapers -- just in case.)
Krugman worked his whole life for a Nobel Prize, the way some actors strive for an Oscar. Some folks need more affirmation than others. It's tough to prove that a life spent in the softest of soft "sciences" in academia matters as much as being Bono or the President or something sexy like that! So Krugman got his prize and now he's on the cover of Newsweek too and all over the Sunday news shows!
Suck on that all you jocks who made fun of Krugman at high school in Bellmore! Suck on that Clinton administration Undersecretary of Commerce Jeffrey Garten, who said of Krugman that; "He behaves like someone with a massive chip on his shoulder." Suck on that all you who questioned Krugman's judgment, just because he worked for Ronald Reagan and was a consultant for Enron! How could anyone question Krugman's liberal credentials or political savvy just because he's a progressive ripping into our progressive first black president? Didn't Krugman write a book called The Conscience of a Liberal? See? He is the conscience of liberalism!
As for Limbaugh, how could he be wrong? A $400 million radio deal proves he must know something we ordinary voters don't about the American way.
Thanks to Obama, Krugman/Limbaugh are more famous -- and therefore richer (and more relevant, perhaps even sexier -- if you're into old white men!) -- than ever, all because Krugman is a Democrat smearing (and sneering at) the new Democratic president's economic team and policies, and all because Limbaugh had the guts to say what every flag-waving, Jesus-loving Republican really hopes: better America fails than Republicans are proved wrong!
Talk about no honeymoon! Krugman/Limbaugh are mugging Obama at the altar! And things are looking up for the muggers: Obama is distracted by trying to fight the two wars he inherited, turn around the economy he inherited, revamp education, change our energy policy, stop global warming, prevent nuclear war... all that actual responsibility stuff Krugman/Limbaugh don't "do." So all Krugman/Limbaugh need to do to guarantee they are proved right -- is to keep chipping away at Obama's economic plans and credibility night and day until the rest of us (right and left) lose confidence in Obama. Unlike the President, Krugman/Limbaugh only have one task: go negative 24/7. Plus, unlike Obama, Krugman/Limbaugh take no actual risks. Crazy racists don't usually shoot white academics and/or white entertainers. And when tenured professors fail (and/or zillionaire entertainers), who cares? They've got theirs.
Still, Krugman/Limbaugh's reputation may not be completely secure, even with the help of the we-never-met-a-doom-story-we-didn't like media. What if the nightmare scenario occurs? What if a few years from now Krugman/Limbaugh are just obscure footnotes to history, some sort of bitter joke? Maybe they'll wind up the way radio personality and pontificator Reverend Coughlin did after Roosevelt succeeded and all Coughlin's shrill predictions of ruin (made in the 1930s) came to nothing.
Sure Coughlin was of the far, far nutty right and Krugman is of far, far nutty left, but those Far-Everything-Ideologue-Guys have to stick together against what they regard as the cowardly center, inhabited those who are about responsibility and real time choices and necessary compromise.
From the Krugman/Limbaugh nightmare point of view America is scarily strong, rich, resilient, generous and creative. In comparison to the rest of the world our problems are flea bites. What is so scary for Krugman/Limbaugh and the rest of the Obama-Must-Fail-Prophets-For-Profit-and-Glory, is that every challenge confronting us has a ready solution. Worse yet -- from the Krugman/Limbaugh point of view -- we're about to shift to a vast trillion dollar entrepreneurial green economy. We're about to rebuild our infrastructure. We are about to launch a massive environmental clean up. We have a much loved and fearless levelheaded president and, for the first time in decades, the world loves our president.
What scares Krugman/Limbaugh silly is that by the end of next year we may see the beginnings of a massive economic turnaround. But there is hope for the Krugman/Limbaugh mugging duo yet: Obama has the toughest start of any American president with the exception of Lincoln, so he should be easy to take down. And we mere voters who back our president notwithstanding, Krugman/Limbaugh can count on the sound bite 24-hour news cycle carnivore press to amplify their voices because doom passes for entertainment these days.
So Krugman/Limbaugh are probably good to go for another round of self-fulfilling prophecy spouting, even if -- worst case -- the President succeeds. For Krugman/Limbaugh it's you lose we win. Even if they are proved wrong they'll get away with it, because the media will never give a black man the credit for saving our country, just like they didn't give him a honeymoon.
Frank Schaeffer is the author of Crazy For God: How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back. Now in paperback.