The chorus of criticism of President Obama's economic plan has been almost deafening, and it isn't coming from Republicans but Democrats. Sure, the Republicans are engaging in scare tactics about tens of trillions in deficits, but it's the liberal naysayers such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman who've been the real critics.
They should lay off. Krugman's lamentations about Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's bank rescue plan simply don't add up. Is the plan perfect? No. But it does provide a road map to recovery, one that can be amended in coming weeks and months. Krugman's complaints, by contrast, reek of theology. The notion that a Wall Street cabal has captured Obama and that taxpayers will be on the hook for the bad bank loans rests on the assumption that the economy won't recover. But if the Geithner plan works -- as I suspect it will -- then these objections will seem picayune and pointless.
Perhaps the most perplexing aspect of the liberal attack on the Obama administration is that it betrays a kind of pathological political death-wish among Democrats. When Ronald Reagan was trying to extricate America from recession in his first term, Republicans weren't denouncing him. Democrats, by contrast, seem to have no compunction about flaying their president a few months into his first term as courting failure. No doubt they depict it as concern for his success. But it remains astonishing that a variety of pundits and lawmakers continue to underestimate Obama, who is, by a wide margin, the most shrewd and thoughtful president America has had in decades. Will Obama rescue the economy? Yes, he can. But not if the Democrats try to stop him first.