Apparently, Newsweek is going to put Krugman on the cover this week and include a letter from the editor saying:
Every once a while, … a critic emerges who is more than a chatterer—a critic with credibility whose views seem more than a little plausible and who manages to rankle those in power in more than passing ways. As the debate over the rescue of the financial system—the crucial step toward stabilizing the economy and returning the country to prosperity—unfolds, the man on our cover this week, Paul Krugman of The New York Times, has emerged as the kind of critic who, as Evan Thomas writes, appears disturbingly close to the mark when he expresses his ‘despair’ over the administration’s bailout plan. …
There is little doubt that Krugman—Nobel laureate and Princeton professor—has be come the voice of the loyal opposition. What is striking about this development is that Obama’s most thoughtful critic is taking on the president from the left at a time when, as Jonathan Alter notes, so many others are reflexively arguing that the administration is trying too much too soon.
A devoted liberal, Krugman hungers for what he calls ‘a new New Deal,’ and he prides himself on his status as an outsider.
What’s most important about Krugman right now isn’t whether he’s right or wrong but that he’s starting to get traction attacking Obama from the left. Obama’s stimulus package was, in my view, not as large as it should have been in large part because the debate was all about whether or not it was too big. The Geithner bank plan is drawing little scrutiny from the cable chatterers because Wall Street seems to like it and the Republicans are yet to produce their own alternative 19 page flow chart on the subject. In effect, for now, the economic debate in the mainstream media ranges from Geithner-Summers banksterism to Bachmann-Santelli-Shelby currency craziness/tax holiday idiocy/”let them fail” know nothingism. That is not a healthy situation.
It’s worth remembering that criticism of Roosevelt from the likes of Huey Long, Francis Townsend, and Charles Coughlin, crackpots though they were, played an important role in setting the stage for the Second New Deal. One can only hope that Krugman and his ilk will succeed in moving the debate from moderation versus right-wing craziness to moderation versus more aggressive policies.