Can Someone Explain to Paul Krugman What a Troll Is?

Poor Paul Krugman, he is a nerd supreme, but his debate tactics need some serious work. He was unprepared for Scarborough’s epic slipperiness.”

And in other news, the liberal bubble burst at Oberlin this week when someone, possibly (but maybe not), was seen dressed in KKK robes on campus.

Today on #TWiBRadio, I also concede an extended cold war with the chatroom and the GOP’s big budget idea? Defund ACORN. Yes, the same ACORN that went under … three years ago.

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And this morning on #amTWiB, L. Joy explains high heels to Aaron, the NYPD is stalking teenagers, and the big banks foreclosed on everybody, even current military service-people.

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30 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    but his debate tactics need some serious work

    I didn’t really follow this whole thing, but I don’t know why academics should even be expected to be able to engage a political debate in a political format. It’s great if they can (Warren for example), but that not the usual.

    Scarborough is a professional talker, politician and TV host. I’m not surprised to hear he did better.

  2. 2
    raven says:

    @Baud: The problem is that this should have been no surprised. Krugman gets bitch slapped by people like Mary Matlin all the time. You gotta know your limitations.

  3. 3
    MattR says:

    @Baud: To paraphrase a Chris Rock bit about arguming with your woman – “An academic cannot win a debate with a politician because the academic is constrained by using facts and logic”

  4. 4
    Hill Dweller says:

    @Baud: Krugman embarrassed Squint on Morning Joke a few weeks ago. When Squint requested this stupid “debate”, Krugman should have anticipated all the stupid talking points and sophistry.

    That said, Krugman has forgotten more about economics than Squint will ever know.

    eta: Charlie Rose is a moron.

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:


    “because the academic is constrained by using facts and logic”

    Would that it were. Krugman is famous for arguing that if Obama had simply stamped his feet and held his breath Obama could have convinced congress to pass any size stimulus he wanted.

    Great at econ. Bad at politics. Incapable of recognizing his limits.

  6. 6
    the Conster says:

    He should know by now that no one in the media is interested in learning anything, or educating anyone. The media mission is to reinforce whatever the Villager narrative is, and to use wonks as undergirding for their courtier status.

  7. 7
    sharl says:

    Yeah, I asked Krugman on Twitter – and later I saw I wasn’t the first – if he had heard of the Gish Gallop, especially in light of the fact that Rmoney used that weaselly technique in his first debate with Obama.

    One needs a good and honest debate moderator to stop that sh*t, and Charlie ‘IOKIYAAR’ Rose and Jim ‘Sleepy’ Lehrer don’t measure up.

  8. 8
    El Cid says:

    Everyone who’s ever seen a horror movie knows that once you think you’ve killed ACORN and turn your back and are walking away, thinking you’ve survived and prevailed, the audience watches ACORN rise up behind you, just as deadly.

  9. 9
    Darkrose says:

    So way back in the dark ages of three years ago, maybe, I had a TWiB app for my iPod Touch. It never worked–crashed all the time, wouldn’t open at all–so I trashed it.

    Yesterday, though, I really, really wanted to hear what y’all had to say about that Philadelphia magazine cover (WTF???). No one likes the new iOS Podcast app, so I downloaded RSS Radio and listened. I’m glad I did; y’all are hilarious.

  10. 10
    ruemara says:

    So after all the shit Obama took, including from Krugman, he wasn’t prepared for this? Small wonder.

  11. 11
    mainmati says:

    @MikeJ: I get your point but I think you’re mistaken. Krugman has been a) offering correct policy recommendations and b) providing public awareness/education for years. For example, his politically sensible suggestion to ask much more than Obama’s advisers suggested for the first stimulus was based on the recognition that the Rethuglicans would drive it back down but it would still end up being at a higher level than he actually ended up getting. Which made a big difference in the employment impact. His public education role via the op/ed age, the blog and TV appearances is a one-man campaign against the general center-right idiocy of the Village and especially the TeeVee media.

  12. 12
    askew says:


    So after all the shit Obama took, including from Krugman, he wasn’t prepared for this? Small wonder.

    Yep, it is interesting to see all of the people who piled on Obama making excuses for Krugman.

  13. 13
    Waynski says:

    He cares about this. That’s why he did it. Sure he should have seen the sandbag coming. But at this stage in life being set upon by two “now” Brooks Brothers jocks rhetorically throwing the nerd in the Village hallway garbage I’m sure was not something he was expecting. It will not diminish my respect for Krugthulu. He made a mistake and, unlike others, manned up, admitted it, and is moving on. Our economist and defender is learning.

  14. 14
    MomSense says:


    Um the Republicans did drive down what he requested anyway. Collins requested that pandemic preparation and school construction funding be cut from the ARRA.

    And then H1N1 hit and our local school (I’m in Maine) collapsed from snow.

    Also, if you go back and read the statements you will find that everyone was thinking too small. Pelosi was talking publicly in the 350 billion range to give one example.

  15. 15


    his politically sensible suggestion to ask much more than Obama’s advisers suggested for the first stimulus

    This is not politically sensible. The senate does not work like a used car salesman. That Krugman not only thought it was politically sensible, but argued repeatedly that Obama never wanted more or he would have used this tactic, is kinda the problem here. I generally feel that Krugman’s a good guy pressing the need for better economic policies, but he loves to backseat quarterback, and he’s not friendly about it.

  16. 16
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: also overlooks how reluctant a lot of Democrats were to pass the stimulus that was. Does anyone really think Evan Bayh, Claire McCaskill and half a dozen others wouldn’t have pounced like starving cats on a fat mouse at the chance to scold Obama for going too far? They fucking did. And as Mike Grunwald pointed out, no small number of legislators, to say nothing of voters, didn’t understand the difference between a stimulus and a bail out.

  17. 17
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: To me, Krugman’s main argument was that the administration should say, ” we need X. Because of reasons, we won’t be able to get more than 0.6X. That is good, because it will make a big difference and stop the collapse, but to really get back to where we need to be, we’re going to need more in the future.”

    Instead, the administration acted like they got what they needed, and that left open the “stimulus didn’t work!” door, and precluded the approach Krugman thinks they should take, which is more like “Just because the first bucket didn’t put out the fire, it doesn’t mean ‘water failed’, it just means you need more water”.

  18. 18
    Cacti says:

    Krugman’s a brilliant economist and a total naif about politics.

    Did he think a professional huckster like Scarborough was going to follow the Oxford Society rules?

  19. 19

    @Lurking Canadian:
    The administration has been pushing for more stimulus and sneaking little bits into every bill they could pass from the moment the first stimulus WAS passed. Neither the national media nor the blogging world ever wanted to talk about it, but it was in his speeches. Hell, the deficit speech was thirty seconds of ‘we need to reduce the deficit’ and twenty minutes of ‘but we need to spend MORE on the future, so let’s cut defense and raise taxes on the rich.’

  20. 20
    mai naem says:

    I saw Krugman debate Bill Oreilly way back with Tim Russert. This is when Russert used to do a show on CNBC called something like WSJ Weekend Show. Anyhow, Krugman was godawful. OReilly completely dominated the show and was just his normal bullying self. Krugman’s come a ways from that but he desperately needs media training. CAP does media training and I wish they would take him under their wing and make him shine. Krugman reminds me a little of Howard Dean way back in 02 when he first started his campaign. One would barely recognize the 02 Howard Dean looking at the ’13 Howard Dean. He’s so polished and sharp now.

  21. 21
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @mai naem: I remember that show, O’Reilly bellowing “Call Fidel! Call Fidel!” when Krugman referenced Media Matters, and Krugman getting madder and madder. I remember thinking, just laugh at him, look at this buffoon and laugh. If you caught Lawrence O’Donnell tonight, or if you actually watch O’Reilly, he had another rage-gasm at Allan Colmes tonight or last night, bellowing and crazy-eyed.

  22. 22
    El Cid says:

    I don’t think Krugman did that bad. Couple of times he slapped Scarboy silly if anyone was paying attention. And the times that Scarboy thinks he made a point, it was primarily to the blockhead doofuses such as the wooden center-fetishist hosting the show.

  23. 23
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Just a note: That’s not Mediaite’s video, and I really wish you’d use a legitimate outlet unless none is available.

  24. 24
    fuckwit says:

    Obama is the role model here. He got Gish Galloped by RMoney and said, no way am I ever going to get punked like that again, and he studied, and sparred, and trained, and learned. And he came out fighting in that second debate and bitch-slapped RMoney like a Jerry Springer guest.

    Pro tip to Krugthulu, which Obama figured out (eventually): television is an ENTERTAINMENT medium, not an education medium or a policy forum. It’s not academic debate. It’s pro wrestling. It’s a SHOW, goddammit. It’s a prize fight. People want fists thrown and blood and screaming and witty zingers and simple body-slams thrown about.

    THAT is how you win a televised debate. There is no other way.

    If you find this fact distasteful, then don’t do TV debates. But if you’re going to get on TV against a professional entertainer, learn how to do it right, or don’t complain if you get pwned.

  25. 25

    Obama was pretty good at it already, but Romney… I will give him this. He gish galloped like no one I have ever seen before. He seemed utterly at home and without remorse telling flat-out lies about his positions, his history, basic facts, everything. I have some sympathy for Krugman here, because it is very hard to come out ahead of that kind of dishonesty.

  26. 26
    Throwin Stones says:

    It was ugly.
    I like Krugman and Obama. Very much dislike Mornin’ Joe.
    But that was ugly.

    ETA: Why didn’t Krugman bring up the dead intern?

  27. 27
    cokane says:


    the word media is a plural noun

    “the media need to hear” fix that plz, you want to be considered articulate right? ;p

  28. 28
    TriassicSands says:


    I have some sympathy for Krugman here, because it is very hard to come out ahead of that kind of dishonesty.


    Krugman is one of my favorite political human beings, but he’s terrible on TV. After appearing regularly on TV for many years he is still obviously uncomfortable. Watch his eyes…the way he looks down and to the side gives the impression of his being shifty. Joe is a performer — short on substance, long on being at ease in a public forum. He and Krugman are virtual opposites — one has lots of knowledge and substance, but terrible stage presence; the other is a slippery weasel and political hack, but very comfortable in front of cameras or an audience.

    Krugman’s writing is invaluable. Joe contributes nothing meaningful. I’d love to have Krugman coach me on substance if I had a debate, but if I needed advice on performance, I’d find someone else. Life is not fair; Krugman has more than his share of intellect and he’s incredibly successful, but he really isn’t any good on television. He’d be wise to avoid future debates.

  29. 29
    dr. bloor says:

    And in other news, the liberal bubble burst at Oberlin this week when someone, possibly (but maybe not), was seen dressed in KKK robes on campus.

    I can assure you, someone running around in the cold wearing nothing but a blanket is far more plausible there.

    Administration claims to have identified the hate-graffiti artists as well, who they claim are “no longer on campus.” Apparently the Malkins misread the date for their cluster reunion this year.

  30. 30
    AnonPhenom says:

    I just finished watching the Krugman vs Rose/Scarborogh thing and I have to say I thought Paul came off OK. Yeah, not great. But not the faceplant the wingnuts are on about either.
    Rose was obvious about where his sympathies lay (interrupting Krugman constantly, and Scarborogh rarely)
    Scarborogh was Scarborogh. All posture and no substance. I was pleasantly surprised that he only broke into his rendition of ‘Glory Days’ (“back in 1994”)2 or 3 times and, if memory serves, only mentioned ‘Reagan and Tip O’Neil’ once! (thought he did name drop about a half dozen ‘experts’ when asked to come up with actual facts, figures and policies … Shorter MorningJoe: ‘I don’t know shit, but I’m with these guys’)

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