New York Times op-ed writer Paul Krugman — a lauded economist — has been with greater frequency of late delving into political punditry, albeit with varying degrees of success.
Beyond question is his devotion to left-wing causes and, to a lesser degree, the Democratic Party.
And now Krugman threw down a gauntlet that few could ignore: That Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders — who just won the New Hampshire primary — isn't a socialist. Check the headline of his Thursday op-ed if you doubt it: "Bernie Sanders Isn't a Socialist."
That's right. And be damned the mountain of evidence indicating that Sanders not only is one but, er, refers to himself as one.
What are the details?
What's Krugman's rationale? Let's have a look.
Krugman indeed is hip to the fact that Sanders calls himself a socialist — except he apparently just doesn't buy it, noting that the 78-year-old Vermont senator "isn't actually a socialist in any normal sense of the term. He doesn't want to nationalize our major industries and replace markets with central planning; he has expressed admiration, not for Venezuela, but for Denmark. He's basically what Europeans would call a social democrat — and social democracies like Denmark are, in fact, quite nice places to live, with societies that are, if anything, freer than our own."
So why does Sanders call himself a socialist?
Krugman is glad you asked: "I'd say that it's mainly about personal branding, with a dash of glee at shocking the bourgeoisie. And this self-indulgence did no harm as long as he was just a senator from a very liberal state."
But now that Sanders is the unofficial Democratic front-runner and has his sights set on South Carolina, we're talking about a whole new ballgame. Krugman knows this and added in his Times' piece that "if Sanders becomes the Democratic presidential nominee, his misleading self-description will be a gift to the Trump campaign. So will his policy proposals. Single-payer health care is (a) a good idea in principle and (b) very unlikely to happen in practice, but by making Medicare for All the centerpiece of his campaign, Sanders would take the focus off the Trump administration's determination to take away the social safety net we already have."
What do others have to say about Krugman's Sanders-ain't-no-socialist mantra?
The pickings were so easy on this one that you have to wonder if Lucy is preparing to snatch the ball from the grass to watch Charlie Brown land on his ... behind.
David Harsanyi, senior writer for National Review Online, riffed off Krugmans's piece and opined that "by November, these guys will be referring to [Sanders] as a moderate Democrat."
Others on Harsanyi's Twitter thread saw things similarly:
- "He's a Marxist. Anyone with brains, common sense, and an educated background in the 'isms' knows exactly the kind of Kool aid Bernie's selling."
- "The media is working overtime trying to paint a more moderate picture of all the candidates. Unfortunately for them, the candidates don't stop talking & pandering to the voters every chance they get — promising an everything for 'free' Utopia...ya know like Venezuela."
- "Perhaps when AOC and Omar are running we will look back on the good old days of moderates like Sanders!"
- "Some of them are saying Obama is actually a moderate conservative, so I wouldn't be surprised."
- "Paul Krugman is skillfully eradicating the very last traces of his credibility."
(H/T: Red State)