Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Obama as the New Nixon

Paul Krugman has been on Barack Obama's case for weeks, criticizing him over Social Security and health care, but in today's New York Times, he goes over the line into comparing supporters of the "new Kennedy" to, of all people, the old Nixon.

Ironically, Krugman quotes Adlai Stevenson decrying the effect of Eisenhower's VP in making America “a land of slander and scare; the land of sly innuendo, the poison pen, the anonymous phone call and hustling, pushing, shoving; the land of smash and grab and anything to win. This is Nixonland.”

If anything, for some observers, Obama has evoked Stevenson more than JFK in his thoughtful approach and willingness to credit voters with enough intelligence to go beyond sound-bite slogans. His "Yes, We Can" style has been the polar opposite of Nixon's approach to politics.

But Krugman says "most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality. We’ve already had that from the Bush administration--remember Operation Flight Suit? We really don’t want to go there again."

A combination of Nixon and George W. Bush? To quote the Republican phrasemaker of 2008, Mike Huckabee, "If you're getting a lot of flak, you must be over the target."

1 comment:

Liza said...

Krugman is clearly running out of things to say. Time for book writing leave perhaps?