Today's column is titled "Divided They Stand" and in it you'd expect Krugman to lay out a plan for the Democrats to unify the party to take on McCain. Well, he'll get to that in a minute...First, he has to spend four paragraphs bemoaning the latest "fake scandal" that is being trumped up against Clinton—never mind that this RFK thing was entirely of her own making. Yes, the outrage amps were cranked up "to eleven," but it was Hillary herself that kicked it off, and then compounded it with her weak-ass "apology."
Krugman in his rush to absolve Hillary and shift blame to Obama (or the universally vague "Obama supporters") never mentions that Obama and his campaign were pretty goddamn gracious about the whole thing and resisted piling on like Clinton did every time she had a chance to show some class or grace.
Krugman gets down to the business of "uniting the party" by announcing Obama has a problem:
Mr. Obama will be the Democratic nominee. But he has a problem: many grass-roots Clinton supporters feel that she has received unfair, even grotesque treatment. And the lingering bitterness from the primary campaign could cost Mr. Obama the White House.
To bolster his case, PK points to some stupid poll showing that Obama trails McCain in Florida while Hillary leads. In fucking May—with the Dems still splitting votes versus McCain. From that poll, Krugman extrapolates that this is all the result of disgruntled Clinton supporters, and that Obama needs to win over and bring them back to the party.
First, I think the number of "I'm so disgruntled that Hillary lost that I'll vote for McCain or stay home because Hillary had a tough time and I blame it all on Obama" is way overblown. It certainly pales in comparison to the number of African American voters who would be (far more justifiably) disaffected if Clinton were to somehow abscond with the nomination. Plus, let's not forget the excited youth vote (aka the future of the party) that Obama actually seems to be delivering for once.
Second, these disgruntled die-hard Hillary supporters (I tangle with them regularly at Shakesville) are beyond Obama's appeal, if not all reason. They are the equivalent of Bush's 23-percenters, and that brand of identity politics is not worth bending Obama's platform to embrace.
Krugman blames Obama (?!?!) for dismissing Clinton's support as "a purely Appalachian phenomenon." More bullshit. That's only come up as a result of three recent primaries, all of which took place with Clinton desperately trying to close the gap, and SHE is the one that attempted to use those numbers as an indication that Obama can't win with "hardworking white Americans." Obama and his campaign would just assume not acknowledge those losses, but when forced to explain them, the only thing differentiating these "blue collar whites" from the ones that Obama carrieds everywhere else—from Oregon to Wisconsin—IS the Appalachia/racism factor.
The big problem really is that Krugman, as always, is laying all of Clinton's mistreatment (and there has been plenty) at the feet of Obama and "Obama supporters." That's bullshit. And frankly, this sounds disturbingly like February's "Nixonland" column when Krugman used his email inbox as illustrative of the wide world of Obama supporters.
Disgruntled Clinton supporters can and should be pissed at the treatment of their candidate by the media and punditry—it's been at times awful and disgusting—but Obama and his "official" campaign have been pretty fucking easy on her. There have been tussles, but by and large, he has run a pretty high-road campaign, even as Clinton threw the kitchen sink at him, and even questioned his qualifications for the job—while endorsing their GOP foe's.
Krugman spends exactly one brief paragraph on what role Clinton has had and will have in all of this:
Mrs. Clinton needs to do her part: she needs to be careful not to act as a spoiler during what’s left of the primary, she needs to bow out gracefully if, as seems almost certain, Mr. Obama receives the nod, and she needs to campaign strongly for the nominee once the convention is over. She has said she’ll do that, and there’s no reason to believe that she doesn’t mean it.
What fucking planet has Krugman been on the last week? I was actually ready to write almost the same thing—two weeks ago! Before Hillary decided to head down to Florida and undermine the legitimacy of the presumptive nominee. That's not playing the spoiler? Comparing the electoral process to Zimbabwe is being graceful?
So when Krugman concludes that it's Obama that has to clean up the race, it's almost laughable. Hillary has been setting fire to everything she can as she goes down, but "mainly it’s up to Mr. Obama to deliver the unity he has always promised..."
One thing to do would be to make a gesture of respect for Democrats who voted in good faith by recognizing Florida’s primary votes — which at this point wouldn’t change the outcome of the nomination fight.
Really, then why was the gracious, non-spoiling Hillary continue to beat the Florida thing into the ground?
The only reason I can see for Obama supporters to oppose seating Florida is that it might let Mrs. Clinton claim that she received a majority of the popular vote. But which is more important — denying Mrs. Clinton bragging rights, or possibly forfeiting the general election?
Yeak, Professor, Hillary just wants "bragging rights" and a "Perfect Primary Attendance Trophy"...she would use that exact popular vote scenario (dubious though it would be) to try and hijack the race. In fact, she's already trying...
What about offering Mrs. Clinton the vice presidency? If I were Mr. Obama, I’d do it. Adding Mrs. Clinton to the ticket — or at least making the offer — might help heal the wounds of an ugly primary fight.
Here’s the point: the nightmare Mr. Obama and his supporters should fear is that in an election year in which everything favors the Democrats, he will nonetheless manage to lose. He needs to do everything he can to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Of course to Krugman, adding Clinton to the ticket has no down side. None at all. As if the droves of disaffected Republicans currently sitting this one out wouldn't be awakened by a Clinton anywhere on the ticket. Pretty sure there're more of them than there are pissed-off Hillarybots. And nowhere in there is there anything that Clinton could do—like perhaps to knock some sense into her supporters?...it's all on Obama to try an win them over, while Hillary goes about stoking the embers.
Andrew Sullivan wraps up his critique of Krugman..."I've been open to an Obama-Clinton ticket; but the more you see of the Clintons, the more you realize that getting rid of them - and the assumptions they represent - is part of what this entire campaign has come to be about."
Yeah. Pretty much.
UPDATE: More from: Carpetbagger, Too Sense, John Cole, Aravosis