By Arnold Kling
I think Paul Krugman simply has this completely wrong.
He is referring to what seems to be an obscure sparring point on health care reform, going back to her failed reform effort of 1994.
One narrative, which Paul Krugman seems to support, is that Mrs. Clinton was a victim of the evil right wing. The other narrative, which DeLong seems to support, is that she was arrogant and isolated, resulting in a reform proposal that was flawed both economically and politically. DeLong was in the Treasury Department at the time and has written in the past that economists were frustrated by being shut out of Mrs. Clinton’s health care task force.
There are plenty of good economic advisers on the Democratic side. One’s worry is whether they will have any voice. It would not surprise me to learn that Senator Obama is better than Senator Clinton at sorting out advice. There has to be some reason that his campaign has run more smoothly than hers.
McCain discussed what he was reading. It is safe to say that Gingrich, Norquist, Gerson, and Frum were not on his nightstand; McCain is almost always looking at military histories or political biographies. In the 2000 campaign, he seemed to be reading a lot about Theodore Roosevelt, and he frequently worked T.R. anecdotes into his conversations. These days, he often cites William Manchester, a former marine and a Second World War veteran, who has written biographies of Winston Churchill and General Douglas MacArthur…
Recently, McCain said, he had read “The Coldest Winter,” David Halberstam’s account of the Korean War and its era. “I strongly recommend it,” he told the reporters. “It’s beautifully done. It’s not just about the war, but it’s a very good description, whether you agree with it or not, of the political climate at that time—the split in the Republican Party between the Taft wing”—Senator Robert Taft, of Ohio—“and the Eisenhower wing, and Harry Truman’s incredible relationship with MacArthur.”
I approve of the Senator’s taste. I have read Manchester’s first two volumes of Churchill’s biography several times (sadly, the third volume was not finished, but much of that period is covered by Churchill’s own six-volume history of the second World War). Halberstam’s book on Korea is also very powerful.
I have not read the books of Gingrich, Gerson, or Frum, either. But when I come across their work on the op-ed pages, it strikes me as favoring activist government and lacking in the humility factor.
Finally, we have Tyler Cowen’s take.
most of the country’s economic problems won’t be solved at the voting booth. It is already too late to stop an economic downturn. Health care costs will keep rising, no matter who becomes president or which party controls Congress. China is now a bigger carbon polluter than the United States, so don’t expect a tax or cap-and-trade rules to solve global warming, even if American measures are very stringent — and they probably won’t be, because higher home heating bills are not a vote winner. A Democratic president may propose more spending on social services, but most of the federal budget is on automatic pilot. Furthermore, even if a Republican president wanted to cut back on such mandates, the bulk of them are here to stay.
Read the whole thing.