Krugman reacts to the news that the Obama administration is considering a bunch of half-assed, timid moves on the economy before the election:
Look: early on the administration had a political theory: it would win bipartisan legislative victories, and each success would make Republicans who voted no feel left out, so that they would vote for the next initiative, and so on. (By the way, read that article and weep: “The massive resistance Republicans posed to Clinton in 1993 is impossible to imagine today.” They really believed that.)
This theory led to a strategy of playing it safe: never put forward proposals that might fail to pass, avoid highlighting the philosophical differences between the parties. There was never an appreciation of the risks of having policies too weak to do the job.
And then it led the administration to keep claiming that the legislation it had gotten through was just right, long past the point when it was obvious that the policies were inadequate.
And they’re still doing it. This is crazy: when you’re well down in the polls, minimal steps that won’t move the economy and won’t grab voters’ imagination are just a way of guaranteeing a devastating defeat.
I can understand why the people who persuaded Obama to go for the capillaries might still be claiming that they have the right strategy; but I don’t understand why Obama is still listening to them.