Why is Paul Krugman Misrepresenting the Demise of a Wall Street Funded, Right Wing, Entitlement-Bashing Front Group?
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Paul Krugman’s partisanship has become so shameless that we are giving him the inaugural Eric Schneiderman Decoy Award for his post “ Things Fall Apart“. The Schneiderman Decoy Award goes for exceptional achievement in turning one’s good name over to particularly rancid Obama Administration initiatives.
Krugman’s post didn’t merely contain some cringe-making fawning over Obama; it was egregiously incorrect on the development that prompted the post, that of the death of Americans Elect, a shadowy group that was out to sponsor a Presidential candidate. It’s hard to believe that Krugman does not know the orientation and aims of this failed effort.
Tom Ferguson, a political scientist who is widely considered the top expert on money in American politics, called out Americans Elect in March on AlterNet as a group out promote a right-wing, anti-entitlement message as “centrist” (for the record, polls regularly show majority votes in favor of preserving Social Security and Medicare). He also deemed their effort to be dead on arrival:
"Last year a group, Americans Elect, surfaced with a plan that strikingly resembled one of the schemes of 2008. The idea was for an independent presidential campaign with some characteristically twenty-first century features, notably a primary to be conducted over the internet probably late in the spring, 2012…
Americans Elect’s very expensive efforts to get on the ballot in all 50 states, though, sported some very traditional features. Though it staked out a rhetorical claim to the political center, it declined to reveal who was financing it. The few moneybags it acknowledged were hardly from the political center. Peter Ackerman, for example, who acknowledges helping to finance the start up, was formerly Director of Capital Markets at Drexel Burnham Lambert, the firm Michael Milken made famous. Together with a long record of involvement in various Republican foreign policy ventures, he has championed Social Security “reform” with organizations such as the Cato Institute. Though Americans Elect has somewhat broadened its board, Ackerman’s son Elliot is the outfit’s Chief Operating Officer. And in public the organization has focused overwhelmingly on one issue: the deficit, and the need to cut government spending.
That Bloomberg would be by far the group’s strongest candidate is no secret…With Bloomberg continuing to discourage speculation about an independent bid, talk recently turned to other candidates who might mount a campaign championing deficit reduction. David Walker, the former U.S. Comptroller General and past CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, the high aerie of deficit Superhawks, has been prominently mentioned. A recent press account had Walker holding a meeting to discuss Americans Elect with various tycoons and media moguls, including a News Corporation executive and Tina Brown.
A presidential campaign by Walker or anyone besides Bloomberg is basically a Mission Impossible."
Krugman instead, loudly, treats the centrist claims of the now-defunct Americans Elect as accurate:
"And the center not only did not hold, it couldn’t seem to get any attention whatsoever. Americans Elect, a lavishly funded “centrist” group that was supposed to provide an alternative to traditional political parties, has been a ridiculous flop. Basically, about seven people were actually excited about the venture — all of them political pundits. Actual voters couldn’t care less…
So why Americans Elect? Because there exists in America a small class of professional centrists, whose stock in trade is denouncing the extremists in both parties and calling for a middle ground….
Americans Elect was created to appeal to this class of professional centrists — which meant that it was doomed to go nowhere."
And why does Krugman want us to believe this “centrist” organization was doomed? Not because it was a vehicle for deficit hawkery that would get traction only if Bloomberg took up its mission, but because all sensible real centrists will of course vote for Obama: