DeLong to Krugman to Reich

The great thing about procrastinating is that, much more often than not, somebody else does it for you. Better than you can.

Better than I can, anyway.

Who Are You and What Have You Done with the Paul Krugman I Used to Know?

I would have thought it impossible for Krugman to cite Robert Reich completely approvingly, without even a trace of snark. Yet, lo and behold, it has happened:

Read Robert Reich: Just read. He’s right.

Robert Reich:

Robert Reich’s Blog: “What Can I Do?”: Someone recently approached me at the cheese counter of a local supermarket, asking “what can I do?” At first I thought the person was seeking advice about a choice of cheese. But I soon realized the question was larger than that. It was: what can I do about the way things are going in Washington?

People who voted for Barack Obama tend to fall into one of two camps: Trusters, who believe he’s a good man with the right values and he’s doing everything he can; and cynics, who have become disillusioned with his bailouts of Wall Street, flimsy proposals for taming the Street, willingness to give away 85 percent of cap-and-trade pollution permits, seeming reversals on eavesdropping and torture, and squishiness on a public option for health care.

In my view, both positions are wrong. A new president — even one as talented and well-motivated as Obama — can’t get a thing done in Washington unless the public is actively behind him. As FDR said in the reelection campaign of 1936 when a lady insisted that if she were to vote for him he must commit to a long list of objectives, “Ma’am, I want to do those things, but you must make me.”

We must make Obama do the right things. Email, write, and phone the White House. Do the same with your members of Congress. Round up others to do so. Also: Find friends and family members in red states who agree with you, and get them fired up to do the same. For example, if you happen to have a good friend or family member in Montana, you might ask him or her to write Max Baucus and tell him they want a public option included in any healthcare bill.

My memory reaches back to September 18, 1787:

Mrs. Powell: “Well, doctor, what have we got?”

Benjamin Franklin: “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

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