Politics & Policy

I’M Loving It

Krugman’s post-election meltdown -- and more!

On Election Day, Paul Krugman was all choked up. Now, he’s just choking. And I won’t kid you — I’m loving it.

Here’s what America’s most dangerous liberal pundit had to say in his New York Times column Tuesday morning, when he expected John Kerry to win the presidency:

I always get a little choked up when I go to the local school to cast my vote. The humbleness of the surroundings only emphasizes the majesty of the process: this is democracy, America’s great gift to the world, in action.

But over the last few days I’ve been seeing pictures from Florida that are even more majestic. They show long lines of voters, snaking through buildings and on down the sidewalk: citizens patiently waiting to do their civic duty. Those people still believe in American democracy; and because they do, so do I. …

Regular readers won’t be in any doubt about who I want to win, though New York Times rules prevent me from giving any explicit endorsement. (Hint: it’s the side that benefits from large turnout.) Above all, though, I want to see democracy vindicated, and the stain of 2000 eradicated, by a clean election in which as many people as possible get to cast their votes, and have those votes counted.

The poor guy. How easy it was for him to get all misty-eyed and magnanimous, and wish for nothing more than a clean election, when he thought that it was his candidate who would benefit from a large voter turnout. But his predictions for Tuesday proved to have been as absurdly wrong as near everything else he has written in his Times column over the last four years.

And the misty eyes didn’t last that long. In his column today, Krugman’s eyes are dry and his fangs are bared. It’s full of all the hate-filled Bush-bashing talking points we’ve heard repeated for years now — the same ones Kerry campaigned on, and the same ones that sent him to defeat. And what about Tuesday’s homage to the tear-jerking glory of American democracy, rendered all the more glorious by record turnout?

President Bush isn’t a conservative. He’s a radical — the leader of a coalition that deeply dislikes America as it is … thanks to a heavy turnout by evangelical Christians, Mr. Bush has four more years to advance that radical agenda. … Mr. Bush did not win in a landslide. Without the fading but still potent aura of 9/11, when the nation was ready to rally around any leader, he wouldn’t have won at all.

But, of course, Bush did win in a landslide. And when the angry sputtering is all over, that’s a rebuke just too humiliating for Krugman to withstand. For all of us who have been wondering what a defeated Krugman would do if Bush were reelected, now we know: Like Scarlett O’Hara, he’s retiring to the fainting sofa:

I’ll be starting a long-planned break next week, to work on an economics textbook. I’ll be back in January.

I didn’t think my joy Tuesday night could be made any more complete, but it has been. Just think — two months of Krugman-free Tuesdays and Fridays. Oh, by the way, I hereby volunteer to proof-read Krugman’s textbook before it is published. He’s been known to make mistakes, and I’ve been known to catch them.

Krugman’s not the only hate-filled liberal celeb who’s swooning. Zillionaire George Soros, who threw $100 million down the Kerry sinkhole, said just before the election that if Bush wins “I shall go into some kind of monastery.”

A particular humiliation for Soros must be the fact that he, celebrated as “the man who broke the Bank of England” with his speculative attacks on the British pound in 1992, was bested during this election by a tiny online futures market. We’ll never know if it was Soros, but as I’ve reported here, someone using Soros’s trading philosophy tried to manipulate the futures on George Bush’s reelection probabilities, traded online at Tradesports.com. After whoever it was threw away millions of dollars on losing trades to push futures prices down at critical moments in the campaign — to make it seem as though Bush’s chances were worse than they really were — the futures nevertheless turned out to be near-perfect predictors of the election.

What other form of polling had a track record like this, in this crazy election year? Tradesports futures prices, as of month-end September (a little more than a month before the election),

‐ correctly predicted Bush would win;

‐ correctly predicted all 50 states except three (N.H., Wis., N.M.);

‐ correctly predicted all 34 Senate races except four (Alaska, Fla., N.C., S.D. — in all cases the GOP won);

‐ correctly predicted the GOP would keep Senate control; and

‐ correctly predicted the GOP would keep House control.

Tradesports futures prices as of the last Friday in October (four days before the election)

‐ correctly predicted Bush would win;

‐ correctly predicted all 50 states except one (Wis.);

‐ correctly predicted all 34 senate races except one (Alaska);

‐ correctly predicted the GOP would keep Senate control;

‐ correctly predicted the GOP would keep House control.

Everyone who celebrates Bush’s victory must have his or her own personal post-election schadenfreude list. Perhaps you especially savor Michael Moore’s humiliation — or Terry McAuliffe’s, or Dan Rather’s. So many liberal hate-mongers, so little time. As an economist and a trader, Krugman and Soros are at the top of my list. But as a blogger, I take special pleasure in the sudden and ignominious ending of the 15 minutes of fame of such online smear artists as Brad DeLong, Joshua Marshall, Markos Moulitsas (who blogs as “Kos”), and Duncan Black (who blogs as “Atrios”).

These bloggers have constituted an online echo-chamber, amplifying and repeating the party line dictated by liberal alpha wolves like Krugman and McAuliffe. At the same time, they have acted as an “oppo research” network, digging up unsubstantiated Bush-bashing lies that pundits like Krugman can then validate simply by publishing them in respectable media. And where do you think the money comes from so that these bloggers can sit around all day in their pajamas blogging, instead of doing real work? No surprise — some of it comes from George Soros.

But the jig us up. Yesterday, Atrios wrote,

I hope … that neither the generosity of wealthy benefactors nor the flood of small money donations from the less-than-rich crowd stops flowing to the new infrastructure we’re creating. But, I’m increasingly getting the sense that part of the problem is that at the moment it isn’t clear just what this infrastructure is supposed to be supporting. We need to figure out just what our ideas and message are, and then the infrastructure will help us project them into the public mind.


Mr. Krugman, please keep telling us what to think — we don’t know “what our ideas and message are” or what we are “supposed to be supporting.” And Mr. Soros, even though you threw $100 million away paying people like me to fail to win the presidency for John Kerry, please keep paying us anyway. We need the money. And it was fun. Please?

Krugman having a “long planned” fainting spell. George Soros joining a monastery. Liberal bloggers holding out the tin cup. It’s been a wonderful week, hasn’t it?

– Donald Luskin is chief investment officer of Trend Macrolytics LLC, an independent economics and investment-research firm. He welcomes your comments at don@trendmacro.com.


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