Prof. Krugman reflects like a child when he gets away from economics, Dr. Bones. The Muses and thee and I have long agreed about that.
On the other hand, some human events are so obvious that even Nobel Prize kiddies can scarcely avoid noticing them:
|O.K., folks, this is it. It’s the defining moment for health care reform. Past efforts to give Americans what citizens of every other advanced nation already have — guaranteed access to essential care — have ended not with a bang, but with a whimper, usually dying in committee without ever making it to a vote. But this time, ....|
... and so forth, and so on down to
|... each player has to decide whether he or she is going to help it across the finish line or stand in its way.|
At that point, P.K. has to start talking about the players a little to analyze the state of play, and quality lapses accordingly.
Is it acceptable that Krugmanite analysis should treat the Party of ¡JUST VOTE NO! as if they were invaders from neo-Mars, extraterrestrial critters with secret-sectorian motivations of Endarkenment inscrutable to merely human(e) criticism and philosophy. There exists no a priori political reason why our neo-Martian factions should want earthie scum to be particularly healthy, after all. Economically considered, however, I should think there is quite a strong case for guessing in advance that they'd much prefer their earthies poor and sick -- less competition for the lottery-winnin’ classes, don't you know?
Well, of course thee knows, Dr. Bones, the question du jour is what Prof. Krugman knoweth about militant extremist Republicaniacs. And there is no telling how much that may be when he has no more to say than this:
|For conservatives, of course, it’s an easy decision: they don’t want Americans to have universal coverage, and they don’t want President Obama to succeed.|
That oracle is especially remarkable insofar as its Sybil plainly agrees with us about the neo-Martians wantin’ to keep the unwashed earthie hordes at a permanent medical disadvantage if they possibly can. Not ,many pundits are willing to be that rude about Foxcuckooland, after all.
But that is just the trouble with it, considered as political exegesis. The fact that scarcely anybody else says such nasty things about the Party of Wisdom and Virtue and Goldwater and Atwater by itself brings a sort of obligation, I should think, to explain why such harsh sayings are necessary. But Prof. K. does not think like that, obviously! He feels that he can toss out "conservatives ... don’t want Americans to have universal coverage" as if this were one of Miss Austen's truths universally acknowledged, as uncontroversial as Natural Selection or twice two being four.
Anyway, there it is: Prof. Krugman certainly does have the Republicaniacs’ number down right, even if there is no clue how he calculated it.
As he moves away from America's Otherparty, he becomes more reflective, or at any rate longer-winded. Part of the wind is wasted, as I account it, on a pretty much imaginary Threat from the Left:
|There are still some reform advocates who won’t accept anything short of a full transition to Medicare for all as opposed to a hybrid, compromise system that relies heavily on private insurers. And even those who have reconciled themselves to the political realities are disappointed that the bill doesn’t include a “strong” public option, with payment rates linked to those set by Medicare.|
Thee will see, Dr. Bones, that Prof. Krugman is here in violation of the Kirkegaardian Imperative: is he attempting to describe these purist comrades’ position, or is he prescribing for their supposed ‘disappointment’? Plainly both -- and neither gets done very well.
Plus Paul Krugman pointing to "political realities" remains eternally on a par with Lord Byron doing metaphysics and rocket science.  Caveat emptor.
Since none of this is what an adult analyst would call ‘analysis’ with a straight face, there is no reason to be surprised when it degenerates into a two-pronged _ad hominem_ offensive against Neocomrade Senator J. Lieberman (I-CT) and Neocomrade F. Hiatt (R-Fox on 15th Street). Such a diatribe is far too narrow to prove anything, but at least this one is fun to read -- and no worse than the twin self-servicers have comin’ to ’em.
The trouble is that before getting down to the fun part the professor solemnly suggests that these two swallows or buzzards represent some sort of organized summer, a "group ... that, while its members are clearly uncomfortable with the idea of passing health care reform, the’re having a hard time explaining exactly what their problem is." 
If one were to start with the child's ‘group’ rather than with its gruesome twosome, one might make something of that as political analysis. Unfortunately neocomrades of, and fellow-travellers with, the Party of Big management, specimens like J. Lieberman and F. Hiatt, would not belong to the analytically plausible group. Good typical folks who "are clearly uncomfortable with the idea of passing health care reform" simply say nothin’ about it, as why on earth should they say anythin’? If they luck out, the Wingnutticans will manage to defeat it, and yet they themselves, the good typicals, won't be on record as actually havin' said anythin’ rude about their socio-economico-educationalistico inferiors. And obviously they will also better placed that way if perchance the repulsive obamanation does somehow slip through the neo-Martian mesh and get enacted. 
Holy Joe of Hartford and NeoEditor Freddie of F-15 come trailin' long paper chains behind ’em, as by their respective professions they necessarily must. To make those two neocomrades poster boys for the Buzzards of Silence crew is absurd analytically.
 To specify the puerility: our wannabe analyst has overlooked the pretty obvious point that this doctrinaire factionette does not exist in the Senate or the House of Representatives, and thus can scarcely affect the outcome at this late stage of the match.
But it's possible, I guess, that the child is really just apologizing to a person or persons unnamed who (very unreasonably) expected it to adopt an attitude like "I am disappointed! This bill is utterly unacceptable!! Harrrrrrrrrrrr-UMPH!!!"
 There is no way to save the grammatical appearances there, I think, with or without recasting it for use in Mr. McCloskey's sentence rather than in Dr. Krugman's. Oh, well: transit [sic] gloria mundi . . . .
 Though not very useful as is, the kiddie account does have the peripheral merit of directing one's attention to what comes next -- at least, it directed my attention that way. Though to be sure I was out looking for deficiencies in the P. Krugman product line at the time.
Among the things the child has overlooked is how the Party of Grant and Hoover (and Wisdom and Virtue) will have placed itself permanently at odds with ‘America’ if the damn thing does pass. Especially if ‘America’ were to decide -- Father Zeus forfend so awful an outcome! -- "passing health care reform" has been quite a success and are happy that ‘we’ did it back in '09.
Under the circumstances, the neo-Martians will have not a prayer of grabbin’ credit for it themselves. They have made their bad attitude perfectly clear to everybody except possibly Neocomradess Senator O. Snowe of ME. (Why, even Prof. Krugman got it right!)
It follows that all the Daughters of Virtue and Sons of Wisdom, the whole Party pack of Goldwaterites and Atwateroids, cannot possibly leave it alone afterwards. They must do everythin’ they possibly can to sabotage it. "In mere self-defense," they would say.
One cannot fairly say that Foxcuckooland and the Wall Street Jingo "will go nuts," for of course that has happened already. But doubtless whole new vistas of militant extremist wingnuttiness will open before us on a regular basis until the neo-Martians either manage to discredit and nullify the whole affair or else arrive at a point where ‘America’ despises them for continuin’ to try to take it away, thus making further perseverance in preachin’ vicarious rugged individualism an absolutely unmistakable route to the elephant graveyard.
The closest thing to it in the annals of the holy Homeland™ is, I take it, the so-called Civil-Rights Movement, and that is not very close. The Foxies and the Jingos have no trouble stealin’ a lot of the anti-segregation credit for their Party of Big Management. And it is not even all stealin', since St. Ike and Mr. Chief Justice Warren and the rest of the "l*b*r*l Republicans" that have been subsequently flushed out of the Big Party like so many used contraceptives to make more elbow-room for Goldwaterites and Atwateroids were authentically anti-segregationist.
But the biggest difference is not that on this occasion the ranks of the neo-Martians are monolithic, but rather the identity of the beneficiaries. Very few of those who have personally benefited from "civil rights" have ever felt strongly tempted to vote for Republicaniac candidates. But if "the idea of passing health care reform" were ever to achieve the general respectability that still attaches--despite all the heroic efforts of Foxcuckooland!--to Medicare and Social Security, why, neo-Martian politics would at once become almost impossible.
The GOP geniuses and certain layers of their Party base ’n’ vile could still wish that their own voters died young and thus got out of the way of their predestined betters, but they could not possibly say so out loud. Unless democracy and liberalism and the party of America are destroyed by some extraneous force not yet visible at all, that will be no more a possible politics in 2028 than it was in 1828, when the League of Lottery Winners first ran into General Jackson of New Orleans and Mr. Van Buren of New York.