Krugman admitted that while he had been skeptical, the President and his team got the debt ceiling chicken game right. He called the GOP's bluff but dismissed the platinum coin or constitutional amendment:
"When you’re wrong, you’re wrong. I thought that by ruling out any way to bypass the debt limit, the White House was setting itself up, at least potentially, for an ignominious cave-in. But it appears that the strategy has worked, and it’s the Republicans giving up. I’m happy to concede that the president and team called this one right."
"And it’s a big deal. Yes, the GOP could come back on the debt ceiling, but that seems unlikely. It could try to make a big deal of the sequester, but that’s a lot more like the fiscal cliff than it is like the debt ceiling: not good, but not potentially catastrophic, and therefore poor terrain for the “we’re crazier than you are” strategy. And while Republicans could shut down the government, my guess is that Democrats would actually be gleeful at that prospect: the PR would be overwhelmingly favorable for Obama, and again, not much risk of blowing up the world."
"The key point to remember here is that Obama achieves his main goals simply by surviving. Above all, health reform gets implemented, and probably becomes irreversible."
"A good day for sanity, all around."
This is big-it's not everyday that Krugman says he was wrong-he's kind of like the Fonz of economists. The White House had told him that their eschewing of the platinum coin was not of weakness but of strength. Not to toot my own horn-but after all, someones got to do it!-I had been making this point myself for a few weeks while most liberals were still consumed with platinum coin mania.
It was clear to me that far from the problem with the coin being that it was undignified, my take on it was that it gave the GOP and it's trifling, empty threats way too much unjustified dignity.
Krugman is right, this was a good day for sanity, and I think he has more than a little do with this himself-certainly he's been a welcome corrective during this tough time for the country and over the last 25 years overall in public life. Back in the Reagan-Bush years, he was a place of sanctuary for me and other liberals and has been ever since.
He also makes the key point that debt ceiling chicken was also a desperate attempt to refuse to fund ObamaCare. It will be implemented, and in future years, the GOP will be as unwilling to publicly admit to a desire to harm ObamaCare as they now are to harming Medicare and Social Security.
So yeah I'm tooting my own horn about getting the debt ceiling fight right. This is how I think it will finish up.
So let me point out my prediction for the next two years. As I say at the top, the future is going to be so bright, we'll have to wear shades. I think that the Kristol Premise is right-elections have consequences. Obama has won the first two fights-the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling chicken.
I think it will be more of the same. At some point the GOP discovers that the reason they can't figure out what their leverage is comes down to the fact that they don't have any.
The President gets immigration reform-Rubio is already claiming to be on board and if you can believe it, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly are backing him up-and he gets gun control reform. I wouldn't be shocked if there is even something for assault weapons. However, universal background checks are a no-brainer and supported by 90% majorities across the board-be it looking at Republicans or even NRA members.
As Krugman suggests, the sequester will be another cap gun and the budget won't be the big whoop the GOP wants to believe it will be. They know from Gingrich in 1995 how much shutting down the government will help them. They need it about as much as Boehner needs his speaker job in the House: according to him, he needs that job like a hole in the head.
This is going to be a good year, folks. I say this personally but also for the country. The future's so bright we're going to need shades. Luckily we'll be able to afford them.