The new, humble, subtle Krugman?

A mostly political Weblog.
Dec. 27 2002 11:02 PM

Un-Aggressive Pursuit

Plus: Was The Clash as PC as the NYT says?

Growth Will Come:

Then the situation stabilized, more or less. Repeated interest rate cuts encouraged families to buy new houses and refinance their mortgages, putting cash in their pockets; yes, the tax cut also made a marginal contribution.

On the other hand, a small minority of pessimists — sometimes including me, depending on what I had for breakfast — have been insistently predicting a collapse in consumer spending, which also hasn't happened. [Emphasis added

Alarming signs of humility from Paul Krugman in a solid column today. ... Could the old subtle and sensible Krugman have escaped from the Princeton storage closet where he's been bound and gagged for all these months? It's a new year -- anything's possible! ... P.S.: We'll settle for false humility!...  7:22 P.M.

Aggression is in the Details: From today's Neil Lewis NYT piece on Supreme Court vacancies:

When Mr. Rehnquist told the television interviewer Charlie Rose last year that "traditionally, Republican appointees have tended to retire during Republican administrations," he meant that it would be far easier for a justice to leave when his or her successor would bring a similar ideology. That reasoning becomes even stronger with an aggressive Republican Senate taking over in January. [Emphasis added]

Why is that word "aggressive" there? Is this an especially aggressive single-vote GOP Senate majority? Newt Gingrich's 1994 Republican House -- that was aggressive (though even Gingrich  himself isn't that aggressive any more). Throwing out Supplemental Security Income and block-granting food stamps was aggressive. Ending the welfare entitlement was aggressive. Trying to balancing the budget by cutting Medicare -- aggressive! Renominating Charles Pickering (or, as is possible, not renominating Charles Pickering) -- not aggressive! ... Abandoning accelerated tax cuts for the rich, as reported in today's WSJ, may be a sensible move, but it's certainly not aggressive. ... (Privatizing Social Security would be aggressive, but it won't happen.) .... You, the reader make the call: Is the word "aggressive" in Lewis' piece because

a) it's a hype word,  artificially building up the drama and the stakes of the impending Supreme Court battle;

b) liberal Times reporters think all Republicans are "aggressive" -- it's the nicest thing they can say about them! 

c) it's a scare word. Lewis is trying to frighten the Times ' largely-liberal readership about Bush's possible picks. Note: Lewis uses the word "conservative" eight times in the piece, and four of those times it's directly preceded by an adjective that arguably acts as a trigger for the release of liberal fear hormones: "sharp conservative," "boldest conservative," "aggressively conservative," and "reliable conservative;"

d) Lewis just loves "aggressive" -- he uses it three times in 1470 words; or