I don’t always agree with Paul Krugman of the New York Times, but one of the things I appreciate about him is his equanimity, his measured words and his lack of hyperbole. As an example, take the conclusion to his most recent column:
What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.
During the debt ceiling debate, some commentators have gotten caught up in the intensity of the moment, making sweeping claims that will, in retrospect, look ludicrous. Krugman, on the other hand, has resisted the temptation to become melodramatic, writing instead that what has unfolded during the last few weeks calls our whole system of government into question, that American democracy can no longer work, and the political Apocalypse has arrived. It’s no wonder his brand of liberalism is so popular. And today’s column is a reminder of why it’s simply impossible to view Krugman as a buffoonish figure. His restrained style of writing and calm, careful conclusions simply doesn’t allow for it.