Contrarianism has become all the fashion among economists. Perhaps it’s just a matter of giving as good as they get. Certainly, their métier is in the toilet, so why not send other “professionals” such as pundits and journalists there? Then too, economists are trained to be pessimists. If their science is wrong, perhaps their outlook is partly to blame and they should try optimism for a while. Ronald Reagan got far with the optimism ploy. The problem there was that it was all a sham. Reagan was actually a mean-spirited cuss. Why else did he kick off the campaign in Neshoba County, Mississippi. Being optimistic about restoring a segregated past is different from approaching the future with hope–the future being a fearful prospect for people who can’t think ahead.
That’s what McCain’s people tried to defuse by making sport of Obama’s hope.
Not being instinct-driven themselves, McCain’s advisors overlooked that irony is something the “base” doesn’t get. Too sophisticated, perhaps.
As employed by Obama, hope is code for not just looking, but planning ahead. And that includes orchestrating the right time for the Iraq debacle to be addressed. When the traditional agenda has pretty much failed might well be a good time to bring up the historical truth–about Iraq. The truth often surfaces as a result of dredging up lies.
Krugman is right that it’s not public perception, but what Presidents do that counts. Not doing counts too. Like, for example, not sequestering the images of the carnage in Iraq. That’s what I’m looking for next.