Sunday, March 22, 2009

Thursday talk radio update II

After listening to the usual daylong attacks on Obama, I finally arrived home after a 13-hour delivery day and watched Barack Obama hold a town meeting on C-SPAN.

I felt one of those weird disconnects. Could this guy on TV, who sounded so reasonable and intelligent, actually be the same guy I had just heard all day was an incompetent, dishonest socialist? Hard to reconcile the two.

To give just one example: Hannity repeatedly attacks Obama's stimulus package, arguing among many other things that it is unsustainable. To which my internal Hannity Rebuttal Machine inevitably replies, "Of course it's not sustainable. The whole point of a stimulus to kick start the economy, not to provide a sustainable model for economic growth."

In fact, very nearly the first thing we heard at the town hall meeting was a questioner raising concerns about the prospects for long-term deficits. To which Obama replied, surprise, surprise, that current deficits aren't sustainable. Instead, they must be endured for a year or two until the economy gets back on its feet.

Of course, I have long argued that the more extreme right-wing voices on the radio probably help Obama more than hurt him. Democrats apparently have concluded that as well, since they seem delighted to label Limbaugh as the No. 1 voice of the Republican Party.

I got more of the same feeling Thursday evening when Paul Krugman was interviewed on Yellowstone Public Radio. Krugman's major criticism of the stimulus, of course, was that it wasn't big enough. I have no idea whether he is right about that, but he certainly knows how to make a heck of a case. I was especially impressed by his point that having too much debt was less risky than having too little stimulus.

It's great to have a Nobel Prize-winning economist who is able to express his ideas so clearly and succinctly, and Krugman makes Hannity look like the total hack he is.

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