Going "full driftglass" once again, Dr. Krugman joins the list of prominent writers in prominent positions who are clearly conspiring to make it very, very hard for me to avoid breaking my Lenten promise.
From The Shrill One (with emphasis added con mucho gusto):
...But they won’t change course; basically, they can’t, for careerist reasons. And that’s the story of a lot of what’s going on now.
First, I swear if he keeps it up, I'm gonna have to figure out a way of raising enough scratch to hire this "Krugman" blogger and finally take myself a damn vacation.Suppose [Britain's] George Osborne were to admit that austerity isn’t working. What, then, would be left of his claim to be qualified to do, well, anything? He has to stick it out until something turns up,no matter how many lives it destroys.
Pretty much the same thing is going on among pundits now stuck in what Jonathan Chait memorably calls the “fever swamp of the center”. Suppose that some pundit who has spent his whole career calling for bipartisanship, a compromise between the extremes of left and right, were to admit the plain fact that Obama is very much a centrist, who is in particular proposing deficit reduction through exactly the kind of mix of tax hikes and spending cuts “centrist” pundits demand — and that the GOP, by contrast, is an extremist organization whose extremism is almost solely responsible for the bitterness of the partisan divide. A pundit making that admission would in effect be saying that everything he has said and done for the past several years was not just useless but harmful, actively misleading readers about the state of the debate. He just can’t do it.
The point is that a large part of the reason we’re locked into such a mess is careerism. And yes, that’s quite vile, if you think about it: politicians and pundits alike letting the world burn — probably unconsciously, but still — because their personal position would be hurt if they admitted to past mistakes...
Third, I believe this (often recycled, I know) post from four years ago about the Andrew Sullivan's remarkably similar ideological gymnastics makes the same point in a way that won't threaten to diminish my portion of shade in Paradise past the point where that account already stands:
...So it turns out that virtually all of Mr. Sullivan's hard-won epiphanies amount to little more than the well-thumbed history and plainsong lore of our Fucked Up Modern Age as it has been long understood and passed down among those awful Liberals. And so when I see statements like this -- "Does this make me a "radical leftist" as Michelle Malkin would say? Emphatically not." -- what I see is a man who might want to distance himself from the appalling actions and despicable outcomes of his former allies, but still wants to continue honoring their idiotic parameters and debased vocabulary....But then again, if Mr. Sullivan simply outed himself as a Liberal, he would instantly lose his place in the food-chain, wouldn’t he? Because like that microscopic number of self-loathing black Conservatives who make their daily bread by serving the interests of the Southern Bigot Party, more than any other single factor, it was always the sheer gawking, oddballness of the brazen self-delusion inherent in being the gay champion of the Christopath Homophobe Party that put Mr. Sullivan in the spotlight.That was what gave him his unique and lucrative cache.After all, Liberal gay political writers are a dime a dozen, and so in a strange way we find Andrew Sullivan locked in the same kind of mortal combat over labels -- and for exactly the same reasons -- as Roy Cohn's character in "Angels In America" as he adamantly insisted -- even as he was dying of AIDS -- that he was not a "ho-mo-sex-shall".(Not Safe For Work)Because, Cohn reasoned, homosexuals were nobodies; losers who had zero clout and “in 15 years cannot pass a pissant anti-discrimination bill from City Council.” And since Roy Cohn could get the President of the United States (or his wife) on the phone -- could take the man he was fucking to the White House and make Ronald Reagan smile at him and shakes his hand -- it therefore followed that Roy Cohn could not possibly be a homosexual.That unlike every other person in his position on Earth, Roy Cohn was a heterosexual man, who fucked around with guys.Likewise, even though Mr. Sullivan now, belatedly comes to believe much of what Liberals believe and finally deigns to notice a horde of grotesque truths about his Conservative Movement about which Liberals have been sounding the alarm for 30 years, Andrew Sullivan nonetheless looks us all straight in that eye and argues that he could not possibly be some mere Liberal.Because in Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" does not refer to a political ideology, but to an impoverishing political ghetto from which no amount of "being right about everything" will permit you to achieve escape velocity. In Mr. Sullivan's world, "Liberal" is a terrible disease that afflicts losers who do not get invited to spout their views on teevee.Mr. Sullivan regularly receives such largess, therefore he must not be a Liberal.He instead must be the lone member be of some rare and singular new species; some miraculous form of haploid political minotaur.Because if he is not something spontaneously-generated and utterly sui generis, then he is just another Lefty-Come-Very-Lately, showing up at our door at 3:00 A.M., 20 years late and trailing toxic baggage behind him like a Halley Comet.And who in the world would pay him to do his little dance then?