On the Opinion Page: March 10, 2008


In which The Gay Recluse scores selected opinion pieces in The Times.

Paul Krugman/The Face-Slap Theory

The Short Version: We’re in deep shit.

In his words: “The only way the Fed’s action could work is through the slap-in-the-face effect: by creating a pause in the selling frenzy, the Fed could give hysterical markets a chance to regain their sense of perspective.”

Score: B- (Bracing)
Krugman provides a fairly frightening look at what’s happening in the financial markets as the Fed plans to loan more money to banks facing a cash crunch as investors pull back on high-risk investments. What’s missing from this analysis is any sense of what this means to different segments/classes of people; Krugman too often writes as if we’re all in the same boat.

William Kristol/McCain’s Daunting Task

The Short Version: The Republicans seem to be fucked.

In his words: “[The] Democratic pickup suggests that, for now, we’re in an electoral environment more like 2006 than 2004.”

The Score: C- (Chilling)
Kristol is right about the demographics, but also gives chilling insight into the Republican strategy in a general election, e.g., “A sustained assault highlighting these weaknesses of Obama or Clinton could be effective,” or “[McCain] could pick a hawkish and principled Democrat like Joe Lieberman,” or “[McCain] could persuade the most impressive conservative in American public life, Clarence Thomas, to join the ticket.” Really, what else can you say but holy fucking shit? (Well, at least it would get Thomas off the Supreme Court.)

Roger Cohen/Tribalism Here, and There

The Short Version: People are divided, but Obama gives them hope.

In his words: “The main forces in the world today are the modernizing, barrier-breaking sweep of globalization and the tribal reaction to it, which lies in the assertion of religious, national, linguistic, racial or ethnic identity against the unifying technological tide.”

The Score: C- (Clammy)
Cohen’s syrupy, optimistic prose always wrecks everything. We, too, favor an Obama presidency, but less because we think he will “heal” anything than because he’s urban (and just to be clear, we’re not talking about ethnicity) and liberal.

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