On Saturday Mr. Obama responded, this time criticizing Mr. Edwards by name. He declared that “We want to reduce the power of drug companies and insurance companies and so forth, but the notion that they will have no say-so at all in anything is just not realistic...Anyone who thinks that the next president can achieve real change without bitter confrontation is living in a fantasy world.And then he called Obama unrealistic.
Krugman is being unrealistic. I watched Obama on Saturday (on CSPAN). And that's not all of what he said or stressed. His message was that people, the population, had to be informed and invested from the beginning to end in order to be able to dispel the myths of the insurance and drug companies when they take their profits and start running ads. Not just ads against any change. But Obama spoke of challenging their assertions that their profits went into development and research and showing instead that they are running ads to boost drug sales to increase their profits. He even made an ED joke.
I admire Krugman, but he just wasn't fairly portraying the choice. It's not between a naive compromiser (Obama) or a white fighting knight (Edwards). It's between a man who understands community organizing to get change or a lawyer who sues to get change. They are both effective in their ways. But whatever you may think on that, Krugman should at least have portrayed Obama's message accurately and he did not.
Here's what he said back in May as reported in the New Yorker:
"Take health care, for example. 'If you’re starting from scratch,” he says, “then a single-payer system'—a government-managed system like Canada’s, which disconnects health insurance from employment—'would probably make sense. But we’ve got all these legacy systems in place, and managing the transition, as well as adjusting the culture to a different system, would be difficult to pull off. So we may need a system that’s not so disruptive that people feel like suddenly what they’ve known for most of their lives is thrown by the wayside.'”That makes sense to me. And he's not talking about coddling the drug and insurance companies; he's talking about the investment and buy in of the people.