In Ryan Lizza’s New Yorker profile, Rahm Emanuel says:
“They have never worked the legislative process,” Emanuel said of critics like the Times columnist Paul Krugman, who argued that Obama’s concessions to Senate Republicans—in particular, the tax cuts, which will do little to stimulate the economy—produced a package that wasn’t large enough to respond to the magnitude of the recession. “How many bills has he passed?”
Now, my view is that Krugman as an economist is not wrong. But in the art of the possible, of the deal, he is wrong. He couldn’t get his legislation.”
The stimulus bill was essentially held hostage to the whims of Collins, Snowe, and Specter, but if Al Franken, the apparent winner of the disputed Minnesota Senate race, had been seated in Washington, and if Ted Kennedy, who is battling brain cancer, had been regularly available to vote, the White House would have needed only one Republican to pass the measure. “No disrespect to Paul Krugman,” Emanuel went on, “but has he figured out how to seat the Minnesota senator?” (Franken’s victory is the subject of an ongoing court challenge by his opponent, Norm Coleman, which the national Republican Party has been happy to help finance.) “Write a fucking column on how to seat the son of a bitch. I would be fascinated with that column. O.K.?” Emanuel stood up theatrically and gestured toward his seat with open palms. “Anytime they want, they can have it,” he said of those who are critical of his legislative strategies. “I give them my chair.”
Krugman responds (via email):
Eh. The question is why Obama didn’t ask for what the economy needed, then bargain from there. My view is that Collins et al would have demanded $100 billion in cuts from whatever they started from; and that’s not the case he answers.
Why Lizza didn’t allow Krugman to respond to Emanuel’s outburst and confront him with this argument in a 5200 word article remains a mystery.