Obama Starting to Look Weak: Krugman

Progressives losing faith; public option is the latest copout
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2009 7:55 AM CDT
President Barack Obama listens to a question during a radio interview with Michael Smerconish in the Diplomatic Room at the White House Thursday.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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(Newser) – When Barack Obama threw the public option under the bus, the White House was reportedly "shocked and surprised" by the ensuing liberal fury, writes Paul Krugman in the New York Times. “Well, I’m shocked and surprised at their shock and surprise,” he writes. From Obama's reluctance to challenge Bush’s torture and indefinite detention policies to his kid-gloves treatment of the big banks, “there’s a growing sense among progressives that they have, as my colleague Frank Rich suggests, been punked.”

The public option, remember, was itself a compromise with progressives who wanted a full single-payer system. “The supposed alternative, non-profit co-ops, is a sham,” says Krugman; insurance stocks skyrocketed the moment it was proposed. Obama was never going to get everything his supporters wanted, but he’s starting to look just plain weak. “Progressives are now in revolt. Mr. Obama took their trust for granted, and in the process lost it.”