The Times devoted a front-page story on Tuesday to one of its own: Respected liberal economist turned Bush-bashing Times columnist Paul Krugman won the Nobel Prize for Economic Science, an occasion sure to make the already pleased-with-himself Krugman even more insufferable. To reporter Catherine Rampell's credit, she didn't totally avoid criticism, noting in paragraph three:
Mr. Krugman, 55, is probably more widely known for his Op-Ed columns in which he has been a perpetual thorn in President Bush's (and now John McCain's) side. His columns have won him both strong supporters and ardent critics.
Midway through her explanation of Krugman's prize-winning work from the 1980s about patterns of trade among countries, she returned to the idea that Krugman's columns are seen by many as disreputable:
Along the way, Mr. Krugman has come in for criticism himself from both economists and lay readers.
"Much of his popular work is disgraceful," said Daniel Klein, a professor of economics at George Mason University, who this year wrote a comprehensive review of Mr. Krugman's body of Times columns. "He totally omits all these major issues where the economics conclusion goes against the feel-good Democratic Party ethos, which I think he's really tended to pander to especially since writing for The New York Times."
Often Krugman's assertions are just plain wacky. He wrote in a January 2002 column, just four months after the most awful terror attack in U.S. history: "I predict that in the years ahead Enron, not Sept. 11, will come to be seen as the greater turning point in U.S. society." I guess that's why everyone knows who Kenneth Lay is and no one's ever heard of Osama bin Laden.
A few bullet points from Krugman's greatest misses, from the Times Watch archives:
October 2007 : Krugman called the GOP a "truly vicious political movement."
April 2007 : He called the Clinton administration "pretty honest and well run"
October 2004 : Krugman predicted John Kerry would win the 2004 election with over 300 electoral votes.
July 2004: He praised Michael Moore's left-wing documentary "Fahreinheit 9-11" as telling "essential truths" about Bush.
June 2004: "There is no longer any serious doubt that Bush administration officials deceived us into war."