What strikes me, listening to what the centrists have to say for themselves, is just how disconnected they seem from the actual economic debate. They seem shocked, shocked that anyone considers cutting — I mean. adjusting downward — precisely the most effective parts of the stimulus plan a bad idea.
My guess is that they were living in a world defined purely by political theater, where being centrist is always a virtue — and that centrism is defined by doing something neither party likes. So
cuttingadjusting downward government spending must be a virtuous thing, precisely because it gets progressive Democrats upset; cutting the useless tax cuts that now make up a large part of the bill wouldn’t be as virtuous, because it would get conservatives more upset than progressives.
UPDATE: Chapter 2 -- Krugman takes on a Democratic Centrist Posing as Sarah Palin:
Sen. [Ben] Nelson also seemed to be engaging in the Bush-Palin shtick of implying that the heartland is morally superior to the places where most Americans live. “Well, y’know, I don’t know where he’s from, but I’ll tell you, in Nebraska” yada yada.
Anyway, Senator, I was born in Albany, grew up on Long Island, and now I live in New Jersey. You got a problem with that?