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Echoing ASKOD below, this sounds like the typical middlebrow horseshit that Dem VSPs have been spewing since the Clinton administration. It was the dominant view among the party powers, especially back in 2006 before the world blew up. (I think it's less so now, although they still hold a ridiculous amount of influence.)
It still -- again, taking the preface into account -- strikes me as stupid rather than evil, a politician betting on what seems to have worked for the last guy in his party to hold the White House and wanting to be seen as Serious.
I'd also add out of my personal experience that politicians, in general, are not very bright people. They're half a step above journalists, and you guys know how I feel about journalists' intelligence. They listen to the people around them, and the people around them are usually there on the advice of the old guard within the party, due to their perceived competence as far as making policies that have gotten other politicians elected to higher offices or reelected to their current offices. Bill Clinton pretty much acknowledged this in apologizing for his deregulation policies in the '90s.
In that sense, Larry Summers looks great on paper. Clinton to this day, even after the crisis, has a reputation for sound economic management and was reelected in a landslide. (Dems should be thankful for that, too, as it undoubtedly helps Hillary should she choose to run. Hopefully she's bright enough to have learned a few lessons from Obama and her husband.)
None of this is to say that Obama and Clinton don't ultimately own it. They're their appointments, and it falls on them to make good appointments. I'm just saying I think it's not surprising to find them making bad ones here, because neither is -- or was, in Clinton's case (to his credit he admits he fucked up) -- really going to know how to distinguish Summers from a competent guy. It doesn't help either that the guys who are capable of taking him down intellectually also happen to be his longtime friends (although even they seem to be either backing off him or -- in Krugman's case -- sandbagging him).
Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
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