Krugman really, really wants Romney to lose. So, presumably, does the NYT. I don't have a problem with an opinion writer paraphrasing somebody's quote like that. It's the use of quotation marks in the headline that's wrong.
And the use of the word "fairy" demands some attention. I understand that Krugman is using the word in the sense of the tooth fairy — a magical creature. But the word is also a homophobic epithet. If a Republican had used equivalent language against a Democrat, we would hear criticism, so let me provide the criticism in this turnabout.
And by the way, creating confidence isn't like changing a tooth into money. The supposedly fairy-like power Romney claimed was to inspire optimism about the economy. Compare that to Obama's "this was the moment" speech, given at the point of accepting his party's nomination in 2008. At that moment, he proclaimed, "the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal... we ended a war and secured our nation and restored our image as the last, best hope on Earth... we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves, and our highest ideals."
If we're going to ridicule presidential candidates asserting magical — godlike — powers, that was the ultimate.
And that was 4 years ago. Many moments ago. How are we doing with "our highest ideals"? How did Obama do remaking this great nation? Is this the reflection of our very best selves? These are the real questions, not some inconsequential remark Romney made about optimism at a fundraiser.
Now, Krugman thinks he has a very funny point about economics, which is that the stock market is up, even though Romney's looking less likely to win according to Intrade. And what Romney said — what that "quote" in the headline paraphrased —was:
If it looks like I’m going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president’s going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy. It depends of course which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on November 6th, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We’ll see capital come back and we’ll see — without actually doing anything — we’ll actually get a boost in the economy.We're deprived of the text of the question he's responding to. But we can see that Romney inserts a qualification about "which markets you’re talking about, which types of commodities," before moving on to a generic statement about "optimism about the future" and "a boost in the economy." I'm not a Nobel-prize winning economist, but I can see that Romney is making a decision not to get into saying something complicated, and that there are different types of markets and some go up when others go down. But if you want to talk about the stock market, isn't that where people put extra money that they aren't investing in expanding their own businesses in a way that might produce more commodities and increase employment?
Fairy forbid that the economics expert would actually explain some economics now and then. Why bother when there's one more thing about Romney that's supposedly soooo hilarious? It seems we've all turned into idiots.... here in this remade great nation that reflects our very best selves.
Is this your very best self, Mr. Krugman? Is this your very best newspaper, New York Times?