I hope President-Elect Obama and the congressional leadership are all reading Paul Krugman’s column. What’s more, I also hope the congressional non-leadership pays close attention to his column. It’s those members in the most marginal districts who are most likely to look at plans for an expansive agenda and start getting queasy, but in truth it’s those very same members who aren’t going to win re-election unless dramatic action is taken. The bulk of the most liberal members have safe seats and will be congressmen for life if they want to be. But a lot of the more vulnerable Blue Dog types out there are going to need to choose between their instinct for trimming and the objective demands of their political survival — to say nothing of the country.
Good policy and good politics often don’t align, and they rarely align perfectly, but in this case the overwhelming political and substantive requirement of the new congress is big action to prevent a long and deep recession.