This week, George Will got aggravated with Paul Krugman on ABC’s The Week, accusing him of not respecting any ideological opponents. Said Will: “I have yet to encounter someone who disagrees with you who you don’t think is a knave, or corrupt, or a corrupt knave.”So we asked Krugman: Who does he disagree with, but not think a knave of corrupt?
The names that came up: Ben Bernanke, David Frum, Bruce Bartlett, and Kenneth Rogoff.
Said Krugman, via email:
So I actually said that I didn’t think everyone I disagree with is a fool or a knave; I don’t think I specified conservatives! So, for example, I disagree with Ben Bernanke on the desirability of raising the inflation target, but I respect his opinions; is he a conservative at this point?
Still, I guess there are some sorta-kinda conservatives I listen to carefully, but they tend to be either RINOs or renegades. Ken Rogoff claims he’s a Republican, or at least used to, but I take him very seriously even when I think he’s quite wrong. Bruce Bartlett is in the renegade category; so is David Frum; I listen to both.
Republicans still in good standing is a harder challenge. I have been very unhappy with most of what Martin Feldstein has written in the past few years, but I still read his stuff carefully because I know he can do good work.
Not much of a list. But the bigger point is that when I call Paul Ryan a con man, it’s not because I say that about everyone I disagree with; it’s because he is. Notice that George Will didn’t even try to contest the substance.