Since the presidential debate last week I’ve been trying to remember where I saw this movie before, as it were—where a man considered a member of the elite, the cognoscenti, whose brilliance is considered by millions of admirers to be self evident and unimpeachable, got his clock thoroughly cleaned by someone speaking in plain, commonsense language; and the elitist reacted to being challenged by one of his presumed inferiors with utter petulance.
Where had I seen this? I just couldn’t place it.
Then reading Taranto’s column today, I noticed his quip about Mary Matalin’s schooling someone prominent, a member of the elite, the cognoscenti, etc., telling him, “You’re hardly credible on calling somebody else a liar.” That someone was Paul Krugman, and Matalin’s accurate riposte triggered an answer to where I’d seen the movie before. It was indeed a movie (of sorts): a Youtube of Paul Krugman at a conference in Spain earlier this year as one of a few invited economists.
After Krugman delivers his remarks, Spanish professor Pedro Schwartz (of the Austrian school) surgically demolishes Krugman’s arguments while Krugman, sitting behind him, can’t hide his discomfort and displeasure. Then when Krugman does speak again to respond, it’s with veiled outrage at having his arguments revealed as foolishness.
Professor Schwartz remains calm and respectful throughout, letting facts and numbers speak for themselves. Krugman, however, can’t hide his petulance or thin skin. About the only difference in Krugman’s reaction and Obama’s is that Krugman refused to shake the victor’s hand.
The whole thing is worth watching when you have an hour. If you want just a quick box of popcorn entertainment, fast forward to about 39 minutes.
We can only hope that Romney again plays the role of Schwartz next week. But it will be a complete surprise, and devastating letdown, if Paul Ryan doesn’t do it Thursday night.