I recognize what irresistible opportunity news organizations present to public intellectuals by way of free editorial space. And I well realize it may be expecting too much from the latter to exercise reflective self-restraint when The Gray Lady slips them an engraved invitation to her boudoir. Cometh the 'But,' part.
What I don't quite understand is why a figure of Paul Krugman's caliber needs to brow shift this low to pull off his 'entertainment' objective (see below) with popular reading audiences:
'The intellectual incoherence is stunning. Basically, the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead.' --The New York Times, 2/25/09
I don't particularly mind that Krugman is picking on the GOP because I think all parties are fair game for All comers. What I mind is the apparent backpedaling from his earlier stated position in the introduction to _Pop Internationalism_ (1996), a collection of essays from Foreign Affairs, Science, Scientific American, the Wilson Quarterly, New Perspectives Quarterly, and the American Economic Review (excerpted here):
'I would have to write essays for non-economists that were clear, effective, and even entertaining--otherwise nobody would read them. . . . [T]he target reader was someone who might think he knew a lot about economics but had never been exposed to the real thing. . . . And finally, the essays would have to be right--no intellectual cheap shots, because after all, letting the world see what real economic analysis was like was the whole point of the exercise.' [Emphasis mine.]