President Obama’s poll numbers have hit a new low and he’s under fire for everything from the rise of ISIS to the response to the Ebola threat. So it may seem surprising to many readers that the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman — who has been one of the president’s strongest critics from the left — has written a cover story for Rolling Stone entitled “In Defense of Obama.”
The article is important. Krugman rightfully directs our attention away from approval ratings and popularity — measures that don’t tell us much about the place of our leaders in American history — insisting instead that we should be focused on things that a president actually does.
By this measure, Krugman now argues that this administration has done a pretty good job overall. Indeed, as he moves through a list of his major policy accomplishments, Krugman concludes that Obama’s legacy is downright impressive compared to his predecessors.
“Despite bitter opposition,” Krugman writes, “despite having come close to self-inflicted disaster, Obama has emerged as one of the most consequential and, yes, successful presidents in American history.”