Dueling columnists entertained New York Times readers Friday when conservative David Brooks gushed over Marco Rubio while liberal Paul Krugman blasted Rubio's economic plan as he castigated the entire GOP field as "grifters."
Brooks, frequently ridiculed by left-leaning pundits, claimed that Rubio is the only GOP candidate who wants to help the middle-class. Krugman supported CNBC reporter John Harwood's assertion in this week's debate that Rubio's program will help the wealthy much more than average workers.
The Brooks column shows that whatever remains of the Republican establishment is rallying around Rubio now that Jeb Bush's campaign has imploded. Like a school boy with a crush, Brooks raved about Rubio's youth and good looks. He also claimed that Rubio will help the middle class with a tax break.
Krugman exposed Rubio's plan as another GOP scheme to give the rich tax cuts while slicing social programs. Harwood in the debate confronted Rubio with a conservative tax group's analysis that showed that Rubio's plan will help the wealthy much more than average workers. Rubio vehemently denied the fact-based study Harwood cited. Krugman found that Harwood was correct and that Rubio's plan is just more of the GOP's "supply side" chicanery.
The Noble Prize-winning economist took aim at other Republican falsehoods during the debate, including Sleepy Ben Carson's outright lies that he has no connection to a company that claims its dietary products cure cancer. While Republican candidates express alarm at the federal deficit, their programs would bring a severe budget shortages, as Krugman frequently outlines.
CNBC's tough questioning drew squeals from the GOP, which now wants total control of future debates, such as the selection of moderators and pre-approval of questions I suppose. The Democrats can give the GOP a good model, with a "candidates forum" next week moderated by MSNBC liberal ranter Rachel Maddow.
In this so-called news event, Maddow will ask questions of each Democratic candidate individually in what promises to be a real smooze-fest. Or snooze fest, as my spell checker wanted to say.
I can see the GOP matching that with a forum in which say Fox News right wing zealot Sean Hannity tosses softballs at each Repblican candidate. But with a field of 16, such a forum would quickly test the patience of even the most rabid Republican.
The Maddow event is not officially sanctioned by the Democratic Party. The GOP, though, wants to officially sponsor its controlled debates.