The Kübler-Ross grief cycle shows that people with terminal illnesses need to go through seven phases during their process of grief. GB is no exception:
Shock stage: Initial paralysis at hearing the bad news. – GB’s shock was a classic!
Denial stage: Trying to avoid the inevitable. – Check out the last paragraph of his article linked – “I still cling to a fantasy”
Anger stage: Frustrated outpouring of bottled-up emotion. – Here GB compares Obama to… Reagan! Oh, the horror! Right next, he attacks Democracy (oh yeah, the authoritarian blood of the left pulses strong in GB’s veins as well!). Anger at its best.
Bargaining stage: Seeking in vain for a way out. – GB calms down a bit, say that “things are as they ever were” and now reminds us that “That doesn’t mean that there’s no difference between the parties, that everything would have been the same if McCain had won“. Oh, he also says in another post that Democrats are not stupid and they’re not evil, which represents a vast improvement. Last thing he wants is to get more people voting Republican, let’s not go crazy here! Let’s keep the faith in the Blue party…
Depression stage: Final realization of the inevitable. – This is where our dear pompous friend has arrived today. He moved past the attacks against Obama (“Don’t blame Mr. Obama. There’s only so much one man can do, even if he sits in the White House.“) and now the problem is with the whole system (“I’m sorry to say this, but the state of the union — not the speech, but the thing itself — isn’t looking very good.“).
So there are only two stages left:
Testing stage: Seeking realistic solutions.
Acceptance stage: Finally finding the way forward.
Now you may ask, what is Krugman’s “terminal illness” here? Was it his love for the Messiah? No. Was his love for the Democratic party? No way. What GB really loves at heart is himself. He wanted Obama to follow all his ideas, all his “New Keynesian” theories on how to govern our economy. He doesn’t care about who does it or how it is done (his attacks on Democracy are very revealing). The fact that the Enlightened Obama is not doing what he wanted is highly problematic. At first he blames Obama, but then he blames the system because he probably understands that not even himself would be stupid enough to follow all his ideology to the end.
I look forward to his Acceptance stage. My guess is that he will start ‘lowering his standards’ and will re-embrace whatever Obama does moving forward. Once the economy naturally recovers, he will say something like “even though Obama faced issues, he has done enough to save us”.
Then he will go back to making up new unproven economic theories and getting himself some new Nobel prizes.