Daniel W. Drezner–without the help of his editor, I might add–ably defends himself from Brad DeLong’s charges of screaming, leaping, baring fangs, and tragic clumsiness. The object of this spat? Paul Krugman.
Krugman is a brilliant economist who may well win a Nobel prize one day. But he is a rather shoddy and hyperbolic columnist.* And his assertion that the current job situation is the worst in 20 years is patently absurd–even though the economy has been pretty good most of those years.
DeLong is also a first-rate economist who tends to be more careful than Krugman when in op-ed mode but, alas, he seldom pings weblogs and is thus suspect.**
More seriously, Drezner’s argument and tone strike me as reasonable here: interpreting what Krugman actually wrote rather than guessing at what he might have meant is a reasonable course when analyzing an editorial. Indeed, as Krugman might advise, listening to the Gentiles is a wise course of action here. If a rising star political scientist at an elite institution isn’t able to follow your argument, it likely needs recasting.
*Superbly captured in this fine ballad by Eric the Viking Pundit. (OTB backup here in case the archive is bloggered.)
**And, sadly, I over-ping TrackBack every time I link to something on DeLong’s site and then edit the post. For whatever reason, TrackBack hangs for me on his site and Megan McArdle’s–I even try shutting the window as soon as the rebuild is through to no avail. It doesn’t happen with the vast majority of sites.