Mike Kinsley is famous for (among other things), defining a gaffe “is when a politican tells the truth.” Today he has a couple new, equally-valid assertions:
One of the tiresome conceits of political debate is that when opponents agree on something, it is more likely to be true. Another is that an assertion is more credible if it comes from someone who used to assert the opposite.
Thanks, Mike — I needed that. He’s speaking of Charles Schumer and Paul Craig Roberts, who recently came out against (more or less) free trade:
The joint byline on the New York Times op-ed page Jan. 6 — “By Charles Schumer and Paul Craig Roberts” — certainly was a shocker. Schumer is a liberal Democratic senator from New York; Roberts is one of the wildest of the bug-eyed supply-side conservative economists. Schumer’s connections to the financial establishment and Roberts’s free-market ranting make their message surprising as well: They have turned against free trade. But two people can be just as wrong as one.
Indeed. But the best is for last:
But the real difference between traditional trade in heavy, earthbound objects and 21st-century trade in weightless electronic blips, or in sheer brainpower, is that the losers in new-style trade are more likely to be people that U.S. senators and fancy economic consultants actually know.
In other words, for Schumer and Roberts, their new position is just personal, nothing business.