Joe Nocera is a columnist at the New York Times, he's a business commentator for NPR, and he's a former Newsweek editor...
He's not a poster child for the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
Today he took to the pages of the Gray Lady to offer sharp criticism of Paul Ryan's plan. He calls Ryan's "wrongheaded," "mean-spirited ," "absurd," and says it will make "health care far less affordable for millions of people."
He praises Paul Ryan (very sparingly) and suggests that we can no longer afford to dismiss serious proposals for Medicare reform with a patellar reflex kick, even if those grody, gross, nasty, disgusting conservatives are at the negotiating table.
To my ears, that sounds like fairly reasonable left-of-center advice from a loyally progressive point of view.
But Nocera's op-ed is not nearly shrill enough for the professional left. Here are some of their reactions:
Paul Krugman, NYT:
...while some people are still trying to praise Ryan for starting a useful conversation, the reality is that he’s totally unwilling to let facts enter the debate. Look at his exchange with Ezra Klein over health care costs: this is not the sound of a sincere, open-minded guy.
This is the new columnist for the NY Times, not some windbag blogger. And he's spouting the most shallow analysis of the current Medicare debate possible. And, sadly, it's probably going to have an influence on the way the Villagers see it.
No More Mister Nice Blog:
...the Republicans will never negotiate in good faith. You can't show them numbers demonstrating that their assumptions are wrong, because their numbers can't be wrong -- the God of the Free Market would not forsake her people. Either that or the God of the Free Market would not forsake anyone who did not deserve to be forsaken. They don't negotiate from our reality -- the one we think of as everyone's common reality. They're completely faith-based.
"Nocera wants to give Ryan credit for noticing problems with [Medicare]. But that’s not just overly generous, it’s also setting the bar for seriousness way too low."
Comments at The Mahablog:
Dear Joe Nocera,Would you start a serious debate with the economic terrorists who held your family hostage at the point where they tell you that no matter what you offer, the starting point is the your Grandparents are [f*ckng] goners?
If the zealots of the hard left insist on keeping their heads deeply buried (or if they choose to cannibalize anyone from their camp who dares to treat conservatives like human beings) that's their prerogative. But it's time for them to get out of the way and let the adults get down to business.