Paul Krugman is a moody bully, lashing out at people who mispronounce his name. (I’m not saying he officially gives that as the reason, but I really do think he starts blowing people up on his blog after they mispronounce his name.) Greg Mankiw, on the other hand, is far more subtle. Ever since it was suggested that the Obama Council of Economic Advisers had bigger guns than Mankiw’s (not in so many words but that was the implication), I can’t help but detect that Mankiw has been launching attacks on the people involved.
In any event, Mankiw doesn’t come right out and say, “Michael Kinsley is right and Krugman is an idiot.” (I explain this debate here.) But what the subtle Mankiw does is (1) give some links to the debate with no comment, and then (2) in a seemingly unrelated post totally expose Krugman’s partisan hypocrisy. Mankiw does it in a very subtle way, as always. Check it out.
I think Krugman must have crossed some sort of line. In the comments sections of Krugman’s blog (and at Mises.org), we have been pointing out for many months (maybe more than a year, even) old Krugman columns from the Bush years that completely contradict his current writings defending the Obama budget deficits and ridiculing anybody who thinks deficits could lead to high interest rates. But I think Mankiw is the first big gun I’ve seen to quote Krugman’s past writings against him.
I don’t believe that it took this long for people to be aware of this juicy material. I think they held their fire, either out of courtesy or because they didn’t want Krugman analyzing their own stuff.
In any event, the gloves are off. Mankiw decided that Krugman’s treatment of Kinsley was too outrageous to be ignored. (And it’s not that Mankiw is a hero; Kinsley had cited Mankiw’s textbook, so that’s why Mankiw jumped in.)