Much to the disappointment of liberal fans from Hollywood to Europe — and the instant ire of conservatives everywhere — Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize-winning New York Times columnist and "world's best-known economist," has officially announced he's not up for replacing Timothy Geithner at the Treasury Department. Though "flattered," Krugman writes in a blog post this morning, "an administrative job requires making hiring and firing decisions, it means keeping track of many things, and that, to say the least, is not my forte."
Krugman goes on to explains why he's pre-emptively turning down a job he probably was never actually up for, but for which 188,000 petitioners — and counting — believe he is more than qualified to helm:
The New York Times isn’t just some newspaper somewhere, it’s the nation’s paper of record. As a result, being an op-ed columnist at the Times is a pretty big deal — one I’m immensely grateful to have been granted — and those who hold the position, if they know how to use it effectively, have a lot more influence on national debate than, say, most senators.
"Does anyone doubt that the White House pays attention to what I write?" Krugman asks, rhetorically. And a bit later, in an impressive display of self-awareness: "An administration job, no matter how senior, would actually reduce my influence."