This only works if you come from the assumption that a woman was being chosen ONLY because she was a woman.
I hate to keep beating a dead horse, but you can't both be glad about how Sen. Clinton has opened up new horizons as a female candidate (and has proven that being a woman is not a detriment to your qualification for serving in the highest possible office) and simultaneously think no other woman could possibly be qualified to serve as the VP.
And we don't have any proof that Richardson has been promised anything. He keeps telling that story about Obama saving his bacon in the debate, and I honestly think it could be a matter of personally liking Obama combined with the appeal of his message that brought Richardson over.
While I absolutely appreciate the sincerity here, and understand how difficult this must be on a personal level, I disagree pretty much entirely with your take on the VP process.
Sen. Kerry is being floated purely as a formality, a face saving gesture for the former nominee.
Sen Webb is an interesting enough example of one of the many new Democrats we see emerging that he at least deserves a look (though I do agree his former stance on women in the military pretty solidly rules him out).
Gov Richardson, I still frankly don't understand. Someone choosing to not support your candidate does not in fact make them a bad person, or bar them from ever holding any position without it being a slap in the face. He deserves to at least be considered on the merits.
The claim that the only woman acceptable is Sen. Clinton is even more out of line. If it is some pick purely for the sake of picking a woman, that would be one thing, but the very basis of Sen. Clinton's campaign was that a female candidate is just another candidate and deserves to be treated as such.
Yeah, I'm confused about at what point exactly progressives started judging ideas based on their political expediency as opposed to their actual objective value. The image is in fact NOT the valuable part of the message.
One could of course assume there's just some group of people who hate Jerome personally and exist purely to be critical of him. Or one could acknowledge the possibility that Jerome posts in a certain way, with a certain skew, that leaves his discussion open to valid criticism, which is provided by the people who do not share his bias.
Basically, I'm not saying anyone is wrong or right, but just because people continually disagree with what someone is saying doesn't make the person saying it right.
I like Webb as a general rule of thumb, but there are a couple major issues with him. Unless I'm brainfarting this early in the morning, he's quite conservative on social issues.
Possibly more important, he is going to add fuel to the sexism fire die harder Clinton supporters are trying to get going. He wrote some extremely inflammatory articles against women in the military and not only are the words pretty damning in and of themselves, there are lots of women who served in military academies at the time who hold him personally responsible and are willing to go on camera and say they faced abuse explicitly justified because of his words. It's a no-go.
The points that Krugman has raised are certainly debatable, which is what we're doing. The problem being complex systems like national healthcare aren't the kind of thing you can just talk your way through, everyone except the experts in the field are just blowing smoke if they definitively claim to have found the "big flaw" no one else has, certainly if they do so without actual empirical evidence to back it up. Anything else is just competing theories, and again, this isn't Krugman's field.
As to the specific points, they were all answered, you just happen to disagree with them. Those who opt will do so because they either 1) can pay but willfully wish to game the system (opt-out means they must actively decide to go this route) or 2) are unable to pay. 1) is dealt with by some sort of penalty when you come back in to make up the loss, as they will inevitably want to at some point (people at the margin who could pay the original but not the penalty will not be effect because this would be known ahead of time and the number who chose to take a small gain to screw themselves later will be minuscule and can't be avoided in any system). 2) Will either be covered by the assistance Sen. Obama would offer to help people meet costs, or would be just as likely to be unable to afford healthcare under Sen. Clinton's system.
How large an issue the people who opt-out (according to the best estimates of the people who know a small percentage) will be we can't know until it happens. Again though, I refer you to Massachusetts, with it's doubled budget and still continued shortfall. Universal healthcare won't be cheap, and it's going to take time to work out all the bugs. We aren't going to have a perfect system on day 1 regardless of what we try.
Your third point is one of the things wrong with Krugman's entire analysis. It's only a problem IF everyone is wrong about how many people opt-out and IF the cost spirals up and then IF the penalties get too high and then only for the miniscule fraction of the population who could afford the original cost but not the cost plus some penalty and who knew this but chose to opt-out anyway and even then only IF there's no plan in place to help defray costs for these people. One might as well ask what about the people who can't afford healthcare under Sen. Clinton's plan, who in turn can't afford the penalties that come from mandates, and decide to move to the slums in Canada to escape. You can sting together infinite chains of ifs to find some miniscule group who might be a problem, but until there's actually numbers and data involved it's just useless tail chasing. Krugman no more knows that this problem will exist than I do it won't, so arguing about it know is just seeing who can yell the loudest longest.
I wasn't saying Krugman has only been right about Bush, I was acknowledging that while he has been right about that point it doesn't automatically add any more weight to his claims about a highly contested political fight where he has clearly been in one candidate's corner.
As to the deeply tangential point you raise, Krugman is not a health care economist and there are any number of people who disagree with his analysis of how Sen. Obama's plan would work in practice. Not least among them Dean Barker, the man who called out Krugman for his incorrect attacks on Sen. Obama's plan and to who Krugman is rebutting (in my opinion poorly) in the article you linked.
Obama counts in large part on behavioral economics here, as he does in much of his economic policy, which says default enrollment can overcome people's tendencies to make the "wrong" societal choice by just making the right choice the default.
For example 401k savings, at a greater cost than this health care would represent, only enjoy an enrollment in the mid-40% if it's set to opt-in (you have to chose to participate). Making it opt-out (you have to chose to remove yourself from the program) gets enrollment into the high 80%. Figure that current insurance rates are higher, the tangible benefits will be greater (almost everyone uses SOME health care and likes the security of having it), and the proposed significant but not crippling penalty for gaming the system and the best guess we can come up with based on actual data (as opposed to "I think" analysis like Krugman provided here) gets us to effectively universal healthcare.
And before we go down to road of "it's not real universal healthcare like Clinton has" we'd be well advised to look at Massachusetts. The only real world US implementation of anything like Sen. Clinton's plan, it's currently running more than double over it's budget and has had to issue significant number of wavers to people who were STILL unable to afford healthcare. And this is Massachusetts, a relatively wealth state. Who knows how this will hold up in some of the truly poor and troubled areas of the country.