Last night on facebook I wrote: "Brad DeLong fights a losing battle on this. I think left-leaning economists that like Larry Summers are just going to have to make peace with the fact that left-leaning non-economists never will."
Krugman thinks it has something to do with what Summers said at Jackson Hole.
I think it's far, far simpler than that. When the left thinks of Larry Summers they think of (1.) female scientists, (2.) Cornel West, (3.) Alan Greenspan/Bob Rubin on a Time magazine cover (and they think the trio's principal purpose was making bankers rich), and (4.) pollution in Africa.
That's all most liberals think about when they think of Larry Summers. It's as simple as that. You can probably criticize Larry on all of these counts - certainly 1, 2, and 4 (I am not sure how strenuously on 2... don't know the details) - but it's sad that more people don't acknowledge the breadth and depth of what the man has to offer. I am not sure there's any way around this. The thing about people with strong ideological sensibilities is that when they've tagged someone on being the wrong side of things, it usually sticks. No amount of liberally minded op-eds are going to change the fact that some combination of these four things are what will come to mind for most liberals when they think of Larry Summers.
So here's a question - given that background, is the circus of a Summers confirmation hearing going to be a dealbreaker? I wonder if strategically Yellen is the better bet. I like Romer too, but the weight of opinion seems to really be in Yellen's favor. As Brad's noted in the past, it's not like Summers supporters would have a problem with Yellen.