Politics & Policy

Paul Krugman’s Lack of Self-Awareness Is Truly Stunning

(Reuters photo: Brendan McDermid)
He just accused Republicans of degrading political discourse while doing the exact same thing.

If you think political discourse has a chance to return to sanity after 2016, you’re woefully mistaken. Despite the looming specter of a Trump presidency, some on the Left still can’t think straight, still can’t see straight, and still litigate the political disputes of the past as if mainstream Republicans were wild-eyed fanatics straight out of dystopian fiction.

It’s hardly new or original to note that the Left has “cried wolf” so long about Republicans that accusations of racism, sexism, homophobia, and islamophobia now fall on deaf ears. Indeed, it’s worth remembering the hysterics of the past. Remember when MSNBC’s Touré charged Mitt Romney with the “niggerization” of Obama because Romney had called the president “angry?” Remember when it was racist to critique Obama for playing too much golf? Remember when Mitt Romney killed people by denying them health care?

Indeed, one of the reasons why Trump’s Republican approval rating has remained so high is that the old accusations simply don’t work anymore. Left-wing pundits can’t call a Republican a racist or a sexist and expect other Republicans to believe the charge. Public disbelief is a rational reaction to years of leftist hysterics.

Some smart progressives are now aware of the problem. Frank Bruni and David Graham have written thoughtful pieces on the diminishing returns and destructive effect of leftist hyperbole. But the true believers haven’t gotten the message. They’re as blind as ever, and just as willing to hurl rhetorical grenades at the right, even as they denounce “polarizing” conservative rhetoric.

Doubt me? Let’s examine Bruni’s New York Times colleague, Paul Krugman. This morning, he went on perhaps the least self-aware tweet tirade the world has ever seen. He began reasonably enough, declaring that the Trump phenomenon “is the culmination of a process, not the sudden collapse of an intact system.” Well, yes. No one seriously thinks that Trump emerged from a healthy body politic. But watch where he goes next:

Wait. What? How had the conservative movement “abandoned norms?” Politics before Trump were certainly rancorous, but I saw no departure from historic or political norms.

Professor Krugman explains:

I’m old enough to remember the Democrats blocking Robert Bork, one of the most qualified men to sit on the Supreme Court bench, with an avalanche of innuendo, insults, and slander. Ted Kennedy declared that “Robert Bork’s America” was a place where:

Women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.

As for government shutdowns, they’ve happened 18 times since the modern budget process started in 1976. But, yeah, the conservative movement is the problem.

Then, Krugman truly went off the rails:

This is why we can’t have nice things. The claim that Bush “lied” is, frankly, unsupportable. There is no evidence that Bush took us to war believing that Saddam Hussein did not possess weapons of mass destruction. None. It’s the kind of blatantly absurd and destructive conspiracy-mongering that only men such as Paul Krugman or — Hey! — Donald Trump would spread.

Krugman being Krugman, he had to one up himself. Ladies and gentlemen, hypocrisy personified:

“No legitimacy to opponents,” huh? What he means is that he wants conservatives to recognize him as legitimate, even as he spits disgusting, historically illiterate bile at the GOP. Respect for me, but not for thee.

Make no mistake, I’m not claiming that Krugmanism is an exclusively left-wing phenomenon. I spend entirely too much of my spare time debunking for friends the conspiracy theories forwarded around conservative Facebook and Breitbart. Every political movement has its share of fools and cranks. They can never be entirely purged. The problem is magnified, however, when the kooks go mainstream, and few people are more mainstream on the Left than Nobel laureate and New York Times darling Paul Krugman. If we want to get past the nastiness of 2016, we’ll first have to get past the hypocrisy of men like him.

Most Popular

Economy & Business

Who Owns FedEx?

You may have seen (or heard on a podcast) that Fred Smith so vehemently objects to the New York Times report contending that FedEx paid nothing in federal taxes that he's challenged New York Times publisher A. G. Sulzberger to a public debate and pointed out that "the New York Times paid zero federal income tax ... Read More

The Kaepernick Saga Drags On . . . off the Field

Colin Kaepernick’s workout for NFL teams in Atlanta this weekend did not run smoothly. The league announced an invitation to scouts from every team to watch Kaepernick work out and demonstrate that he was still ready to play. (As noted last week, the workout is oddly timed; the NFL season is just a bit past its ... Read More

Israel’s New Way of War

Commuters on Route 4, driving toward the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod on November 12, were shocked by an explosion, a rocket impact next to a major intersection. Had it fallen on a car or one of the many trucks plying the route, there would have been deaths, and the road would have been closed. Instead, police ... Read More
White House

Decide Trump’s Fate at the Ballot Box

If Donald Trump’s presidency is going to end before 2025, it should end at the ballot box. A lot of what has been revealed by Trump’s desire to see Ukraine investigate Joe and Hunter Biden -- or at least publicly announce an investigation -- merely confirms character traits, instincts, and habits that have ... Read More