Paul Krugman used to be interesting on economics, but he brings no knowledge or insight to politics, so I generally skip his column. Reading yesterday’s bit about the “fake scandal” about Wesley Clark confirmed the wisdom of my rule. Krugman writes that Clark’s comments were “lifted out of context and willfully misinterpreted.” “What General Clark actually said was that Mr. McCain’s war service, though heroic, didn’t necessarily constitute a qualification for the presidency. It was a blunt but truthful remark, and not at all outrageous.”
If all that Clark had said was that McCain’s being a war hero does not, by itself, give anyone a reason to vote for him, then it would have been a perfectly reasonable remark. But Clark did a lot more than that. He said that McCain’s leadership of a squadron didn’t matter because he didn’t lead it in wartime, and he tossed in a bitchily dismissive remark about McCain’s having been shot down. Taking offense at that is enough for Krugman to call McCain and his associates the worst thing he can think of: acolytes of Karl Rove. But the only distortion going on here is that committed by Krugman himself.