Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Monday, September 06, 2004

Patton Comes Through on the Krugman Link

So not only does Patton get mad props, a general page link, and a link to this story in particular, but his name goes in the title of the post. Feel the love, man. Now it's time to break out the "kung fisk."

Let's start with a little bit of quote-sourcing, something Krugman doesn't do for us (let's be fair - in an opinion column, sourcing rules aren't as severe. Footnotes aren't required, just so long as you quote accurately and don't Dowd-ify it by taking it so blatantly out of context that you, well, act like Maureen Dowd). Krugman's first quote is "'I don't know where George Soros gets his money," one man said. "I don't know where - if it comes from overseas or from drug groups or where it comes from."

That's Dennis Hastert, speaking on FoxNews, Sunday, Aug. 29 (my source is, which I don't think can be linked unless you have a lexis password). George Soros responded in an angry letter to the House Speaker, according to Brit Hume, "accusing Hastert of implying on this week's 'FOX NEWS SUNDAY' that Soros receives funds from drug cartels." (Another quote found on lexis, from Sept. 1). I quote in full Hume's response: "But Hastert never said Soros was receiving funds from drug cartels. He said, quote, 'I don't know where George Soros gets his money, if it comes overseas or drug groups, or where it comes from.' And in a response to Soros' letter, Hastert says, quote, 'By drug groups,' he meant groups trying to decriminalize drugs. He insists, quote, 'I never implied that you were a criminal and I never would.'"

That's the background behind the quote, and it looks like Krugman is, in fact, guilty of reckless or negligent Dowdification.

Incidentally, Slate's Jack Shafer calls Hastert's explanation"preposterous." He then goes on to clarify, "Soros gives money to these groups. He doesn't collect money from them." (That was Newt Gingrich, btw, again on FoxNews). Shafer could not have known, at the time, that he was actually lending support to another quote that has Krugman so riled up: "George Soros, another declared, 'wants to spend $75 million defeating George W. Bush because Soros wants to legalize heroin.'" As the saying goes, if a Republican says it, it must be hate-filled bile reeking of Nazism and the crushing of dissent in John Ashcroft's America. But if a liberal says it, it must be true." Or more to the point in this case, if a Republican says it, Krugman finds it unseemly (and, as we shall see, it will cause him fear), but if a liberal says it, don't expect Krugman to bat an eye.

The third quote (from Tony Blankley) states that Soros "is a self-admitted atheist; he was a Jew who figured out a way to survive the Holocaust." (Again from FoxNews). While I can't see any relevance whatsoever in the observation about his atheism, the bit about being a holocaust survivor was stated in reference to Soros' militant anti-Israeli/pro-Palestinian views. Given the Left's penchant for accusing black Republicans of "self-loathing," it's hard to see why a leftist could take offense at pointing out that anti-Israeli attitudes should be very odd for a Jew.

So that's our introduction. Krugman wants to show us how unhinged conservatives are, and he does so by quoting Dennis Hastert out of context, quoting Newt Gingrich saying something that is apparently true, and quoting Tony Blankley using words that - well, personally I wouldn't have used them, but I can't find anything prima facie unreasonable about them.

"The suggestion that Soros, who has spent billions promoting democracy around the world, is in the pay of drug cartels came from Dennis Hastert, the speaker of the House of Representatives, whom the Constitution puts two heartbeats from the presidency."

But as Hume and Hastert both pointed out, Hastert was referring to legalization groups, not drug cartels. Nice try, Krugman. And I especially like the end of the sentence. It's quite true. If Bush and Cheney were both to be killed, Hastert would be president. But Krugman's observation in this context is a wonderful example of the paranoid fear-mongering that Krugman will decry at the end of his column. (DON'T YOU SEE!!?? HASTERT IS NUTS, AND HE'S PRACTICALLY THE PRESIDENT!!!).

"And the bit about the Holocaust came from Tony Blankley, editorial page editor of The Washington Times, which has become the Bush administration's de facto house organ."

You must have missed the memo, Paul, because FoxNews is the administration's de facto house organ. Also, they are beaming mind-control rays into your brain.

"For many months we've been warned by tut-tutting commentators about the evils of irrational 'Bush hatred.'"

I can't deny that. I could even come up with a few links, but I think that's fairly well-established. Note that the essence of Krugman's response, however, is basically "it's perfectly rational to hate Bush." And apparently, that even extends to hating those who support Bush, or throwing water on them, pounding on their cars, beating cops unconscious, etc. It's all perfectly rational, as Krugman will explain in short order.

"Pundits eagerly scanned the Democratic convention for the disease; some invented examples when they failed to find it."

I confess I didn't watch the convention at all. From what I heard about it later, however, it was very hamster-oriented, John Kerry gave a really creepy salute, and the whole theme was "we're far too dull to be frothing-at-the-mouth liberal moonbats." So because I'm too lazy to go read through all the Democratic convention coverage, I'll do the unfathomable and simply take Krugman at his word (for the first half of the sentence, anyway) and assume no one said anything paranoically anti-Bush. I am prepared to stand corrected. But regardless of what was said during the convention can't undo months of Bush hysteria before and after the convention. Michael Moore is virtually an unlimited supply of examples.

"Then they waited eagerly for outrageous behavior by demonstrators in New York, only to be disappointed again."

I won't reiterate the points I made below. I'll just wonder whether this is an example of conscious dishonestly, amazing stupidity, or a bona fide belief that the examples linked below really aren't outrageous.

"Zell Miller, who gave the Republican keynote, declared that political opposition is treason: 'Now, at the same time young Americans are dying in the sands of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan, our nation is being torn apart and made weaker because of the Democrats' manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief.' And the crowd roared its approval."

Not one to use only one or two Dowdisms in a column, Krugman gave us that gem. Miller points out that our nation is being torn apart. I think anyone with a brain realizes that. Americans are highly polarized. But Miller doesn't say that's evidence of treason. And the "Anybody But Bush" bumper stickers I see on cars certainly suggest that "manic obsession to bring down our commander in chief" is a perfectly accurate thing to say. But he doesn't call it treason. Finally, Krugman doesn't seem to get the subtle distinction between "politcal opposition" (which Krugman, not Miller, says is treasonous) and nigh-psychotic obsession with defeating GWB. It is one thing to state, in an even-tempered tone, "I disagree with Bush's policies, and I would like to vote in so-and-so because I think his/her policies are better." It is another thing entirely to, for example, pledge a vast fortune to putting anyone else in office, even if the accepted means of doing so are ads.

Krugman doesn't seem to appreciate the difference. How, then, can we expect him to make an accurate assessment of the phenomenon? Of course, his perceptual inabilities don't stop him from trying:

"Why are the Republicans so angry? One reason is that they have nothing positive to run on (during the first three days, Bush was mentioned far less often than John Kerry)."

Well, that's certainly insightful. I take it that Afghan women enjoying basic human rights is not a positive thing, in Krugman's world? Of course not - it's only myopic American cultural imperialism that demands women should have the right to vote and, you know, not get shot for the crime of being raped. And Saddam's capture is not positive. The deaths of Uday and Qusay are not positive things. A functioning Iraqi constitution is not a positive thing. A booming economy (more on this later) is not a positive thing. 50 million Iraqis and Afghans with the rights to vote, publicly express opposition to their governments without fear of death, increased electricity, potable water and functioning schools - none of these things are positive. And the prevention, by Jordanian authorities, of an al-Qaeda plot to blow up a chemical weapon in Amman, with an estimated 80,000 deaths - that's certainly not a positive thing. And England preventing attacks on a crowded soccer stadium and Heathrow airport, as well as an assassination attempt - these are not positive things.

And when I say those things are not positive, I mean it. Why? Because they help Bush, and anything that helps Bush get re-elected is decidedly negative, in Paul Krugman's little world.

"The promised economic boom hasn't materialized..."

This is wrong on two points. First, Bush never promised a boom. Second, we got a boom anyway. That link is just a small taste. For more, go to Ace's site and search for the phrase "cow bell." He's much more of an econo-blogger than I ever care to be.

"...Iraq is a bloody quagmire..."

No more so than post-WWII Germany and Japan, and yet I think all Americans view them as being rather successful.

"...and Osama bin Laden has gone from 'dead or alive' to he-who-must-not-be-named."

Note to self: when you want to garner respect from the media and millions of readers, quote Harry Potter more often.

All joking aside, the implications of this statement are astounding. Krugman apparently thinks that a comparison between Osama bin Laden and Lord Freakin' Voldemort are viable. Wow. I'm almost speechless. I'm a blogger, so I'm never all-the-way speechless, but I'm pretty darn close. Wow, again.

"Another reason, I'm sure, is a guilty conscience. At some level the people at that convention know that their designated hero is a man who never in his life took a risk or made a sacrifice for his country, and that they are impugning the patriotism of men who have."

Again, I'm almost at a loss for words, as close as a blogger can be. George W. Bush, if anyone considers him a "war hero" at all, is considered such because of a war he's fighting right now, but which Krugman thinks should be fought by a trio of plucky British kids with magic wands and such. When Kerry is referred to as a "war hero," it is for something he did thirty years ago. Not that time tarnishes the value of a good deed, but there must be some kind of statute of limitations on how long past service can function as a qualification. But more importantly, George W. Bush has never questioned Kerry's service. Never. He doesn't have to - he simply points out what Kerry has been doing (i.e. nothing) in the Senate ever since. Further, GWB took a bigger risk in invading Iraq (and putting your career on the line is a risk, Krugman) than Kerry ever did. His band-aid purple hearts indicate just how willing he was to stand up for his men and the truth. The only risk Kerry ever took was in marrying his two wives, thus foregoing the possibility that a richer patroness might happen along. So please, don't lecture us about risks.

"Nothing makes you hate people as much as knowing in your heart that you are in the wrong and they are in the right."

Fancy that. I find myself agreeing whole-heartedly with Paul Krugman on something. Think about it.

"But the vitriol also reflects the fact that many of the people at that convention, for all their flag-waving, hate America."

The party of Michael Moore, who actually wants American soldiers to die en masse in Iraq, is not the Republicans, Paul. You might want to proof-read your columns before making such absurd statements. It is Kerry who hates America so much that he wants to submit to UN approval before deploying US troops. It is the left that hates American enterprise so much that it wants to ratify Kyoto, thus putting American industry in a stranglehold. It is the ACLU et al that hates an America which wants to keep Americans safe by profiling suspected hi-jackers. It is the NAACP et al who hate black and hispanic Americans who live the American dream by pulling themselves out of poverty and succeeding in life (e.g. Miguel Estrada, Condi Rice).

But let's feed Krugman a little more rope, as he fleshes out that claim.

"They want a controlled, monolithic society; they fear and loathe the nation's freedom, diversity and complexity."

It is the Republicans who realize that the nation's freedom, diversity and complexity only exist because of the sacrifices of our military men and women. Krugman doesn't seem to realize that the terrorists don't want to kill us so that they can impose upon us a diverse cultural mosiac, with liberty and justice for all. Conservatives want terrorists dead so that all Americans can continue to enjoy our freedoms.

And in a similar vein, I've noticed that the Democratic party is that of the shrinking tent. A growing multitude of socially liberal people hate the social platforms of the Republicans but support Bush anyway because they recognize the threat of terrorism. And such people have no place in the Democratic party, whose one unyielding tenet is "stop Bush at all costs." Even if that means sacrificing our security. Even if it means demonizing Zell Miller, Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dennis Miller, and other social liberals who support Bush. If you don't toe the party line, you are out, plain and simple.

"The convention opened with an invocation by Sheri Dew, a Mormon publisher and activist."

Damn those Republicans to hell.

Okay, I'm running out of steam. I just don't know what else I can say that won't get inexcusably redundant, so I'll just wrap things up. Here's a nice screen shot of Paul Krugman admitting he is a sucky economic forecaster. Click the picture to read the whole story.