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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Paul Krugman is a Dangerous Liar

Paul Krugman wrote a column in which he accused Michelle Bachman, (R, MN) of using “eliminationist rhetoric” when she used the phrase “armed and dangerous.” The folks at Powerline note that she used the phrase in a radio interview with one of them, so they know exactly the context in which it was used.

The point is that there's room in a democracy for people who ridicule and denounce those who disagree with them; there isn't any place for eliminationist rhetoric, for suggestions that those on the other side of a debate must be removed from that debate by whatever means necessary.
As it happens, I--unlike Krugman--know all about Michele's "armed and dangerous" quote, because she said it in an interview with Brian Ward and me, on our radio show. It was on March 21, 2009. The subject was the Obama administration's cap and trade proposal. Michele organized a couple of informational meetings in her district with an expert on global warming and cap and trade, and she came on our show to promote those meetings. She wanted her constituents to be armed with information on cap and trade so that they would understand how unnecessary, and how damaging to our economy, the Obama administration's proposal was. That would make them dangerous to the administration's left-wing plans.

The interview illustrates quite well the difference between Michele Bachmann and Paul Krugman. Krugman is a vicious hater. He rarely argues any issue on the merits, but prefers to smear those who disagree with him.

Krugman, who is a professor at Princeton as well as a NY Times opinion writer, is not stupid person, yet he deliberately lies about the meaning of what Bachman said. Powerline attributes it to laziness. That is probably too charitable. The fact is that using his megaphone at the NY Times he is able to mislead and lie about one of his political opponents. He knows that many people are going to believe him because they do not have access to the context. He knows this and does it anyway, creating an environment of hate. Hate, against a female representative in Minnesota. Hate that could very well cause another nut case, finely poised on the edge of violence, to commit the next political murder.

But the publisher of the NY Times who would like to see a Vietnamese soldier kill an American soldier has no compunction about setting one of his political enemies up for the kill.

As Roger Simon points out, the Left, in it's 60's incarnation, liked to riot, bomb and kill.  It had it's incendiaries and its apologists in the media then, as now.  And then, as now, it used the tactics taught by Alinsky, calling for civility while egging on the Left while absolving them from responsibility.

And some of these pundits and pols are old enough to remember. Apparently, they choose not to. But to remind them, we were in an era then of genuine political assassination — RFK, MLK — not faux political assassination (actually the purposeless, near random act of a paranoid schizophrenic.) But as I recall few were calling for us to dial down the rhetoric. The anti-government forces had tons of supporters in the media, silent partners cheering on all but their most violent acts (and who knows about those). Norman Mailer, among many others, made his life and reputation in such a manner on the “steps of the Pentagon.” Hey, hey, LBJ, indeed.

In a very real way the media were the secret sharers of the radical left. As a young media member and novelist I knew this well. The most radical of us were acting out our hidden dreams for the rest. We condemned them occasionally and ritually, but rarely vehemently. The Weather Underground and even later the execrable Symbionese Liberation Army were never treated in the press with quite the opprobrium they now reserve for the tea party movement. As Baudelaire put it, “Mon semblable, mon frère.” The worst of the radical left were just like the rest of us, but with a little extra edge.

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