Thursday, July 14, 2005

Krugman in Wonderland

Sentence first--verdict afterwards!

The good professor continues his rants, this time against Karl Rove (who else?). In 500 words he manages to set new highs (lows?) for viciousness, misrepresentations of fact, and just plain hypocrisy.

Every time I read a lament for the post-9/11 era of national unity, I wonder what people are talking about. On the issues I was watching, the Republicans' exploitation of the atrocity began while ground zero was still smoldering.

Mr. Rove has been much criticized for saying that liberals responded to the attack by wanting to offer the terrorists therapy - but what he said about conservatives, that they "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war," is equally false. What many of them actually saw was a domestic political opportunity - and none more so than Mr. Rove.

Of course far be it to actually provide an example of such heinous "exploitation", but in Krugman's world when you can't argue the facts just disparage the motives of the person. For example why trouble with arguing the merits of social security reform when you can just claim that people who are trying to reform it are just pretending so they can secretly plot to destroy it.

But Mr. Rove understood that the facts were irrelevant.

Uh, excuse me? Have you read any of your editorials lately?

Mr. Rove also understands, better than anyone else in American politics, the power of smear tactics. Attacks on someone who contradicts the official line don't have to be true, or even plausible, to undermine that person's effectiveness. All they have to do is get a lot of media play, and they'll create the sense that there must be something wrong with the guy.

Uh, excuse me? Have you read THIS editorial lately?

And now we know just how far he was willing to go with these smear tactics: as part of the effort to discredit Joseph Wilson IV, Mr. Rove leaked the fact that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the C.I.A. I don't know whether Mr. Rove can be convicted of a crime, but there's no question that he damaged national security for partisan advantage. If a Democrat had done that, Republicans would call it treason.

Now I am sure that more is still waiting to come out on this story, but the latest news is that Rove did not "leak" the fact that Mr. Wilson's wife worked for the CIA from some secret document, he merely heard it from a journalist and repeated it to another reporter. So now Krugman is accusing him of treason for the capital crime of repeating a story from one journalist to another! A crime that Krugman has been committing twice a week for the last 5 years. Gee, you wouldn't want to wait until all the facts were out before smearing a political opponent, would you?

Most of all, it's about what has happened to America. How did our political system get to this point?

I just want to know how did the journalism of the "newspaper of record" get to this point? How did an MIT educated award-winning economist get to this point? What has happened to America?