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Roger’s Rules

How to Turn a tragedy into an emetic

January 9th, 2011 - 8:35 am

A question for the metaphysicians and cultural pathologists:  just how low can former-economist Paul Krugman, hysteric-in-chief for The New York Times, go?

Yesterday’s homicidal rampage in Tucson, which left (as of this writing)  six dead and another thirteen wounded, may give us an approximate answer.

A nine-year-old girl was one of those murdered. So was John Roll, a federal judge who was appointed by George H.W. Bush.

And as all the world knows by now, one of the casualties was Gabrielle Giffords, the forty-year-old Blue-Dog Democrat, who was seriously wounded when Jared Lee Loughner, an ostentatiously disturbed 22-year-old, shot her point-blank through the head. Giffords remains in critical condition but — a ray of light in this ghastly episode — her doctors are optimistic about her recovery.

Loughner’s pistol was probably still warm when Krugman wheeled into print in an effort to make political capital out of the tragedy.  “Assassination Attempt in Arizona” should join that rogues’ gallery of disgusting Times stories that wallow in the gutter of political innuendo and mendacity even as they preen themselves on their exhibition of holier-than-thou virtue.

The folks at Powerline instantly got to the crux of the matter with The Contemptible Krugman, noting that he was among the first to “seek political advantage from mass murder.” Krugman’s column, they show, belongs to the Lillian Hellman species of utterance as described by Mary McCarthy: everything he wrote is a lie, including “and” and “the.” “We don’t have proof yet that this was political,” Krugman begins,  “but the odds are that it was.”

John at Powerline asks the right questions: “Really? Based on what?” Here’s what Krugman — or, in Powerline’s apt epithet, “hack columnist Paul Krugman” — offers by way of evidence:

She’s been the target of violence before. And for those wondering why a Blue Dog Democrat, the kind Republicans might be able to work with, might be a target, the answer is that she’s a Democrat who survived what was otherwise a GOP sweep in Arizona, precisely because the Republicans nominated a Tea Party activist. (Her father says that “the whole Tea Party” was her enemy.) And yes, she was on Sarah Palin’s infamous “crosshairs” list.

As John notes, “there is zero evidence that any of this had anything to do with Jared Loughner, who had no known connection to the Tea Party, the Republican Party, Sarah Palin, the Democratic Party, or anything else related to sane politics.”

Let’s pause over Hack Columnist Krugman’s reference to Sarah Palin’s “infamous” crosshairs list.  Here’s the image that so exercised him:

Every crosshairs represents a Democrat from a conservative district who voted for ObamaCare.  The map exercised not only Hack Columnist Krugman but many other Palin haters on the Left. In an earlier column, H-C Krugman wrote that:

All of this goes far beyond politics as usual. Democrats had a lot of harsh things to say about former President George W. Bush — but you’ll search in vain for anything comparably menacing, anything that even hinted at an appeal to violence, from members of Congress, let alone senior party officials.

Will you, Paul? Will you “search in vain for anything comparably menacing, anything that even hinted at an appeal to violence” from members of Congress?

It all depends on whether you bother to look.  An enterprising blogger at Verum Serum didn’t have far to look for this:

Got it? “Targeting strategy” for Democrats who hope to go behind “enemy lines” and score a bullseye by nailing the target.  That comes from the the Democratic Leadership Committee website in 2004. (And let’s not forget the president of the United States, who recently urged Latinos to “punish our enemies” and said at a rally in Philadelphia “if they bring a knife to the fight we bring a gun.”)

As I say, Hack Columnist Krugman wasn’t the only one exercised by Sarah Palin’s map. Verum Serum also quotes Rep. Chris Van Hollen, leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, denouncing it to Chris “the thrill is gone” Matthews: “I really think that that is crossing a line…In this particular environment I think it’s really dangerous to try and make your point in that particular way because there are people who are taking that kind of thing seriously.”

What about this map, Chris?

You remember that map, right? It comes from — what do you know! — the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee website. And there’s more. Each of those tokens leads you to a “targeted Republican,” Thaddeus McCotter, for example.

But back to H-C Krugman:

You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.

Hate-mongers, eh? Beck, Limbaugh, “etc.”? What “hate” are they mongering?  John at Powerline gets it in one:

This would be outrageous even if Krugman himself were not one of the worst hatemongers in public life, a man whose hysterical rhetoric exceeds anything you hear from Limbaugh, Beck, or any significant figure on the right who comes to mind. But this sort of contemptible demagoguery is exactly the kind of thing we have come to expect from Krugman.

Indeed we have.

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