In Tucson Shooting Fallout, Rightbloggers Find a New Public Enemy #1: Paul Krugman

tomt200.jpgIf you've quit paying attention to the Tucson shooting case, first of all, congratulations. Here is what you've missed: The nearly-assassinated Democratic Congresswoman is getting better, and the public discussion of her shooting is getting worse.

There's just too much nonsense being circulated to cover here, so we'll focus on a relatively narrow but instructive development: How rightbloggers have promoted to their primary object of hatred -- above even the despised Obama, at least for the moment -- mild-mannered economist Paul Krugman.

It's not that rightbloggers ever liked the Nobel-winning author. But particularly since his January 9th New York Times column, "Climate of Hate," he's become their new History's Greatest Monster.

Krugman's column suggested a connection between the new rightwing tradition of talking about killing one's political opponents -- see here for some hair-raising examples -- and the Tucson shootings. "There has, in fact, been a rising tide of threats and vandalism aimed at elected officials, including both Judge John Roll, who was killed Saturday, and Representative Gabrielle Giffords," wrote Krugman. "One of these days, someone was bound to take it to the next level. And now someone has."

Krugman mentioned Michelle Bachman's "armed and dangerous" comments which, readers of last week's column may recall, were elsewhere defended as relatively harmless, even though Bachmann had also said that "Thomas Jefferson told us, 'Having a revolution every now and then is a good thing.' And we the people are going to have to fight back hard if we're not going to lose our country," which could be taken as an invitation to armed resistance.

Still, Krugman's was not the most tightly-reasoned column ever written, and could have been challenged with a reasonable rebuttal. But rightbloggers were unable to muster a reasonable anything. Their responses were mainly insults, dudgeon, and bullshit.

krugmanumbrella.jpg
Look at him! Doesn't he just seethe liberal fascism?
"Paul Krugman Is an Idiot," said Going to the Mat. "Krugman is an Asshole," said Crazy Conservative. "Paul Krugman is a bald faced liar!," said SBVOR ("Click the image of the lying bastard & read the rest"), etc.

"Paul Krugman, Buffoon," said Power Line's John Hinderaker. Hinderaker claimed that "we now know that Loughner's murders were not political" (though he felt compelled to add that the assassin's "friends describe him as left wing").

Hinderaker also defended Bachmann's comments, insisting they didn't mean what Krugman said they meant -- "when liberals quote sentence fragments," he informed readers, "they are usually misleading when they aren't out-and-out fabricated." Unsurprisingly Hinderaker's Bachmann fragments did not include the bit about a new American revolution. Also, he said Krugman is "a vicious hater," "incapable of doing even the most rudimentary research," "Bachmann is infinitely better informed than Krugman," etc. How Krugman ever won that so-called Nobel Prize, John Hinderaker will never know.

"Krugman knows that people such as Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are not racists, bigots or purveyors of hate," wrote Desert Conservative. "Yet, he writes just the opposite." Desert Conservative didn't say how he knew this about Krugman's state of mind; maybe he tapped Krugman's phone. (Previously DC wrote, "TUCSON SHOOTER CLOSER TO KRUGMAN THAN TEA PARTY OR CONSERVATIVE GROUPS.")

At the close of one of his columns, conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer rather paroxysmally accused Krugman of psychological problems ("The origins of Loughner's delusions are clear: mental illness. What are the origins of Krugman's?"). Krauthammer, a trained psychiatrist, has been doing this sort of thing for years; sometimes he also complains about other people who casually impute mental illness to politicians. (You have to admire his nerve, if nothing else about him.)

Weirdly, the accusation of madness was one of only two brief references Krauthammer made to Krugman. Doesn't matter -- Krauthammer's quick slur was cheered by rightbloggers as if it were a speech by Edmund Burke.

"Krauthammer KO's Krugman and the Times," said Verum Serum. "Krauthammer takes the wood to Krugman," said Planet Utah.

"A devastating knockout of the New York Times columnist Paul Krugman," cried Peter Wehner of Commentary. Wehner's colleague John Steele Gordon added that Krugman was "intellectually lazy" and "intellectually dishonest," and even called him "the Joe McCarthy of our times," echoing William Kristol -- which probably confused both Commentary's and Kristol's readers, as most of them probably think McCarthy was a great American hero.

Some sort of prize should go to Matthew Sheffield, who at the Washington Examiner literally compared Krugman to Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church (of "God Hates Fags" fame). Unnamed liberals who say "conservatives and libertarians bear at least some responsibility for creating a 'climate of hate,'" Sheffield explained, are just like Phelps, who believes that "God literally hates people who engage in homosexual conduct."

Um, how? Maybe because Sheffield disagrees with both assertions -- we had a hard time parsing his argument, even after he sought to strengthen it by comparing Phelps' statements with Krugman's. Here's an example:

KRUGMAN: When you heard the terrible news from Arizona, were you completely surprised? Or were you, at some level, expecting something like this atrocity to happen?

PHELPS: God appointed the Afghanistan veteran to avenge himself on this evil nation.

Sheffield also wrote, "Read any random left-wing website and you'll see countless rants about how Democrats need to be more like Alan Grayson," without giving any examples and in contradiction to the results of a simple Google search, which shows rightbloggers far more obsessed with Grayson than liberals. Maybe literal meaning is actually beside the point, and Sheffield's whole column is meant as a new type of surrealist prose-poetry.

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97 comments
Julia Grey
Julia Grey

They really have sent out the troops for this one. I don't think I have ever seen so many persistent right-wing commenters on one of Roy's columns.

I need no better evidence that Krugman really IS vitally important to them. Perhaps they believe he has a HUGE amount of influence? Otherwise it makes little sense for them to be responding to this "liberal rag's" column and comment thread so doggedly.

You've struck a nerve, Roy.

SBVOR
SBVOR

"so many persistent right-wing commenters"

How many of me do you see? Are you frequently prone to such hallucinations?

"They really have sent out the troops"

Are you often prone to such paranoid delusions? Have you had a mental health evaluation lately?

I'm a fully independent, unpaid volunteer who does not even accept advertising on my blog (although Google would provide me with such compensation with a single click).

Julia Grey
Julia Grey

There may only be one of you, but these are among the other participating rightwingers on this thread

Byron in wahroongaGo KrauthammerJohnrichardDpn1031Samplebee78

Persistent sockpuppets or an unusual swarm of individual (paid or unpaid) "troops," I confess I don't know, but I do know that this is an UNUSUAL amount of right wing participation on a VILLAGE VOICE thread!

GeoX
GeoX

Seriously? "I know you are but what am I?"

I guess that pretty much demonstrates the level of wingnut "thought" we can expect.

SBVOR
SBVOR

GeoX,

I gather from your previous post that you have conceded the debate on every substantive point I raised throughout this thread -- good to hear!

GeoX
GeoX

...so it goes from "there ARE NOT a lot of wingers here!" to "okay, there *are,* but it's only because we crave attention!"

Nice to see you capitulate on this point.

SBVOR
SBVOR

"this is an UNUSUAL amount of right wing participation on a VILLAGE VOICE thread!"

Conservatives slumming it, eh?

Could it have anything to do with Roy having cited so many Conservative blogs?

Gee...Ya' THINK? How do you think I wandered into this cesspool of willful ignorance?

Richard
Richard

UNUSUAL amount of right wing participation on a VILLAGE VOICE thread!

or maybe we like the topic.. I did.

Horatius
Horatius

Shorter SBVOR : Nobody reads my shitty blog. Daddy pays the bills.

Julia Grey
Julia Grey

Apparently, Roy Edroso does.

You are hilarious. Lean close and I'll tell you a secret:

He read it because it's his JOB.

He was PAID to find you and people like you to fill the "point and giggle" list this week.

No, don't thank me. I just thought you ought to know.

SBVOR
SBVOR

"Nobody reads my shitty blog."

Apparently, Roy Edroso does.

Samplebee78
Samplebee78

Oh Roy, are you jealous that someone like Charles Krauthammer can write better and is more respected than you?

Horatius
Horatius

Kraphammer writes better than Roy? YOu have some peculiar tastes. What are you doing on this blog?

jim
jim

For having such a massive macho (insecurity) complex, these folks sure do spend a hell of a lot of time diving for the fainting-couch. Their sudden need for yet more crying-towels & binkies moves me deeply.

GlockPalin
GlockPalin

Maybe literal meaning is actually beside the point, and Sheffield's whole column is meant as a new type of surrealist prose-poetry.

A form of poetry known as Crank Verse, I believe.

Vicky
Vicky

Oh crap. Does Krugman own a gun? No. Does Palin. Uh, yeah several. Did the shooter. Um, yeah.

Glennisw
Glennisw

But Palin doesn't seem to know how to use one - she has to have her daddy help her.

SBVOR
SBVOR

If guns cause gun violence, then spoons cause obesity.

If some law abiding citizen in the audience had been carrying a gun, the carnage could have been stopped sooner and fewer people would have died.

You will never keep guns out of the hands of criminals. The best you can hope for is that law abiding citizens to be able to fight back. All the evidence shows that more guns equates to less crime and fewer guns equates to more crime.

Kjtvc
Kjtvc

"If guns cause gun violence, then spoons cause obesity."

Really? And how many spoons have accidentally gone off and fattened people? How many spoons have been used by people to fatten other people against their will? Less than 1% of gun deaths are actual self-defense situations. If you want to play the equivalency game, that would suggest that less than 1% of spoon usages are for healthful reasons.

Your analogy sucks, as does your attempt to rationalize gun rights. And btw, there WERE law abiding citizens nearby, and they WEREN'T able to stop the carnage, so strike two.

Lastly, re "All the evidence shows that more guns equates to less crime and fewer guns equates to more crime," uh, what about murder rates, suicide rates, accidental death rates, etc.? More guns equals more deaths, and ALL EVIDENCE points in that direction. Strike three. You're out.

SBVOR
SBVOR

1) Silly me…I thought a so-called “Progressive” could comprehend an analogy without it having to be spelled out to them in terms a three year old could understand.

The point is that…The responsibility for the problem lies with the person using the tool, not the tool itself. Whether we are talking about a gun or a spoon the analogy holds up.

2) In typical “Progressive” fashion, all sorts of statistics are fabricated out of thin air and presented as if they were fact. I have, in previous comments, cited data from -- among other sources -- academic studies. If you have sufficient skill to do so, locate my previous posts for the evidence.

3) When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns.

4) Like all so-called “Progressives”, you are a self-deluded MORON!

roshan
roshan

"If some law abiding citizen in the audience had been carrying a gun, the carnage could have been stopped sooner and fewer people would have died."

@SBVOR, yeah broski. totally right. There was a law abiding citizen carrying a gun during the Arizona shooting who nearly killed the person who took away the gun from the shooter.

You're trying too hard. Get some sleep and some Koch dollars and then report back to duty here.

GeoX
GeoX

There you go. It thinks "grr you're dumb" counts as "evidence."

SBVOR
SBVOR

GeoX sez:

"It's hilarious how sbovor is so pathetically insecure in its beliefs that it felt a need to post a feeble response to every single post here."

I offer evidence. You offer ad hominem. Which is evidence of insecurity?

roshan
roshan

"the gun owner proceeded properly and did not draw his weapon."

@SBVOR, Yup, he proceeded mighty properly. Or in his own words was just plain lucky

"Zamudio agreed: I was very lucky. Honestly, it was a matter of seconds. Two, maybe three seconds between when I came through the doorway and when I was laying on top of [the real shooter], holding him down. So, I mean, in that short amount of time I made a lot of really big decisions really fast. … I was really lucky."

http://www.slate.com/id/228079...

SBVOR, maybe you could write a folk tale about how when the gun owner couldn't stop the carnage in Arizona, he proceeded mightily and properly by not shooting other fellow Arizonans by not drawing his gun. Such a tale might endure the test of time and would be retold to every real American even after 100 years.

GeoX
GeoX

It's hilarious how sbovor is so pathetically insecure in its beliefs that it felt a need to post a feeble response to every single post here.

SBVOR
SBVOR

You overstate your hyperbole (and, quite inaccurately at that). Yes, he was armed. By the time he arrived on the scene, the gun had already been taken from Loughner. Because the person holding the gun which had been recovered from Loughner clearly was not presenting a threat, the gun owner proceeded properly and did not draw his weapon. Just another well behaved, typical law abiding gun owner -- what’s your point? I’m betting you don’t know many law abiding gun owners. I do.

Matt T.
Matt T.

Actually, there was a guy involved in subduing Loughner who was packing. He came out of a nearby supermarket when he heard the shots, saw the struggle to take the gun away from Loughner, and almost shot the guy who took said gun away from said jackass. He made a split-second decision to not whip out his piece and start a-blazin'. And it's interesting to note that in a state with such incredibly liberal gun laws - basically all one has to do to get a concealed carry permit is to be 21 - no one else came in to save the day, as has happened never in the number of such shootings. Something like 20 a year happen, and from all I've read, more guns really don't equate to less crime. Have you got info to actually back up your claims? I'd love to see it.

GlockPalin
GlockPalin

Even if gun control advocates could demonstrate quantifiable benefits to their laws (they cannot), I would NEVER sacrifice my right to self-defense for the sake of ANY alleged benefit. The large majority of Americans agree with me.

Agreed. Tactical nukes for all!

SBVOR
SBVOR

The gun control debate side of this story is pointless. Even Chuck Schumer admits this Congress will not get any gun control legislation passed (primarily because the large majority of Americans do not support any additional gun control legislation).

Even if gun control advocates could demonstrate quantifiable benefits to their laws (they cannot), I would NEVER sacrifice my right to self-defense for the sake of ANY alleged benefit. The large majority of Americans agree with me.

SBVOR
SBVOR

“Based on survey data from a 2000 study published in the Journal of Quantitative Criminology,[17] U.S. civilians use guns to defend themselves and others from crime at least 989,883 times per year.”

Google the quote.

SBVOR
SBVOR

“no one else came in to save the day”

Just because The New York Times did not publish the story does not mean it never happened. Google the phrase “the armed citizen” for a smattering of just the most recent substantiated stories where gun ownership proved helpful.

SBVOR
SBVOR

1) You overstate your hyperbole (and, quite inaccurately at that). Yes, he was armed. By the time he arrived on the scene, the gun had already been taken from Loughner. Because the person holding the gun which had been recovered from Loughner clearly was not presenting a threat, the gun owner proceeded properly and did not draw his weapon. Just another well behaved, typical law abiding gun owner -- what’s your point? I’m betting you don’t know many law abiding gun owners. I do.

2) Yes, I have data to backup my assertions. I will point you to spur of the moment research on the first example which came to mind (the draconian gun laws implemented in Australia). If I provide a link, this comment will to into moderation and maybe never appear. So, I will suggest, instead that you Google this phrase:

“assaults have been rising steadily since 1996”

Be sure to enclose the phrase in double quotes when performing the search. Click on the first and only result, then search again for that phrase. Bear in mind that the statistics I cite are compiled by the very government which enacted the gun laws. If you are open minded, you can readily find data from any number of gun rights organizations, starting with the NRA.

Dpn1031
Dpn1031

After reading Krugman's economic writings I can't understand why he won any awards. He is often wrong but never in doubt. But he is entertaining.

richard
richard

No one can say Roy follows the talking points.. great list of sayings.. some you missed.."if they bring a knife, we'll bring a gun." "Obama needs a oklahoma city to reconnect with Americans".. but my top winner is Chris Matthews "Obama just show the long form birth certificate." Standing by for the lesson in the meaning of words.. or dreams if you swing that way.

jim
jim

You left out the best saying of all: that liberal terrorist-lover who just yelled "you're dead" at the Tea Party bigwig in Arizona. I mean, it's not like he got shot or something ... oh wait.

Al_Swearengen
Al_Swearengen

Grow up little babies. Equivalencies are what children use to deflect blame. "Buuut mommmy, Brian always blah, blah, blah."

Many of us have been alive over the last 20 years, so you can't gloss over what we've personally seen and heard. Our poisoned and debased political culture is 110% the fault of you government-hating assholes.

kalalaumango
kalalaumango

dear.....it makes one wonder -- if all is well, then how come the festivities/parties in the desert have been limited to such a cavern that is not geological, but......?? hate in any form doesn't see its reflection it seems.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

This is nothing ...I Exist in Texas.... Having totally wiped out Democrats,Liberals,Progressives from having a real say in the day to day running of the state ....Conservative Texans are now fighting among themselves as to how Conservative Conservative is.Sadly this has caused a problem because now they don't know who not to believe.

john
john

Paul Krugman is an ideologue and a fucking liar.

Imma let you finish, but I gotta translate a little Kruggie into English for ya:

When you can't afford to pay your bills and your mortgage, and you've run your credit cards all up to their limits, you might as well go out for a night on the town because, you know, what else ya gonna do?

Krugman won the nobel the same way charm school kids graduate. TELLING PEOPLE EXACTLY WHAT THEY WANT TO HEAR. The Nobel in economics is worth no more than the "peace" prize, which simply goes to whatever token of leftist ideology gets the most attention that year.

Krugman is literally telling us "you have to spend money to save money," which is a gross distortion of the aphorism "you have to spend money to make money." Except he's not even trying to make money (except for himself).

He's an economist like the New York Times is a reputable newspaper.

Duncan
Duncan

The Nobel in economics is worth no more than the "peace" prize, which simply goes to whatever token of leftist ideology gets the most attention that year.

Well, it's true that the Nobel Prize in economics isn't worth much -- it's not even really a Nobel Prize -- but usually it is awarded to tokens of rightist ideology like Milton Friedman.

I don't have a lot of use for Krugman in general, and gave him a drubbing at my blog the last time he threw a hissyfit over the 'new' lack of civility in American politics. American politics has never been long on civility. This has always been a violent country. And I remember when Krugman was celebrating the brilliance and success of Enron. I don't consider him an important left, or even liberal thinker. He is, after all, writing for the New York Times.

negative 1
negative 1

Close, but missing any actual facts. Or basis in reality. Or coherence. Or even really a position to argue. You did try a nickname, though, and a pop culture reference from 6 months ago (sort of contemporary, I guess!) so I assume this is an attempt to be clever? I think your side actually started with the threats because they failed ever-so-hard at this sort of thing, but try linking cute catch phrases to a point for maximum impact.

Jimi99
Jimi99

These people are tired of being just stupid; they want it known that they are both stupid and dangerous.

Go Krauthammer!
Go Krauthammer!

I don't think the Boy Krugman was particularly noteworthy among conservatives until this past weekend when he attempted to exploit the deaths to score political points. That, along with comments by Sheriff Senile, was pretty disgusting, but it's what we've come to expect from the American left. Knee-jerk, Pavlovian responses to just about any emotional stimuli. Brainwashed. But, to whom little is given, little is expected.

Al_Swearengen
Al_Swearengen

Gee, rightwingers violently demonize and dehumanize gov't and anybody to the left of Hitler for the last 20 years and ya'll are shocked! just shocked! that some loon would pick up a gun and shoot a left-of-Hitler politician. Rightwingers made the bed, now they can sleep in it.

negative 1
negative 1

I know, he even put a target over Krauthammer's house and said we needed to "eliminate the threat". Talk about using death to score political points!Plus, what was up with the sheriff talking about violent rhetoric getting out of control in his district? It's almost like he thinks it's his job to deal with violence all day and it makes him familiar with it. He couldn't possibly know as much as a guy who watched it on Fox News!

Loquacious Haiku
Loquacious Haiku

"Knee-jerk, Pavlovian responses to just about any emotional stimuli?" "Brainwashed?"

You don't own a mirror, do you, GK?

piniella
piniella

Sheffield also wrote, "Read any random left-wing website and you'll see countless rants about how Democrats need to be more like Alan Grayson,"

I have to fess up and admit that I do wish we had a few more outspoken Dems like Grayson.

Loquacious Haiku
Loquacious Haiku

Agreed. And even if I didn't think this would be good for keeping the Overton Window from sliding ever rightward, it's a delight to watch the wingnuts flip out about the few tame examples from a guy like Grayson and then go into full sputter mode when you remind them of the one hundred ninety-three worse things that were said just last week on the other side of the aisle.

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