In the wake of the Gabrielle Giffords shooting, Paul Krugman singled out Michelle Bachmann for "eliminationist rhetoric":
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.
And it’s the saturation of our political discourse — and especially our airwaves — with eliminationist rhetoric that lies behind the rising tide of violence.
Where’s that toxic rhetoric coming from? Let’s not make a false pretense of balance: it’s coming, overwhelmingly, from the right. It’s hard to imagine a Democratic member of Congress urging constituents to be “armed and dangerous” without being ostracized; but Representative Michele Bachmann, who did just that, is a rising star in the G.O.P.
Krugman has been taken to task by a number of folks for being the lying (yes, lying) hack that he is. Bachmann was clearly referring to arming her constituents with facts in order for them to be dangerous to those who would lie to them.
But were one to take Krugman seriously -- not as seriously as he takes himself to be sure, for that may well be humanly impossible -- what would one make of this from ABC News:
In an e-mail obtained by ABC News, a top staffer for the key Senate Appropriations subcommittee called for a meeting of lobbyists and interest groups that would be affected by expected cuts to the Labor and Heath and Human Services budget. The Jan. 24 meeting was attended by approximately 400 people, sources told ABC, and served as a "call to arms" for those determined to fight Republican budget cuts.
"One thing everyone should be able to agree on now is that a rising tide lifts all boats, and that a higher [Labor, Health & Human Services] allocation improves the chances for every stakeholder group to receive more funding," the committee staffer for Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, wrote in an e-mail inviting people to the meeting.
There seems to be little difference between "armed and dangerous" and "call to arms" on the eliminationist rhetoric scale (as defined by Krugman, if one were to take him seriously).
But I see no reason to issue a call for Krugman to denounce this particular eliminationist rhetoric since Harkin's staffer himself is not "a member of Congress", and the eliminationist rhetoric (as definied by Krugman, if one were to take him seriously) was aimed not at constituents but fatcat lobbyists -- and because, quite honestly, I can't take Krugman seriously.
But mostly because I can't take Krugman seriously.
Let’s not make a false pretense of Krugman's mental balance.