Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Expanding Paul Krugman's Imagination

Remember this quote from Paul Krugman after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting?

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

Via Instapundit, we now have a Democratic member of Congress urging his constituents with what can only be described as toxic rhetoric:

A Democratic Congressman from Massachusetts is raising the stakes in the nation’s fight over the future of public employee unions, saying emails aren’t enough to show support and that it is time to “get a little bloody.”

“I’m proud to be here with people who understand that it’s more than just sending an email to get you going. Every once and awhile you need to get out on the streets and get a little bloody when necessary,” Rep. Mike Capuano (D-Ma.) told a crowd in Boston on Tuesday rallying in solidarity for Wisconsin union members.

Given that Capuano will most certainly not be ostracized, will Krugman expand his imagination now?

Most certainly not, of course. There is no room for reality to creep into Krugman's imagination when it interferes with the narrative.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Fetish of Complexity

Via Belmont Club, here is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

It goes without saying – but I will say it anyway – that this is a critical time for America’s global leadership. We have spent two years renewing our alliances, forging new partnerships, and elevating diplomacy and development alongside defense as pillars of American foreign policy and national security. Now, as we look to the next two years, it is time to build on that progress and deliver results – results that are expected from ourselves and certainly from the Congress and the American public.

We’re going to be looking to see how we can advance America’s interests and values on security, on climate change, on boosting exports and rebalancing the global economy on all of our core priorities. But I will hasten to say we face a very difficult budget climate and we face an increasingly complex, no easy answers if there ever were any, diplomatic and development environment.

OK, here we go.

"...and we face an increasingly complex, no easy answers if there ever were any, diplomatic and development environment."
--stuff Hillary said

"The fetish of complexity, the trick of making hard decisions harder to make- the art, finally, of rationalizing the non- decision, have made a ruin of American foreign policy.”
--
stuff Ronald said

Reagan said that some 40 years ago.

The more things change, the more they . . . resemble Ecclesiastes 1:9.

9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

Let's Not Make A False Pretense

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.

Well.

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.