Monday, June 9, 2008

Standing Truth On Its Head: Krugman on Obama and Racism

Paul Krugman is such low-hanging fruit that his inane rantings generally elicit little more than a yawn. Today, however, his intellectual dishonesty and projection of identity politics onto the right goes beyond the pall.

The one positive note coming out of the Democratic primary is that the selection of Barack Obama as nominee is a marker that mainstream America is firmly in the middle of post racial politics. And even though NYT columnist Paul Krugman is miles to the left of that mainstream, he too makes that connection:

Fervent supporters of Barack Obama like to say that putting him in the White House would transform America. With all due respect to the candidate, that gets it backward. Mr. Obama is an impressive speaker who has run a brilliant campaign — but if he wins in November, it will be because our country has already been transformed.

Thus does Mr. Krugman prove with his article today the broken clock theory - that even he, like said clock, can be right once or twice a day. And just like a broken clock, beyond that single moment of accuracy, Krugman immediately starts getting it wrong thereafter.

Mr. Obama’s nomination . . . [is] possible today only because racial division, which has driven U.S. politics rightward for more than four decades, has lost much of its sting.

And the de-racialization of U.S. politics has implications that go far beyond the possibility that we’re about to elect an African-American president. Without racial division, the conservative message — which has long dominated the political scene — loses most of its effectiveness.

Whoa. This is projection at its worst. The conservative message is simple and, indeed, can be summed up in a few bullet points: strong national defense, be fiscally conservative, less government regulation and interference in our lives, respect our Constitutional rights, law and order. Marxian identity politics, of which racial division is one subset, quite literally defines the left. While conservatives are about equal opportunity and equal treatment, the left defines people by their victim sub-group. Racial division in today's America is a construct of the left, from affirmative action to people like Jeremiah Wright and Al Sharpton and their enablers.

Krugman continues:

Take, for example, that old standby of conservatives: denouncing Big Government. Last week John McCain’s economic spokesman claimed that Barack Obama is President Bush’s true fiscal heir, because he’s “dedicated to the recent Bush tradition of spending money on everything.”

Now, the truth is that the Bush administration’s big-spending impulses have been largely limited to defense contractors. But more to the point, the McCain campaign is deluding itself if it thinks this issue will resonate with the public.

For Americans have never disliked Big Government in general. In fact, they love Social Security and Medicare, and strongly approve of Medicaid — which means that the three big programs that dominate domestic spending have overwhelming public support.

If Ronald Reagan and other politicians succeeded, for a time, in convincing voters that government spending was bad, it was by suggesting that bureaucrats were taking away workers’ hard-earned money and giving it to you-know-who: the “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy T-bone steaks, the welfare queen driving her Cadillac. Take away the racial element, and Americans like government spending just fine.

Bush has spent like a drunken democrat and Krugman's assertion that it has been limited to defense contractors is so patently false - think the prescription drug program, etc. - as to defy belief. Indeed, defense spending, even with two wars going on, is 4% of the federal budget. McCain has been critical of Bush since day 1 of the Bush Presidency for lack of fiscal discipline. Bush failed to impose any fiscal discipline on Republican lawmakers who took their lead from him and have gone hog-wild with spending. Fiscal restraint is one of the three pillars of conservativism and thus is non-negotiable. That is why Republicans got slammed in 2006. When at least a portion of the base did not turn out, Republicans lost in close elections across the board.

Krugman's citation to Reagan and welfare is simply incredible. If a Republican challenges the socialist state, Krugman attributes to them racial animus. Indeed, it is hard to imagine a more clear example of the marxian identity politics to which Krugman and his ilk are wedded. In the 1980's, welfare was a huge problem and an incredibly abused system that promoted a non-working class. That was an issue that had nothing to do with race. Indeed, you can see what is occurring with an unreformed welfare system of similar ilk in Britain decades on, where there is today permanent, non-working underclass.

And while Reagan wanted to reform welfare, the person that ended up making that reform was none other than Bill Clinton, the first black President. As I recall at the time, he was not charged with racism for reforming welfare. Krugman actually lauds Clinton for making race less of an issue by reforming welfare. The incredible cycnicsm and hypocriticalness of his positions seems to pass him by:

But why has racial division become so much less important in American politics?

Part of the credit surely goes to Bill Clinton, who ended welfare as we knew it. I’m not saying that the end of Aid to Families With Dependent Children was an unalloyed good thing; it created a great deal of hardship. But the “bums on welfare” played a role in political discourse vastly disproportionate to the actual expense of A.F.D.C., and welfare reform took that issue off the table.

. . . It’s true that 9/11 gave the fear factor a second wind: Karl Rove accusing liberals of being soft on terrorism sounded just like Spiro Agnew accusing liberals of being soft on crime. But the G.O.P.’s credibility as America’s defender has leaked away into the sands of Iraq.

Let me add one more hypothesis: although everyone makes fun of political correctness, I’d argue that decades of pressure on public figures and the media have helped drive both overt and strongly implied racism out of our national discourse. For example, I don’t think a politician today could get away with running the infamous 1988 Willie Horton ad.

Wow. Is this idiot deaf? Somebody play the Jeremiah Wright National Press Club tapes for him. Or read the passage in Obama's book about the sermon that gave his life meaning - where he writes "white folks greed runs a world in need." What a "politician today" is getting away with is far different than the Willie Horton ad. Willie Horton, by the way, was released early from jail by Dukakis and committed an utterly brutal rape and multiple murder. That ad was only racist if you believe the truth itself is racist. What the left is allowing Jeremiah Wright and the left to get away with is overt racism that is not only accepted as a part of the left's marxian identity politics, but encouraged as a part of that mindset.

And apparently, Krugman hints that an Obama loss in November, should it come to pass, will come about in part from racism. Moreover, he states that raising the issue of Obama's twenty years in a Church preaching the vile racism of Black Liberation Theology will be a sign of racism by the right. Indeed, any criticism of a person is spun by the left as a criticism of the identify group that person has been assigned by the left:

Anyway, none of this guarantees an Obama victory in November. Racial division has lost much of its sting, but not all: you can be sure that we’ll be hearing a lot more about the Rev. Jeremiah Wright and all that. . . .

Krugman's intellectual dishonesty and his identity politics turn truth on its head.

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