Joan Walsh aping the right: We keep waiting for Krugman to turn the corner about who and what we are.
In a new blog post, he starts with a “bonkers op-ed” column by Liz Cheney. As he proceeds, he notes the lunacy of an argument which has long been made on the right.
The claim in question makes no sense, but conservatives just keep making it. We will shorten his argument a tad:
KRUGMAN (4/2/13): The stirring quote from Ronald Reagan [in Cheney’s column] comes from the recording he made for Operation Coffee Cup, a 1961 project organized by the AMA to mobilize doctors’ wives and their friends against the looming horror of Medicare, which would clearly turn American into a totalitarian state.In short, Reagan once made a prediction which has turned out to be crazily wrong. But so what? Conservatives have never stopped citing his prediction as if it still makes perfect sense.
However, neither Chait nor Carroll mention what seems to me to be an obvious parallel, which is with the whole Hayekian notion that the welfare state sets us on the slippery slope to Stalinism...
And with Hayek, as with Reagan, the truly amazing thing is that we have people citing as a source of wisdom someone who has been as thoroughly refuted by history as anyone can be. Three generations into the modern welfare state, and western democracies look less Stalinist than ever.
In his ongoing work, Krugman keeps describing a fact he won’t articulate—we the people are basically stuck with a crazy public discourse. Our public discourse is littered with claims which make absolutely no sense—and it isn’t part of mainstream press culture to push back against this state of affairs.
Mainstream journalists have no inclination to do such a thing. Beyond that, they wouldn’t know how to refute crazy claims even if they wanted to try. Crazy claims are thus the lingua franca of our failing discourse.
Many liberals will assume that this is only true of claims which are made on the right. So it may seem when we read this new observation by Dave Weigel:
WEIGEL (4/2/13): In a pinch, some conservatives deploy a rhetorical trick that makes a lot of sense to them and no one else. If a black conservative/Republican is criticized, they assume that the left is revealing its deep-seated hatred of black people. The left laughs this off—yes, obviously, 90 percent of black people vote Democratic because they're dupes intent to stay "on the plantation." Keep telling them that, it'll win 'em over!Weigel is certainly right on one point. Major conservatives do deploy that (brainless) rhetorical trick.
But it's a safety blanket of an argument, and it's been getting cuddled ever since aspiring political thinker/activist Dr. Ben Carson said that marriage shouldn't be redefined by gays nor by "NAMBLA" or "people who believe in bestiality."
But does that trick "make a lot of sense" to conservatives and to nobody else? Isn’t that the same rhetorical trick Joan Walsh deployed at Salon last week?
According to Walsh's angry post, one conservative had revealed the location of the Obama daughters’ spring vacation. Earlier, other conservatives had made an inaccurate statement about security practices at their school.
To Joan, these behaviors somehow revealed the racism of the right. (Headline: How not to seem like a racist.) She seemed to feel no need to explain her fractured logic. Borrowing from Weigel:
If a black liberal/Democrat is criticized, Walsh assumes that the right is revealing its deep-seated hatred of black people.
Walsh has been getting tribally crazy, and more dishonest, in recent years. But that is true of others on the emergent pseudo-left in the age of The One True Channel.
For many years, we had a silent left and a crazy right. Now, the silent left has emerged from its long, disgraceful nap in the woods.
As we emerge, so do a pair of sad facts—we aren’t much sharper than those on the right, and our gatekeepers no longer exist. Increasingly, we find ourselves with a pair of crazy groups making bogus claims.
Krugman keeps describing the lunacy of the national and international discourse. We keep waiting for him to turn the corner:
We wish he’d describe the depth of the hole we all find ourselves in. We live in a primally crazy world.
We wish Paul Krugman would say it.