Paul Krugman as patient zero

In the new issue of the Weekly Standard, Andrew Ferguson reviews Paul Krugman’s The Great Unraveling together with a fistful of other current books on the theme of the evil George Bush. Ferguson’s review is both entertaining and edifying. Somewhat surprisingly, however, he finds Paul Krugmam to be a key source in a great unraveling of a different kind than the one to which Krugman refers.
Ferguson dubs the phenomenon of over-the-top hatred of the president “Billy Bob Gasket Disease.” He finds “[a]mong the many ties that bind them, the authors are unanimous in claiming inspiration from Paul Krugman, a columnist for the New York Times, who, to borrow a term from epidemiology, seems to be Patient Zero in this most recent outbreak of Billy Bob Gasket Disease.”
Ferguson appears to have read all these books, and, even more impressively, to have made something of them: “The Bush-haters know they must scramble for…high-minded reasons to explain themselves, and this year’s stack of new books is the unpersuasive product of their efforts. Taken together the books make plain, if only inadvertently, that the cause of our most recent outbreak of Gasket Disease is something much deeper than policy, much deeper even than politics, plunging down and down into the mysteries of cultural identity in fractured America. At the end of ‘Bushwhacked,’ Molly Ivins speaks for all Bush-haters when, with typical artlessness, she sums up our present state of affairs: ‘There is something creepy about what is happening here.’ But they can’t quite put their finger on what it is.”

Responses