Paul Krugman is such a fount of misinformation that fisking him could be a full-time job. (Actually, for Donald Luskin, it probably has been.) Yesterday’s column, which darkly accused Republicans of stealing one election after another, was a classic of Krugmania. Krugman begins with the casual assertion that Al Gore “really” won the 2000 election:
Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida’s ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore. *** But few Americans have heard these facts.
Yes, well, there’s a reason for that: USA Today’s headline reporting on the findings of consortium number one, in which it participated, was: “Newspapers’ recount shows Bush prevailed.” The New York Times participated in the second consortium; its story on the unofficial “recount” begins:
A comprehensive review of the uncounted Florida ballots from last year’s presidential election reveals that George W. Bush would have won even if the United States Supreme Court had allowed the statewide manual recount of the votes that the Florida Supreme Court had ordered to go forward.
Contrary to what many partisans of former Vice President Al Gore have charged, the United States Supreme Court did not award an election to Mr. Bush that otherwise would have been won by Mr. Gore. A close examination of the ballots found that Mr. Bush would have retained a slender margin over Mr. Gore if the Florida court’s order to recount more than 43,000 ballots had not been reversed by the United States Supreme Court.
Even under the strategy that Mr. Gore pursued at the beginning of the Florida standoff — filing suit to force hand recounts in four predominantly Democratic counties — Mr. Bush would have kept his lead, according to the ballot review conducted for a consortium of news organizations.
The farthest the Times–Krugman’s own newspaper–went in support of his thesis was to say:
But the consortium, looking at a broader group of rejected ballots than those covered in the court decisions, 175,010 in all, found that Mr. Gore might have won if the courts had ordered a full statewide recount of all the rejected ballots. This also assumes that county canvassing boards would have reached the same conclusions about the disputed ballots that the consortium’s independent observers did. The findings indicate that Mr. Gore might have eked out a victory if he had pursued in court a course like the one he publicly advocated when he called on the state to ”count all the votes.”
That “might have won”–in the consortium’s view, it depended on how one interpreted dimples on the disputed ballots–is a far cry from Krugman’s claim that “both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore.”
But Paul K. is just getting warmed up. What he really wants to talk about is the 2004 election, specifically Ohio. He relies on a “very judicious” book titled Steal This Vote, by far-left British reporter Andrew Gumbel, without mentioning that Gumbel’s book was published by The Nation, one of America’s last outposts of unrepentant Marxism.
Of course, Krugman, as a distinguished columnist for the New York Times, wouldn’t be content to rest his claims on the work of a left-wing hack; no, he diversified his sources by also citing two reports on the 2004 election in Ohio: one by the Democratic National Committee, and one by the Democratic staff of the House Judiciary Committee.
With Krugman, you may not get either accuracy or fairness, but at least you know where he’s coming from.
What, specifically, does Krugman complain about in Oho? First there is the famous “lockdown” in Warren County–famous, that is, if you are a denizen of the Democratic Underground, as Krugman appears to be. What Krugman fails to mention, of course, is that one of the people “locked down” inside the building as the votes were counted was the Democratic Party’s observer, who reported afterward that he saw nothing out of the ordinary.
Krugman’s second Ohio nugget relates to Miami County: “Miami County reported that voter turnout was an improbable 98.55 percent of registered voters.” Well, that would be quite a turnout, all right–impressive even by the standards of Democratic Philadelphia. I think I know where Krugman got that figure; it is on page 58 of the Conyers report authored, as noted above, by the Democratic staff of the House Judiciary Committee.
Of course, Krugman has never been one to trouble himself by actually doing research. As far as I can tell, he never does any: he simply reads a far-left book or a Democratic National Committee press release, and summarizes it in his column. (And for this the New York Times pays him?) I’m not talking about hard, obscure research here; I’m talking about going to the website of the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, where official voter turnout numbers are recorded. Miami County’s turnout in 2004? 72.2 %.
In addition to his many factual inaccuracies, Krugman’s discussion of problems in American elections is ludicrously one-sided. He fails to mention any of the well-documented incidents associated with the Democratic Party in 2004: fraud in Wisconsin and Washington, gunshots fired through windows of Republican Party offices; Republican party offices burglarized and computers stolen; thugs attacking Republican Party offices and attacking workers, in one instance breaking a Republican’s wrist; concrete blocks smashed through doors and windows of Republican campaign offices, etc. We covered these incidents and others throughout the campaign, but if Krugman is aware of them, he is keeping it a secret from his readers.
One can only wonder how long the people who run the Times will be willing to let Krugman continue to emabarrass them.