A Stroke of Genius?

Wow, poor dumb Paul Krugman is still obsessed with me. I could recommend a good psychiatrist if he is interested. Why does Krugman continue, time after time, to link to a post that I wrote in 2005, thirteen years ago? Because over the years, I have devastated dozens of his columns, and shown them to be not just wrong, but dishonest. And, almost as bad, lazy. Keep reading for the details.

I will get to my original post in a moment, but the more interesting question is, what is the source of Krugman’s animus? After all, we have not written much about him in recent years. But Krugman hasn’t forgotten the fact that, dating back to the early days of this site, we have repeatedly documented his misrepresentations, his misleading omissions, his outright lies, and his hysterical fabrications. Just for fun, I searched our archives to identify some of our Krugman posts. Not all of our archives have successfully made the trip from one database to another, so it isn’t possible to recover them all, but there are plenty to get a sense of what a deceptive and incompetent commentator Krugman is.

Let’s start with the fact that Daniel Okrent, former Public Editor of the New York Times, publicly expressed his frustration with Krugman’s dishonesty and his resistance to correcting the many errors in his columns. Okrent criticized Krugman for “the unfair use of statistics, the misleading representation of opposing positions, and the conscious withholding of contrary data.”

Okrent also wrote:

Op-Ed columnist Paul Krugman has the disturbing habit of shaping, slicing and selectively citing numbers in a fashion that pleases his acolytes but leaves him open to substantive assaults.

Many of those “substantive assaults” came from us. Here is a partial selection:

In Krugman Goes Around the Bend, I pointed out the absurdity of Krugman’s equating a group of country music fans destroying their own copies of Dixie Chicks CDs to Kristallnacht.

In The Paul Krugman Truth Squad, Paul linked to a post by Donald Luskin that showed that Krugman had dishonestly attacked the Bush tax cuts by comparing a single year’s salary in a newly-created job against the ten-year cost of the tax cuts that created that job.

In Krugman the Barbarian, I critiqued Krugman’s attack on Arnold Schwarzenegger, in which Krugman asserted that California’s taxes are “now probably below average.” Probably? He evidently was too lazy to look up the data–laziness is a frequent issue with Krugman–which showed that Californians then had the 8th-highest tax burden of the 50 states.

In Poor Paul Krugman, I noted that, contrary to Krugman’s characterization of Wesley Clark’s views–Clark was Krugman’s candidate of the moment–Clark had testified under oath that Saddam Hussein “has chemical and biological weapons.”

In Krugman On Civility, I ridiculed Krugman’s claim that the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 caused Osama bin Laden’s escape at Tora Bora in December 2001.

In Krugman Descends Further, I noted that, while Krugman had repeatedly criticized Republicans for being “uncivil,” the U.K. cover of his book The Great Unraveling depicted President Bush as Frankenstein’s monster, and Dick Cheney as Hitler. (Some things never change, do they?)

In Paul Krugman’s Credibility Recession, I showed that Krugman’s claims about current unemployment data were false. This was another case of Krugman making blithe (but fictitious) assertions about the unemployment numbers, assuming that no one would take the trouble to look them up.

In That Was Then, This Is Now, I pointed out that Krugman had written disapprovingly about Enron without disclosing that he was a paid Enron adviser who, when he was cashing Enron’s checks, did nothing about the supposed abuses that were the subject of his column.

In Ducks In A Barrel, we linked to a Donald Luskin column that showed how Krugman had misrepresented economic data to mislead his readers with respect to the Reagan administration’s record on taxes and the economy.

In Paul Krugman, Around the Bend, I called Krugman on his false statements about Florida’s Governor Jeb Bush.

In Krugmania, I pointed out that Krugman’s hysterical claim that President Bush stole the 2004 election in Ohio was based on false statements of fact that were easily demolished–if, that is, one actually does research instead of parroting goofy left-wing blogs, as Krugman so often does.

In Krugmania, Continued, I demonstrated that Krugman lied–once again, uncritically repeating a baseless claim on a left-wing blog–with respect to the Navy’s performance in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

In Deja Vu, I exposed another example of Krugman’s misleading characterization of economic data to draw a conclusion that was the opposite of the truth.

In Krugman Flails Wildly, Misses, I catalogued falsehoods in a Krugman column about Social Security.

In Krugman vs. Krugman, I pointed out that Krugman denounced, in his column, the idea that extending unemployment benefits can prolong unemployment as a “bizarre point of view,” while in fact his own textbook, Macroeconomics, makes precisely that point.

In Krugman Embarrasses Himself, Again, I criticized Krugman for fabricating a quote that he attributed to Newt Gingrich, which led to a red-faced correction in the Times.

In Sun Rises in East; Krugman Makes Fool of Himself, I ridiculed Krugman’s criticism of Republicans for using “eliminationist rhetoric,” i.e.–I’m not kidding!–“Fire Nancy Pelosi,” when Krugman himself wrote, to take just one of many examples: “A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy.”

In Paul Krugman, Buffoon, I criticized Krugman for blaming Michele Bachmann for Jared Loughner’s murders, based on a false account of what Michele said in an interview with me.

In Paul Krugman, Punch Line, we posted a video of a room full of people bursting out in laughter when they learn that Krugman is the source for a liberal’s crackpot claim.

In Iowahawk vs. Krugman, we linked to Iowahawk’s dissection of yet another attempt by Krugman to lie with statistics, this time on education.

In Liberals: Wrong Again, Do They Care? I ripped Krugman’s baseless claim, which turned out to be entirely false, that Koch Industries stood to benefit from the sale of a handful of small, antiquated power plants in Wisconsin. This was one of countless examples of where Krugman repeated outlandish claims made on far-left web sites as though they were Gospel, without doing any investigation to determine whether they had merit, or, as in this case, were obvious fantasies.

So that is a sampling, at least, of what we have on Krugman. What does he have on us? Well, nothing in the last thirteen years. But what about that post from 2005? Krugman and other leftists like to quote the first paragraph of the post; I doubt that they have ever read the whole thing:

It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.

Now, is that over the top? Of course! Do you see the tongue planted in the cheek, the twinkling eye? You are probably smart enough to understand that I was using the ancient rhetorical device of hyperbole, but liberals like Krugman are too blind to nuance of any kind to catch on. Of course, I left a clue for them: the very next words of the post, after those quoted by Krugman, are “Hyperbolic? Well, maybe.” You should read the post; it is a good one, about an excellent initiative of the Bush administration in the environmental field. To my knowledge, no liberal has ever tried to rebut the substance of the post. In keeping with his usual laziness, I don’t suppose Krugman ever has read it.

Oh, and, by the way: if the point of quoting that single paragraph is to suggest that I was an uncritical fan of President Bush, Krugman and his fellow leftists should read the rest of the dozens or hundreds of posts that I wrote about Bush and his administration between 2002 and 2009. Like the one on immigration, where I wrote, “He had his chance and he blew it.” When Bush left office, I graded his administration a B-.

So here is the original post:

It must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can’t get anyone to notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception that, when not bored, is hostile.
Hyperbolic? Well, maybe. But consider Bush’s latest master stroke: the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. The pact includes the U.S., Japan, Australia, China, India and South Korea; these six countries account for most of the world’s carbon emissions. The treaty is, in essence, a technology transfer agreement. The U.S., Japan and Australia will share advanced pollution control technology, and the pact’s members will contribute to a fund that will help implement the technologies. The details are still sketchy and more countries may be admitted to the group later on. The pact’s stated goal is to cut production of “greenhouse gases” in half by the end of the century.

What distinguishes this plan from the Kyoto protocol is that it will actually lead to a major reduction in carbon emissions! This substitution of practical impact for well-crafted verbiage stunned and infuriated European observers.

I doubt that the pact will make any difference to the earth’s climate, which will be determined, as always, by variations in the energy emitted by the sun. But when the real cause of a phenomenon is inaccessible, it makes people feel better to tinker with something that they can control. Unlike Kyoto, this agreement won’t devastate the U.S. economy, and, also unlike Kyoto, the agreement will reduce carbon emissions in the countries where they are now rising most rapidly, India and China. Brilliant.
But I don’t suppose President Bush is holding his breath, waiting for the crowd to start applauding.

UPDATE: Of all the thousands of posts we have done over the years, this one seems to most outrage the Left, I suppose because it is so at odds with liberals’ cherished illusions about President Bush. The tone of the post is obviously tongue in cheek, but liberals never seem to notice. They are, to put it charitably, not big on nuance. More important, I’ve never seen a liberal respond to, let alone rebut, the point of the post: that President Bush’s proposal to share pollution control technology with the countries where carbon emissions are rising most rapidly made far more sense than the Kyoto approach, which combined ineffectiveness with economic disaster. That, too, is a sign of the intellectual vacuity of modern liberalism.


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