One thing about Paul Krugman, he always gets the memo. You can count on his column in the New York Times to echo the Democratic Party’s talking points of the moment, whatever they are. Thus, his current column accuses Republicans of threatening violence against those poor little Democrats. It’s a dumb claim, so it suits Krugman perfectly. His “evidence” is lame beyond belief. After referring to “the wave of vandalism and threats aimed at Democratic lawmakers”–no mention of Eric Cantor’s office being shot at, death threats against Sarah Palin, etc.–he continues:
What has been really striking has been the eliminationist rhetoric of the G.O.P., coming not from some radical fringe but from the party’s leaders. John Boehner, the House minority leader, declared that the passage of health reform was “Armageddon.”
Is that scary, or what? An “Armageddon” is “any great and crucial conflict.” I think the debate over health care qualifies, and, judging by their own statements, so do the Democrats. Krugman continues:
The Republican National Committee put out a fund-raising appeal that included a picture of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House, surrounded by flames, while the committee’s chairman declared that it was time to put Ms. Pelosi on “the firing line.”
This is downright funny. Krugman, in his usual dishonest-but-ineffective way, forgets to mention the whole point of the RNC fund-raising appeal, i.e., “Fire Pelosi.” Here it is; click to enlarge:
Now, Paul, let’s take this slowly, and try to follow along: “Fire Nancy Pelosi” means to cause her to lose her job as Speaker of the House. That will happen if the Republicans take the majority of the House in November, see? So the flames aren’t an incitement to burn Ms. Pelosi alive, they are a pun on the word “fire.” Get it? And Steele’s reference to putting Pelosi on “the firing line,” while perhaps infelicitous, obviously referred to the theme of the campaign: Fire Pelosi, not to assassinating the Speaker of the House. Here is the rest of Krugman’s “evidence”:
And Sarah Palin put out a map literally putting Democratic lawmakers in the cross hairs of a rifle sight.
Wow, how violent can you get? Here is the map:
“It’s time to take a stand.” Palin is pushing the envelope of political discourse, all right. It’s easy to see how an unbalanced tea partier could take one look at that map and reach for a .30-06. (That’s a powerful rifle, Paul.) Just wait until the next time a Republican mentions a “battleground state.” They’ll have him arrested.
You might think I’m kidding, but take a look at the linked column–that is literally all of the evidence that Krugman cites for the proposition that Republican leaders are systematically inciting violence. He continues:
All of this goes far beyond politics as usual. Democrats had a lot of harsh things to say about former President George W. Bush — but you’ll search in vain for anything comparably menacing, anything that even hinted at an appeal to violence, from members of Congress, let alone senior party officials.
Well, let’s see. How about the cover of this book, which depicts President Bush as Frankenstein’s monster and Dick Cheney as Hitler? Disgusting! Whose book is it? Oh, yeah…Krugman’s:
And, as many have noted, Krugman also wrote–just last December!–“A message to progressives: By all means, hang Senator Joe Lieberman in effigy.” I think that Krugman “hinted at an appeal to violence” far more clearly, to put it mildly, than any of the Republicans whose innocuous words he quoted.
Many people believe that Krugman doesn’t actually write the columns that appear under his name in the Times, because they are so stupid. I don’t know. For that to be a credible theory, he must have once written something intelligent. If he ever has, I missed it.