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Mad props to Paul Krugman

In the days after Bush stole the presidency in Florida 2000, Paul Krugman was, quite literally, the ONLY media figure to stand up and tell the truth about Bush, his administration, the Republican Party, and what was happening to our country. In the darkness and the horror and the helplessness, Krugman was one of the very few points of light and signs of hope.

I am so grateful to Paul Krugman. (Tears are literally coming to my eyes as I write this, and that doesn't happen very often to this case-hardened and deeply cynical old WASP.) I feel Paul's columns were the first pebbles in last Tuesday's avalanche.

I'm sure I'm not the only one to have discovered Atrios, and from there, the blogosphere, in a Paul Krugman column about the Trent Lott takedown.

Here is something Krugman wrote back in 2003:


I gather, from reading MediaWhoresOnline [where Atrios got his start. And imagine any other columnist reading MWO, let alone citing it!], that some group has pronounced me highly “partisan”. Here are my thoughts on all that:

Suppose, just for the sake of argument, that the Bush administration was, in a fundamental way, being dishonest about its economic plans. Suppose that the numbers used to justify the tax cut were clearly bogus, and that the plan was in fact obviously a budget-buster. Suppose that the Social Security reform plan simply ignored the system’s existing obligations, and thus purported to offer something for nothing. Suppose that the Cheney energy report deliberately misstated the nature of the country’s actual energy problems, and used that misstatement to justify subsidies to the energy industry.

Suppose also that I found myself writing an economics column as these plans were being sold – and that I was a highly competent economist, if I say so myself. Suppose that as an economist able to do my own analysis, not obliged to rely on conflicting quotes from the usual suspects, I was in a position to spot right away that some of the stuff being peddled made no sense - and clued in enough to get hold of experts who could tell me what was wrong with the other stuff. Suppose that I had been repeatedly proved right in my critiques of the Bush administration’s assertions, even in cases where nobody else in the media was willing to take my criticisms seriously – for example, suppose that, because I understand microeconomics a lot better than your average columnist, I realized that economists who said that California’s electricity crisis had a lot to do with market manipulation were probably right, more than a year before conventional wisdom was willing to contemplate the possibility.

In this hypothetical situation, what sort of columns should I have been writing? Does the ideal of “nonpartisanship” mean that I should have mixed my critiques of Bush policies with praise, or with attacks on the hapless, ineffectual Democrats, just for the sake of perceived balance? Given what I knew to be the truth, would that even have been ethical?

I’ve reported; you decide.

Paul Krugman, you were Shrill when the country needed Shrill.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

NOTE If you think "horror" is a little over the top, what does the word "torture" mean to you?

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