September 1, 2004


Krugman’s Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy: The Times columnist reveals his dark theories. (Byron York, 9/01/04, National Review)

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman says he believes the United States needs a "mega-Watergate" scandal to uncover a far-reaching right-wing conspiracy, going back forty years, to gain control of the U.S. government and roll back civil rights. [...]

"We probably make a mistake when we place too much emphasis on Bush the individual," said Krugman, who received a standing ovation when he was introduced. "This really isn't about Bush. Bush is the guy that the movement found to take them over the top. But it didn't start with him, and it won't end with him. What's going on in this country is that a radical movement...that had been building for several decades, finally found their moment and their man in Bush."

Krugman said he and other liberals had been "asleep" and unaware of the true dimensions of the danger during the years in which President Bill Clinton found himself facing a variety of scandal allegations. But Krugman said there is a "complete continuity" between today's politics and the "campaign of slander and innuendo" against Clinton. "There's complete continuity going back, really, I think — but this is my next book — you really need to go back to Goldwater. A lot of this has to do with civil rights, and the people who don't like them."

Krugman described the conspiracy as "the coalition between the malefactors of great wealth and the religious right." He offered no further details about who, precisely, is in the conspiracy but said that "substantial chunks of the media are part of this same movement."

"It's a movement that has been building," Krugman told the audience. "The one thing I think that you really have to say is that people on the left — the position formerly known as the center — people like myself have been asleep for a long time. We just didn't take it seriously. We sat through all the Clinton scandals and said oh, you know, there's probably some funny stuff going on there [and] didn't understand the extent to which this movement was being built."

We of the Right have often had the sad experience of finding that one of our best has come unhinged, though usually it's at the end of, or is the cause of the end of, their careers. Such is the case of even the great Albert Jay Nock, who derailed his own modest career by writing an unfortunate piece about Jews for The Atlantic in 1941. And we all witnessed the recent case of Trent Lott whose ill-considered remarks about Strom Thurmond's segregationist presidential campaign cost him his position as Senate Majority Leader. So it would not become us to get too huffy about Mr. Krugman, the leading voice of the establishment Left and his obvious decent into lunacy. It will be enough that the Times fire him, as they surely will, and that he go off to teach his own strange brand of economics at some little school somewhere for the rest of his days, all the while scribbling out his magnum opus on the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. That is what will happen now, right?

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 1, 2004 5:15 PM

I suppose Joe Lieberman, Zell Miller, Ed Koch, Mayor Kelly, and the FDNY are members of the VRWC. Bill O'Reilly should meet with Krugman and show him the secret handshake.

But the Times won't fire Krugman - I'm sure they think he gives them credibility. Although Dowdy might disagree.

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 1, 2004 5:19 PM

Wow. This is on a level with John Birchers accusing George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower of membership in the international communist conspiracy.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at September 1, 2004 5:24 PM

Or David Icke and the shape-shifting Lizards from Space who run the world and feast on the blood of Aryan babies. Boxcar Willie's one of them, ya know.

Posted by: Governor Breck at September 1, 2004 5:30 PM

Why will the Times fire him? He's just spouting an unvarnished version of the editorial policy. Tin foil for everyone.

Posted by: jeff at September 1, 2004 5:31 PM

Uh, oh. He has stumbled on this site.

(BTW-ORRIN: I tried from another stand-alone PC with a separate e-mail account--same result.)

Posted by: Peter B at September 1, 2004 5:41 PM

Since when has lunacy been a disqualification for writing for the New York Times?

Posted by: at September 1, 2004 5:48 PM

This kind of dementia is accepted as an article of faith around the NY Times Editorial Board, Ivy League faculties, Hollywood and insane asylums all across the planet.

Krugman is and has always been a crank. What is worse is that he is a dishonest crank. Whenever he discourses about evil corporations, please remember that he was on the Enron payroll for several years.

Posted by: Bart at September 1, 2004 5:50 PM

(Borrowing from Mr. Cohen here I believe) Krugman's job, along with the rest of the MSM, is to entertain us with controversy. As such, advancing such moonbat mantra fits squarely into his jog description -- even if he actually DOES believe it. Guys like him almost make it fun to read the NYT because you can constantly ask yourself: "Wow! What if that's actually true?"

Posted by: John Resnick at September 1, 2004 5:52 PM

job description. sorry. note to self>> 1. preview 2. proof 3. post.

Posted by: John Resnick at September 1, 2004 5:54 PM

Krugman's TV appearances are, to say the least, an uncomfortable experience even with the sound off. He has this look in his eyes as if he's sure there's someone out there just waiting to get him, presumably because he's Paul Krugman, New York Times columnist speaking truth to power.

I doubt the Times will ever give him the boot unless he starts spreading out his paranoia about neocon cabals to include the general pro-Israeli Jewish community of the United States as well. But there is a possibility his self-induced fears will force the Times to change the title of his column to "Letter from Canada" or some other exotic place by the time the new year rolls around.

Posted by: John at September 1, 2004 6:18 PM

Boxcar Willie's one of them, ya know.

Dear Lord! The conspiracy goes all the way to the top.

Posted by: Mike Morley at September 1, 2004 6:22 PM


The Times has a history of anti-Zionism going back into the 19th century. Articles which disparage religious Jews frequently appear in its pages. A hell-for-leather assimilation has always been its view of the correct behavior for Jews in the US.

BTW, the current Sulzberger-in-charge is an Episcopalian.

Posted by: Bart at September 1, 2004 6:32 PM

Krugman's problem is that he's not a politician and doesn't know what the proper political response is to the Bush candidacy and other right-wing politicians. This is the same problem of all those protestors: politics is not a means of self-expression. It is a serious business about the proper governance of the country. One way of showing your seriousness is to keep composed and not show panic. This error is forgiveable in a columnist, but not in politicians.

I think many of Krugman's critiques are legitimate, and the harshness of his detractors reveals more bite in those critiques than they want to admit. However, he does very little to promote his position politically. Getting your base riled up serves no good if it alienates you from the support you otherwise need to implement your program.

For all of Clinton's faults, he was the target of a rather bizarre witch hunt that continuously claimed, from 1992 onward, all sorts of malfeasance, yet was only able to produce that he got a blow job. It's certainly a political issue that voters could give their approval or disapproval for, but did not justify the Starr fiasco. Had Clinton not stupidly perjure himself, there was no reason for impeachment. And one does wonder whether lying about a blow job does in fact constitute a high crime.

The Republicans, so angry that they did not win the 1992 and 1996 Presidential elections, tried to have them overturned through extra-constitutional procedures. Had Gore won the additional electoral college vote needed to become President, I suspect that anger over Republican tactics would subside.

Instead, a Supreme Court decision gave the Republicans victory in an election where they lost the popular vote. This only confirmed what suspicions some Democrats had. Hence the mood nowadays.

The poisoned political climate today is a direct result of GOP political tactics. Not only did it squander their chances to implement their own policy in 1994-96, it is dividing the country now. Unfortunately, the Democrats allowed themselves to adopt such anger themselves which had reduced them to the pathetic mess they are now in.

Bush's political gamesmanship had undoubtedly secured the GOP political gains, but at great risk to the unity of the nation during wartime. I think given a stronger candidate, Bush would be defeated. It is a discredit to the Democrats that they do not have one.

Bush has pursured an extremely divisive strategy in the hope it will produce domestic partisan success. He may yet win this election, much like LBJ won in 1964. Both times, incumbents played off national tragedies (9/11 and the Kenneday assasination) I wonder if Bush is not making the same mistakes now as LBJ did then in preparing the country for war. He has failed in securing the nation's commitment to sacrifice in a national war just like LBJ did (but FDR did not). One way to accomplish this is to put domestic agendas off the table. FDR did it. LBJ and Bush did not.

If Bush's gambles pay off, the worse will be avoided and the GOP will have positioned themselves well for the next 10 years. If not, then this country will enter another terrible time and the GOP will have only themselves to blame. A very high risk strategy. Perhaps acceptable for lower offices, but very dangerous for America when it's the Presidency.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at September 1, 2004 6:45 PM

Juanita Broaddrick says he raped her, a charge the President never denied.

Kathleen Willey says he assaulted her.

He perjured himself in the case dealing with his sexual assault of Paula Jones.

The Impeachment was a quite orderly, even overly cautious, exercise to remove from office a President who had behaved criminally in a suit where he faced an ordinary citizen.

He obstructed justice during the Special Prosecutor investigation in myriad ways, not least in the memo he gave Monica for Linda Tripp.

You can argue that none of that rises to the level of an impeachable offense if you want, but the idea that it's a GOP tactic and "extra-constitutional" is just vile.

The bit about the Supreme Court giving them a victory is ludicrous. The alternative was for the Florida Supreme Court to give an election he lost to Al Gore. If it was going to be decided judicially it was certainly better for the national institution to decide it.

The shtick about blaming the GOP for all of the divisiveness in our political system is asinine. The Democrats hate the GOP for the same reason and to the same degree that the GOP hated FDR--the political majority has shifted from one party to the other.
But that shift was preceded by the impeachment of Nixon, the Democrats opposition to a small war they started--Vietnam--and a large--the Cold War. The Rockefeller confirmation hearings exacerbated matters as did the Bolland Amendment/Contra kerfuffle. Newt's take down of Jim Wright added to it and George Mitchell's disgustingly partisan leadership of the Senate stirred the pot to the point where it was boiling over.

As for Krugman, suppose he'd said Jews instead of religious Right ? Would you still dismiss it so cavalierly?

FDR pulled his domestic agenda because it was dead in the water once the Southern Democrats and the Republicans took over Congress in '42 on the basis of opposition to the War. He won in '44 by portraying Republicans as virtual Nazis.

George W. Bush may, in fact, be the least divisive wartime president we've had. Wilson couldn't run again, FDR got creamed in the mid-term, Truman was forced from office, LBJ forced from office, Nixon impeached, Reagan nearly. W added seats in the midterm and stands to add them again as he wins this time. That is the source of the psychoses that folks like Krugman display.

Posted by: oj at September 1, 2004 7:14 PM

Vast Right Wing Conspiracy.
Bush is Hitler.
Fascism! Fascism! Fascism!

I saw these guys on South Park, at the Earth Day Brainwashing Festival.

Can't any of these fah-shionable conspiracy types come up with something original?

Like The Communist Gangster Computer God on the Dark Side of the Moon Puppeting Parrot Gangster Assassins through Frankenstein Earphone Radio Controls?

Or at least Reptoids from Inside the Hollow Earth?

Posted by: Ken at September 1, 2004 9:05 PM


D[arn]it, you said everything I was going to say.

Except a whole bunch more on account of because, in this particular realm, I am leagues away from your expertise.

Posted by: Jeff Guinn at September 1, 2004 9:49 PM

Just so everyone knows: Here's what $50,000 buys from Paul Krugman.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at September 1, 2004 10:11 PM

Bart --

The Times has had its share of leaders who had a disdain for their own religion, but normally they've been discrete enough not to upset their local advertisers or their key Manhattan upper income subscribers. Krugman at times seems unhinged enough to cross the line into overt claims championed by the tin-foil hat brigade, but for now he's kept those symptoms centered on Bush and the neocon movement. If he ever goes past there into the real leftist Twilight Zone of anti-Israeli vitrol where some European papers like The Guardian already tread (Sharon being even worse to them than George W. Bush, if that's possible), that's when he may tick off enough people who are on Pinch Sulzberger's 'A' list to where Pinch either has to let him go, or downgrade Krugman to a Frank Rich-like schedule of columns only during the waxing and waining of the moon.

Posted by: John at September 1, 2004 10:14 PM

Hmmm, are you saying that Nock suddenly, at age 70, developed a case of Jew-hatred, and that that was unfortunate? Or that he always hated Jews and the only unfortunate thing was that he let it out?

Whatever Clinton may have been guilty of, he was not guilty of most of what he was charged with, but somehow that didn't slow down the attack very much.

If not a vast right wing conspiracy, there was at least a medium RWC in the works.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 1, 2004 10:17 PM

Chris, what are you talking about?

Until the boomers are senile, dead or take NO for an answer, this country will be divided. The only way for W to unite the country was to give in to everything they wanted and they still wouldn't be happy.

Posted by: Sandy P at September 1, 2004 10:17 PM

Harry: I agree that Clinton probably wasn't recruited to the KGB while in Moscow during his time at Oxford and didn't have Vince Foster killed. Other than that, what was he charged with that he wasn't guilty of?

Posted by: David Cohen at September 1, 2004 10:44 PM


What's the difference? We all hate somebody--it's our capacity not to act on it that makes us fully human.

Posted by: oj at September 1, 2004 11:40 PM

Smuggling coke into Mena?

Having people bumped off?

Fraudulent conversion?

Appointong that perjured judge (whose name I forget)?

Orrin, I'd disagree. If we hate for good reason, then we ought to act.

True, if, like Nock, you hate for no good reason, mere self-satisfaction of feeling superior, then it would have been better for him not to have acted; but then you have to examine your conscience about whether you want to admire a man who hates for no reason but selfishness.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 3, 2004 2:48 PM

Everyone involved in Whitewater but the Clintons went to jail, including his Lt Governor. If they were investigated because of who they were they dodged prosecution because of who they were.

If we all hate someone and/or group and we all act we have Nature. We're human beings so we control our hate. His feelings about Jews in that excerpt are mild compared to yours about Jews, Christians, Muslims, etc. Not that you're admirable....

Posted by: oj at September 3, 2004 2:57 PM

Entirely different conclusions.

If I hate anyone, it's because he did something I find reprehensible.

Nock hated people because of who their parents were.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 3, 2004 7:28 PM

You find their beliefs reprehensible and worthy of their killing. He didn't say Jews should be killed.

Posted by: oj at September 3, 2004 7:42 PM

Nor did I.

But he said they should be eliminated. No moral difference, as you have pointed out, vis a vis the Germans and the French

Posted by: Harry Eagar at September 4, 2004 3:35 PM

No he didn't.

You've said we should kill all the Muslims and should have killed all the Germans and there seems little doubt that if the Christians were being fed into ovens you'd work the door.

Posted by: oj at September 4, 2004 5:45 PM