June 15, 2006


'Some Democrats' will need identifying (Paul Krugman, 6/15/06, New York Times)

Back in 1971, Russell Baker, the legendary Times columnist, devoted one of his op-ed columns to an interview with Those Who - as in "Those Who snivel and sneer whenever something good is said about America." Back then, Those Who played a major role in politicians' speeches.

Times are different now. There are those who say that Iraq is another Vietnam. But Iraq is a desert, not a jungle, so there. And we rarely hear about Those Who these days. But the Republic faces an even more insidious threat: the Some.

The Some take anti-American positions on a variety of issues. For example, they want to hurt the economy: "Some say, well, maybe the recession should have been deeper," said President Bush in 2003. [...]

Mainly, however, the Some are weak on national security. "There's Some in America who say, 'Well, this can't be true there are still people willing to attack,' " Bush said during a visit to the National Security Agency.

The Some appear to be an important faction within the Democratic Party - a faction that has come out in force since the killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Last week, the online edition of the Washington Times claimed that "Some Democrats" were calling al-Zarqawi's killing a "stunt."

Even some Democrats (not to be confused with Some Democrats) warn about the influence of the Some. "Some Democrats are allergic to the use of force. They still have a powerful influence on the party," said Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution after the 2004 election.

Joe Klein, the Time magazine columnist, went further, declaring that the Democratic Party's "left wing" has a "hate-America tendency."

And when Democratic U.S. Sen. Barack Obama told The New Yorker that Americans "don't believe that the main lesson of the past five years is that America is an evil hegemon," he seemed to be implying that influential members of his party believe just that.

But here is the strange thing: It is hard to figure out who those Some Democrats are.

For example, none of the Democrats quoted by the Washington Times actually called the killing of al-Zarqawi a stunt or said anything to that effect. Klein's examples of people with a "hate-America tendency" were "Michael Moore and many writers at The Nation." That is a grossly unfair characterization, but in any case, since when do a filmmaker who supported Ralph Nader and a magazine's opinion writers constitute a wing of the Democratic Party?

And which Democrats are "allergic to the use of force"?

What a horrible mess we have here trying to sort this one out. One could refute it virtually line-by-line, but that would simply take too much time. Let's pick out some of the more glaring inanities:

* Michael Moore, who Mr. Krugman says is unfairly termed "anti-American," has denied that the insurgents in Iraq are terrorists and has compared them to the Minutemen from the Revolutionary War.

* Mr. Krugman says no Democrat quoted in the Washington Times story called the Zarqawi killing a stunt. The following italicized font was how the Washington Times quoted one Democratic lawmaker: "This is just to cover Bush's [rear] so he doesn't have to answer" for Iraqi civilians being killed by the U.S. military and his own sagging poll numbers, said Rep. Pete Stark, California Democrat. "Iraq is still a mess -- get out."

* The esteemed Mr. Judd has already noted the amusing tendency for many liberals to loudly deny any semi-pacifistic attitudes while, in the next breath, completely confirming that impression. Here's a link in case anybody needs a refresher in that particular political reality.

* Mr. Krugman says that The Nation and Michael Moore do not represent a wing of the Democratic party. Fair enough. How about loyal Democratic voters from states like Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire? A 2003 poll indicated that most of them were largely unconcerned with terrorism or national security issues.

* Of course, we can always quote Mr. Krugman himself, regarding his stated wish that a huge scandal will hit the executive branch so his side can have a chance to win elections again:

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.

Krugman made the comments during a forum, "Books on Bush," at New York University Monday evening. While other authors present [...] directed their fire at the Bush administration, Krugman told the crowd that the president is simply a front man for larger and more sinister forces. [...]

Now, Krugman said, getting rid of George W. Bush is "necessary but not sufficient" to repair the damage done by the right. "The answer, I think, my great hope now, is that we need an enormous unearthing of the scandals that we know have taken place," Krugman said. "We need a mega-Watergate that rocks them back.

Of course, forgetting what one said a few years ago is practically a job requirement for an economist.

Posted by Matt Murphy at June 15, 2006 10:23 PM

Please feel free to post your own refutations of this column -- which, incidentally, is remarkably silly even considering the source.

I should note two things: The political reporter Byron York states that the Democratic voters quoted in the poll mentioned above were involved in the nominating process and only small percentages of them rated homeland security or fighting terrorism as primary concerns (i.e., number one or number two from a list of options). Obviously this group does not include all "loyal Democratic voters" in those states, although I'd be surprised if polls taken of larger subsets of loyal Democratic voters yielded substantially different results.

Also, a re-reading indicates that the term "anti-American" wasn't directly connected to Michael Moore by Mr. Krugman or anybody else he quoted in the column, although it's certainly implied that Michael Moore is part of the large group of Democrats that Mr. Krugman claims is characterized in that fashion. Joe Klein is quoted saying Michael Moore exhibits a "hate-America tendency." Judging from Michael Moore's public statements (both in America and overseas), that seems almost incontestable.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 15, 2006 11:49 PM

Paul Krugman wrote that Enron was "bigger" than 9/11.

My guess is that "most" would think that moonbattery. Probably upwards of 85% of the general public.

And, of course, Krugman cashed his $50,000 check from Enron and was probably impressed by the company's pace-setting style, back in the days of Clinton (1999, I believe).

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 16, 2006 12:17 AM

Who's this "esteemed Mr. Judd" character that Matt speaks of?

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at June 16, 2006 12:59 AM

Jim in Chicago:

I believe that the 'esteemed Mr. Judd' is the evil twin of Orrin Judd. You know, the guy who loves soccer.

Posted by: Fred Jacobsen (San Fran) at June 16, 2006 1:26 AM

It sounds better than "esteemed Mr. Anglosphere" or "esteemed Mr. Violently Anti-Soccer."

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 16, 2006 1:51 AM

Paul Krugman is a silly moonbat. Unfortunately there are too many donkeys that walk in lockstep with this jack ass.

On a side note, I would like to thank you guys for this blog. It has become my favorite. I am very impressed on how prolific, consistent and entertaining it is.

Posted by: Jay Ostrander at June 16, 2006 6:13 AM

The real issue is that few politicians on either side seems to know enough about war and history to be a good war leader.

The one quality that everyone seems to lack is an understanding of how to maintain morale during wartime. Although the situation in Vietnam and Iraq is very different, I believe that essentially George W. Bush and Rumsefeld is making the same mistakes as LBJ and McNamara - treating the war too much as a technocratic exercise, not mobilizing the populace, and excessive claims that victory is around the corner that has destroyed their credibility.

Strangely for me, the only President who seemed to have done a good job of that was the first Bush. Although he made severe mistakes in how he ended the war, his prosecution was superb and kept the country very united. Future Presidents would do well to study how he (and others) did that.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at June 16, 2006 12:57 PM


The way he did it was simple. The media supported him and wrote the truth about what was going on. The MSM of today forgot how to do that. All they know how to do is print anything that is anti-Bush and under the circumstances precisely how do you expect the government to get the message out? Unless the government takes over some of the media so that they can report their version of the truth. Without that, then we just have to hope that the troops keep supporting the president and the population of Iraq, Afghanistan, and the majority of the country continue supporting the troops. Krugman, Herbert and the rest of the Pinch Sulzberger crew are doing all they can to bring this president down and will do anything to do that regardless of what it does to the country.

I really do wish Krugman and Herbert would try to prove all the statements they spout. When they fail, and they surely would fail, then maybe the country will have a chance to win this war and beat the terrorists.

Posted by: dick at June 16, 2006 3:55 PM


Did you see the 'debate' between Krugman and Bill O'Reilly (on some show like Russert's)? Krugman stumbled all over the place and looked terrified most of the time. Bill was angry and it showed (most of the time). At one point, I thought Krugman was going to dive under the table.

Those guys from the Times won't go anywhere they might get challenged - they are too scared. They stay in Manhattan and expect oohs and aahs.

Pinch must feel that he is saving the world, because he is destroying his newspaper.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 16, 2006 4:44 PM

Actually, the "Esteemed Mr. Judd" is the owner of a vanity blog with pretensions of impartiality, where 90% of the content, like his book, is someone else's words, and where the comments are edited or deleted to prevent anyone saying anything cleverer than he, or making any arguments contrary to his prejudices better than his.

One must speak very, very well of such a host if one wishes to stay a poster on said blog.

Posted by: Ptah at June 16, 2006 5:44 PM



* There are no -- repeat no -- pretensions of impartiality.

* Most of the content is someone else's words because OJ knows blogs where people simply talk about themselves are frequently boring. This isn't the celebrity circuit.

* People say clever things and OJ keeps them up all the time. Most of the stuff he deletes is offensive. And when he deleted a Robert Schwartz comment some time ago that struck me as relatively mild, Mr. Schwartz emailed some BroJudd posters to let them know he was quitting the blog. I emailed OJ and let him know I thought deleting his comment was a bad move.

* I called him the "esteemed Mr. Judd" because I think he's a good guy and I wanted to be polite.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 16, 2006 8:52 PM


By the way, your post is still up, isn't it?

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 16, 2006 8:53 PM

Matt: I assumed you called him the esteemed Mr. Judd to yank his chain.

Posted by: David Cohen at June 16, 2006 9:54 PM

David Cohen:

Well, a little of that too. Note my earlier defense of myself in post #5. ;-)

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 16, 2006 11:27 PM

*sighs* I'm a programmer who used to use Moveable Type for my own blog: individual authors use separate log-ins, and receive e-mail copies of comments to their articles. Other authors don't get e-mailed, so Orrin would not get an e-mail of my comment in THIS post, which was written by you. And unless he has your password, he can't come in and delete that, or any other comments made on posts that he DID NOT post, like the ones I've done here. He won't know about these comments unless he reads this in the same way I do. With comments on his own posts, I've seen him remove them within five minutes.

His edits are a bit more pernicious: he'll edit a comment to make the commenter look dumber or more of a racist, or blunt the force of it to make it easier for him to answer. Do I have proof? Yes, I do, and when I hinted on how I got it, I was temporarily banned.

Were they offensive? Depends on your definition of offensive, but I'd rate Orrin as Islamist in what he calls offensive. I'd be glad to show them to you. I just wish I had the time to post them, with commentary, on my own website.

Posted by: Ptah at June 16, 2006 11:31 PM

By islamist, I mean having a low tolerance for anything that makes him look less than brilliantly witty and clever.

Posted by: Ptah at June 16, 2006 11:34 PM

I had wondered what happened to Robert S.

The problem with arguing (with the proprietor) in these comments isn't that stuff gets deleted or altered - it's more that people believe that they can really change his mind. Somebody who blogs is very unlikely to say "I was wrong". I think I have seen a mild version of that statement twice in roughly 2.5 years here, which is more than for almost any other blog I read. Some, like Captain Ed or people like Lorie Byrd, apologize when they make factual errors in their analysis, but Orrin doesn't post like they do. Others, like the lamentable PoliPundit, just screech when challenged. Orrin doesn't do that, either. He one-lines 'em to death.

Of course, if a commenter is grinding his own ax, that isn't going to help matters. I think we can all can recognize people in our lives who remind us of the more strident commenters here.

Posted by: jim hamlen at June 17, 2006 12:13 AM


He ought to know my password, since he sent it to me when he first invited me to sign up and post articles, and I've never changed it.

I know that OJ occasionally edits stuff in the ways you mention. I haven't always agreed with this but he's always been upfront about it.

M email is:


You can certainly send me anything you want to.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at June 17, 2006 2:51 AM

*bows* thank you Matt. I am rather occupied at the moment and will need a few days to not only upload the evidence, but stitch together a commentary to explain it and put it in context. I had premonitions that I should have done that earlier, but I am still in the learning stage of getting used to newly acquired capabilities, and continue to blunder on when I should pause and reconsider.

For instance, I overrode that premonition when I typed in the word "impartiality": I confess to feeling rushed when I typed that in, because I had relatives just arrive. After sleeping on it, I feel that the word "tolerance" was a better word, but probably still not the best. But I stand by the "vanity" word: there are many ways people stroke their egos, only one of which is writing a blog about oneself.

Posted by: Ptah at June 17, 2006 7:05 AM

Oh, and change your password: Until you said you didn't change it, he would have assumed you did. Now he knows.

But then again, he'll hardly delete it now, since you embedded a reference to it. Deleting it, without changing YOUR comment, would cue people into realizing something was up, because you referenced a comment that wasn't deleted, but there'd be no record of that comment, meaning that the deletion HAD taken place.

And thanks for that link to the policy on comments: I was looking for one on the masthead when I first suspected he was deleting comments, and was wondering if I HAD violated a guideline.

Posted by: Ptah at June 17, 2006 7:16 AM