Krugman, Again

It will be a little while yet before I can get back to blogging regularly. But as a way of flexing my atrophying blogging muscles, let me direct your attention to another superlative column from Paul Krugman:

What’s particularly saddening is the way many Obama supporters seem happy with the application of “Clinton rules” — the term a number of observers use for the way pundits and some news organizations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent.

The prime example of Clinton rules in the 1990s was the way the press covered Whitewater. A small, failed land deal became the basis of a multiyear, multimillion-dollar investigation, which never found any evidence of wrongdoing on the Clintons’ part, yet the “scandal” became a symbol of the Clinton administration’s alleged corruption.

During the current campaign, Mrs. Clinton’s entirely reasonable remark that it took L.B.J.’s political courage and skills to bring Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to fruition was cast as some kind of outrageous denigration of Dr. King.

And the latest prominent example came when David Shuster of MSNBC, after pointing out that Chelsea Clinton was working for her mother’s campaign — as adult children of presidential aspirants often do — asked, “doesn’t it seem like Chelsea’s sort of being pimped out in some weird sort of way?” Mr. Shuster has been suspended, but as the Clinton campaign rightly points out, his remark was part of a broader pattern at the network.

Go read the whole thing. Then go read The Howler for further commentary.


  1. #1 Brian
    February 11, 2008

    I guess it only goes to show, liberals can dish it out but they can’t take it.

  2. #2 gwangung
    February 11, 2008

    Sorry, but my experience has been the exact opposite. Lots of shrill Clinton supporters who don’t make a lot of sense.

    Perhaps both of us should find a better class of acquaintences.

  3. #3 Jim
    February 11, 2008

    Your hand-waving generalization is breathtaking in its absurdity. All one has to do is watch one of the talking heads for Fox News “interview” someone from the left to see the anti-corollary to your statement; as in the recent segment with Shepard Smith “interviewing” Naomi Wolf.

  4. #4 Jonathan Lubin
    February 11, 2008

    Well, I guess I lean towards Obama, but it rather ticks me off that even on NPR, they refer to Senator Obama as “Obama”, while they refer to Senator Clinton as “Hillary”. What’s going on here?

  5. #5 Jason Rosenhouse
    February 11, 2008

    I’m supporting Hillary Clinton, but I have no particular problem with Barack Obama. The part of Krugman’s column that I really liked was his acknowledgement of how unfair the media is in their treatment of the Clintons.

  6. #6 SLC
    February 11, 2008

    As I have previously stated, liberal hatred of Senator Clinton may even exceed conservative hatred. I would suggest perusing Matthew Yglesias’ blog; every time he posts something about Senator Clinton, the negative comments from self-described liberals rival anything said by scum like Sean Hannity or Bill O’Reilly. Just to give readers a flavor, I am posting a link to one thread on that blog. The vitriol against her is unbelievable (by the way, I am not planning to vote for either Senator Clinton or Senator Obame tomorrow, although I would vote for either of them in the general election, as I think that neither of them have much of a chance in the general election; IMHO, the country is not yet ready for a black or female president).

  7. #7 spurge
    February 11, 2008


    What exactly do anonymous comments on a blog have to do with the fact that media pundits constantly take cheap shots at the Clintons.

  8. #8 bsci
    February 11, 2008

    The big weirdness of Krugman’s article is that he blames Obama and Obama supports for some of the anti-Clinton stuff, but doesn’t give an example of anyone remote affiliated with Obama doing any of this stuff.

    And this was written on the same day as Hillary said that, of course Barak would win Louisiana since so many black people live there. I usually like Krugman, but he’s the one with the strange double standard recently.

  9. #9 SLC
    February 11, 2008

    Re spurge

    “SLC What exactly do anonymous comments on a blog have to do with the fact that media pundits constantly take cheap shots at the Clintons.”

    Perhaps, as Mr. spurge says, it’s a stretch to compare anonymous comments on a blog with the Right Wing Rethuglican smear machine. However, for liberal smearing of the Clintons in the media, how about Maureen Dowd and Frank Rich of the New York Times? The snarkiness of those clowns is just as bad as the smears of Hannity and O’Reilly.

  10. #10 Chris Bell
    February 11, 2008

    I won’t try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody.

    I normally like Krugman, but this is terrible journalism. Most of the ones I see….

    There are millions of Obama supporters you dolt, including me. I’m sure the vast majority of them will support Hillary if she is the nominee, again including me.

    I’m sorry if your six pro-Obama friends are not as nice as you would like them to be. In the meantime, cry me a river.

    The rest of the article was fine, but Krugman has been pissing me off with shoddy comments like this. I mean, an economist of all people should be able to recognize the difference between the actions of a few people and a general trend.

  11. #11 SLC
    February 12, 2008

    Re Chris Bell

    Are Mr. Krugmans’ comments about Senator Obama any worse the Maureen Dowds’ and Frank Richs’ comments about Senator Clinton?

  12. #12 Jim
    February 12, 2008

    Maureen Dowd is nothing more than a gossip columnist. It should not be the chore of the left to apologize for her — that is a job for the back-fence lobby.

  13. #13 SLC
    February 12, 2008

    Re Jim

    But Ms. Dowd is treated as if she were a serious columnist by the Times which places her on the editorial page. A gossip columnist on the august Newspaper of Record, the New York Times? Surely Mr. Jim jests (snark). Just as an aside, the Times endorsed Senator Clintons’ opponent in her initial 2000 run.

  14. #14 Gerry L
    February 12, 2008

    Disclaimer: I will vote for either Obama or Clinton — whoever gets the nom. If it’s still in play on May 20 when the OR primaries are held … I don’t know who’ll get my vote.

    But I get the Krugman piece. Every morning on the local Air America (progressive) talk radio program, callers bash Clinton. Say they’ll sit out the election rather than vote for her. I keep hearing from people I know: “If Clinton is the nominee, I’ll vote for McCain.” A letter to the Oregonian last week said the same thing. No facts about why 4 more years of republicans would be better than Clinton. Just feeling. Invective. Although I’m not a Hillary cheerleader, I really hate the idea of letting the right wing noise machine determine who we can run for president.

    My response to these kool-aid drinkers is two words: SUPREME COURT.

  15. #15 trrll
    February 13, 2008

    I voted for Obama in the primary, but I agree that the vitriol directed against Hillary Clinton is entirely out of proportion with reality. It is so far out of proportion with any real complaints against her: she kind of botched the Clinton administration’s shot at health care reform (but could anybody have taken the insurance lobby back then?), she tried to put her own people in the White House travel office, she says that she was the last to know about Bill Clinton’s infidelity. These are high crimes? I voted against her in the primary because I can’t excuse her vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq; I think that anybody paying attention should have known better–but that would hardly be justification for voting for McCain. But I can’t see the anger directed against her as anything other than a manifestation of prejudice against a strong, ambitious woman in American politics. It is interesting that at this point in US history, anti-woman prejudice seems to be more corrosive even than racism.

  16. #16 Jim
    February 13, 2008

    Doonesbury is usually placed in the comics section of newspapers yet many people believe it to be much better news reporting than “serious” news, or more insightful than editorials. Just because the NY Times gives Dowd a serious spot doesn’t mean we should take their cue.

  17. #17 Tyler DiPietro
    February 13, 2008

    “…as I think that neither of them have much of a chance in the general election; IMHO, the country is not yet ready for a black or female president…”

    I don’t know if that’s true, but if it is, that says something. As Chris Rock put it, we’ve already had a retarded one.

  18. #18 Eric Thomson
    February 14, 2008

    Jonathan Lubin wrote:
    “on NPR, they refer to Senator Obama as “Obama”, while they refer to Senator Clinton as “Hillary”. What’s going on here?”

    I have seen this mentioned before as if there were some underlying sexism, but I think there’s a more boring explanation. That’s what they call themselves. Barack Obama’s signs are all about ‘Obama’, while Hillary Clinton’s signs all are about ‘Hillary.’ It is understandable Hillary started by avoiding the use of the last name. This made it easier to see her as separate from Bill.

    On the poor choice of words for her MLK=Obama speech, that was Hillary’s fault: what she said was naturally interpreted as slighting MLKs contribution to the civil rights movement.

    Here is what she said:
    “I would point to the fact that that Dr. King’s dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, when he was able to get through Congress something that President Kennedy was hopeful to do, the President before had not even tried, but it took a president to get it done. That dream became a reality, the power of that dream became a reality in people’s lives because we had a president who said we are going to do it, and actually got it accomplished.

    I could see being offended by that. She was taking a jab at Obama for being all talk and no experience, for offering false hope. To bring up MLK to make that point, and say that it took Johnson (a white male president) to get it done, is stupid.

    Even worse for Clinton, the media only tended to quote the bold part, often prefacing it with things like “On the contributions of MLK to the civil rights movement, Clinton said, “BOLD PART HERE”. Ouch.

    I blame her for offering a quote like that, and her damage control should have been much more swift and decisive. She handled it badly from the original statement to the damage control.

    A large proportion of the public hates the Clintons. Amongst many moderates and conservatives there is a visceral reflexive dislike of the Clintons that I frankly don’t understand, but it is there, and its authenticity and depth is not understood by people who don’t spend much time with conservatives.

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