I Expect Better of Mr. Krugman

Friday, August 04, 2006

I am very disappointed in my favorite New York Times columnist, Paul Krugman, this morning. He seems to be pitching for Kos's team today. In the most wrong-headed column it has ever been my displeasure to read under his byline, he has taken up the cause of attacking the Sierra Club for not being partisan hacks. This is one Krugman column that should probably stay behind the wall, but here's a peek anyway. After listing detailed examples of glaringly idiotic and self-defeating acts of blind party support from right-leaning organizations, Krugman writes:

It’s possible that the federation’s leadership has been misled by Heritage Foundation propaganda. But it’s more likely that, like the chamber, the federation believes that its interests are best served by acting as a loyal servant of the Republican electoral effort. And both organizations are probably right.

Now compare this with the behavior of advocacy groups like the Sierra Club, the environmental organization, and Naral, the abortion-rights group, both of which have endorsed Senator Lincoln Chafee, Republican of Rhode Island, for re-election. The Sierra Club’s executive director defended the Chafee endorsement by saying, “We choose people, not parties.” And it’s true that Mr. Chafee has usually voted with environmental groups.

But while this principle might once have made sense, it’s just na├»ve today. Given both the radicalism of the majority party’s leadership and the ruthlessness with which it exercises its control of the Senate, Mr. Chafee’s personal environmentalism is nearly irrelevant when it comes to actual policy outcomes; the only thing that really matters for the issues the Sierra Club cares about is the “R” after his name.

In other words the Sierra Club should be idiotic and self-defeating, too. Great plan.

I have written extensively, on this issue, in response to Kos's endless bloviating.

This morning I wrote to Mr. Krugman as well. Here is the text, which may or may not appear on their feedback page.

I never expected such an idiotic column from my favorite New York Times columnist. I'm very disappointed. So your plan is that the Sierra Club should be as cynical and unprincipled as any nakedly partisan right wing hack? And in this way, we will somehow restore dignity to the process? Let's pretend for a moment that Democrats don't share substantial responsibility for the current mess; that they haven't dropped the ball every time it mattered and been complicit in enabling the same corpororate-sponsored, military-industrial-complex controlled agenda. Even so do you really think it serves anyone for issue groups to play the same shameless game the right wing is? If you think getting behind a bunch of weak-kneed Democrats by co-opting the methods of moral cowardice perfected by the authoritarian right is the answer, you're just drinking a different flavor of Kool-aid.


David Willett said...

Carl Pope has a reponse to Krugman's piece here:


Curmudgette said...

Thanks for the link, David. Good for Carl Pope. Integrity is in short supply these days.