Matt Bai’s upcoming New York Times Sunday Magazine cover profile of Chris Christie, New Jersey's attention-getting Republican governor, has its questionable moments, but the overall tone was far more temperate than a teaser the Times used to promote it, featured on the front page of nytimes.com Thursday evening.
The segment of Bai's long story the Times chose to highlight is one that just happens to feed into the liberal complaint that President Ronald Reagan stigmatized welfare recipients as "welfare queens." (Bai's reference to "welfare queens" in the text is milder in context.)
The teaser reads: "The governor of New Jersey became the most celebrated Republican in America by tagging public-sector workers -- especially teachers -- as 21st-century welfare queens."
Paul Krugman’s New York Times column for Friday, “Shock Doctrine, U.S.A.,” used for both headline and text fodder a book of far-left paranoid propaganda by Naomi Klein to push Krugman’s pet idea: That Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker is trying to make a “power grab” in order “to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy.”
Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad -- specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.
The story of the privatization-obsessed Coalition Provisional Authority was the centerpiece of Naomi Klein’s best-selling book “The Shock Doctrine,” which argued that it was part of a broader pattern. From Chile in the 1970s onward, she suggested, right-wing ideologues have exploited crises to push through an agenda that has nothing to do with resolving those crises, and everything to do with imposing their vision of a harsher, more unequal, less democratic society.
Which brings us to Wisconsin 2011, where the shock doctrine is on full display.
A couple of loaded ideological labels made it into Wednesday’s New York Times. On the first page of the National section, Sabrina Tavernise and A.G. Sulzberger (son of Times publisher Arthur Sulzberger Jr.) collaborated on the latest news from Wisconsin: “Thousands March on Capitols as Union Turmoil Spreads.”
But Republicans could also gain, said Gene Beaupre, a political science professor at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Taking a cost-cutting position against unions is part of the mantra for far-right groups like the Tea Party, and not necessarily unpopular.