NYT's Krugman: Bullying, Cowardly Right Wing Is All About Panic Over Paris Terrorism

November 20th, 2015 9:40 PM

Why do right-wingers "panic "over the terrorist attacks in Paris, the Ebola epidemic, and Obama-care? Because they're bullies and cowards, Paul Krugman explained in his Friday column, "The Farce Awakens." While the news pages of the New York Times have been relatively sober in the aftermath of the attacks by radical Islamists in Paris, Krugman has been his same old nastily sarcastic self, to the sole benefit of his equally smug leftist devotees.

Waving the bloody shirt of Paris yet again, Krugman coolly mocked RedState.com editor Erick Erickson for expressing fear of seeing Star Wars on opening day because of President Obama's failure to take the terror threat seriously:

It’s a bizarre reaction -- but when you think about it, it’s part of a larger pattern. These days, panic attacks after something bad happens are the rule rather than the exception, at least on one side of the political divide.

Consider first the reaction to the Paris attacks. Lightsabers aside, are Mr. Erickson’s fears any sillier than those of the dozens of governors -- almost all Republicans -- who want to ban Syrian refugees from their states?

Accusing a political opponent of "panic attacks" is awfully big talk, from a man who embraces leftist political paranoia from the likes of conspiracist Naomi Klein. Even a liberal fan, New Yorker writer Benjamin Wallace-Wells, found "a little bit of maybe-there’s-a-bomb-in-the-wastebasket zeal" in Krugman's writings. In other words, the Nobel Winner turned Democratic hack is kind of paranoid:

There are times, however, when the consequences of Krugman’s perspective, the darkness of his view of American politics, come into view. In the health-care-reform debate, he saw evidence of 'racial hate-mongering.' When the crazed assassin Jared Loughner shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords in January, Krugman saw intimations of a broader disorder to come. 'The harshness and the incipient violence are very real,' he told me....In his 2007 book The Conscience of a Liberal, Krugman was plainer still: 'Yes, Virginia,' he wrote, 'there is a vast right-wing conspiracy.'

Back to Krugman's Friday rant, still in mocking mode:

But we shouldn’t really be surprised, because we’ve seen this movie before (unless we were too scared to go to the theater). Remember the great Ebola scare of 2014? The threat of a pandemic, like the threat of a terrorist attack, was real. But it was greatly exaggerated, thanks in large part to hype from the same people now hyping the terrorist danger.

What’s more, the supposed “solutions” were similar, too, in their combination of cruelty and stupidity....

What explains the modern right’s propensity for panic? Part of it, no doubt, is the familiar point that many bullies are also cowards. But I think it’s also linked to the apocalyptic mind-set that has developed among Republicans during the Obama years.


Who, exactly, are these serious candidates? And why would the establishment, which has spent years encouraging the base to indulge its fears and reject nuance, now expect that base to understand the difference between tough talk and actual effectiveness?


The point is that at this point panic is what the right is all about, and the Republican nomination will go to whoever can most effectively channel that panic. Will the same hold true in the general election? Stay tuned.