Respected economist turned New York Times Democratic hack columnist Paul Krugman bizarrely went after his media colleagues again for being too hard on Hillary Clinton, in his Monday column “Trump’s Fellow Travelers.” He also warned anti-Trump conservatives that unless they actively support Hillary Clinton, they are "profiles in cowardice" and that "you need to vote for Mrs. Clinton." Columnist Charles Blow chimed in with a pathetic defense of Hillary's smearing of her husband's victims.
Donald Trump has just had an extraordinarily bad week, and Hillary Clinton an extraordinarily good one; betting markets now put Mrs. Clinton’s odds of winning almost as high as they were just after the Democratic convention. But both Mrs. Clinton’s virtues and Mr. Trump’s vices have been obvious all along. How, then, did the race manage to get so close on the eve of the debate?
A lot of the answer, I’ve argued, lies in the behavior of the news media, which spent the month before the first debate jeering at Mrs. Clinton, portraying minor missteps as major sins and inventing fake scandals out of thin air. But let us not let everyone else off the hook. Mr. Trump couldn’t have gotten as far as he has without the support, active or de facto, of many people who understand perfectly well what he is and what his election would mean, but have chosen not to take a stand.
Let’s start with the Republican political establishment, which is supporting Mr. Trump just as if he were a normal presidential nominee.
Krugman has a list of those guilty of supporting an incorrect candidate and promised to brandish it after his preferred candidate won:
I’ve had a lot of critical things to say about Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, and Paul Ryan, the speaker of the House. One thing of which I would never accuse them, however, is stupidity....And they should not be allowed to flush the fact of their Trump support down the memory hole when the election is behind us.
This goes in particular for Mr. Ryan, who has received extraordinarily favorable press treatment over the years -- portrayed as an honest, serious policy wonk with a sincere concern for fiscal probity. This reputation was never deserved; his policy proposals have always been obvious flimflam. But in the past, criticisms of Mr. Ryan depended on pointing out hard stuff, like the fact that his numbers didn’t add up. Now it can be made much simpler: Every time he’s held up as an example of seriousness, remember that when it mattered, he backed Donald Trump.
It’s not good enough not to vote for Trump, Krugman actually demanded, authoritarian-style, that conservatives vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton.
But if you think that electing Mr. Trump would be a disaster, shouldn’t you be urging your fellow Americans to vote for his opponent, even if you don’t like her? After all, not voting for Mrs. Clinton -- whether you don’t vote at all, or make a purely symbolic vote for a third-party candidate -- is, in effect, giving half a vote to Mr. Trump.
....But there have also been many who balked at doing the right thing; when Henry Kissinger and George Schultz piously declared that they were not going to endorse anyone, it was a profile in cowardice.
And the response from sane Republican economists has been especially disappointing. Only charlatans and cranks have endorsed Mr. Trump, but only a handful have risen to the occasion and been willing to say that if keeping him out of the White House is important, you need to vote for Mrs. Clinton.
I'm sure all those conservatives who hang on the good opinion of Paul Krugman will heed his wise advice.
Then Krugman played the reliable Hitler card against Trump, while taking yet another shot at the hard-left Bernie Sanders supporters not on board the Clinton train.
Finally, it’s dismaying to see the fecklessness of those on the left supporting third-party candidates. A few seem to believe in the old doctrine of social fascism -- better to see the center-left defeated by the hard right, because that sets the stage for a true progressive revolution. That worked out wonderfully in 1930s Germany.
Karol Markowicz at The Daily Beast had Krug’s number in an August 5 essay:
In 2012, Krugman called Mitt Romney a “charlatan,” pathologically dishonest, and untrustworthy. He said Romney doesn’t even pretend to care about poor people and wants people to die so that the rich could get richer. Romney is “completely amoral,” “a dangerous fool,” “ignorant as well as uncaring.”
In March, Krugman had a column called “Clash of Republican Con Artists.” In it, he called Trump’s foreign policy more reasonable than that of Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz and said he’s just as terrified of either of those men in the White House as he is of Trump. He wrote: “In fact, you have to wonder why, exactly, the Republican establishment is really so horrified by Mr. Trump. Yes, he’s a con man, but they all are. So why is this con job different from any other?”
Yet a few weeks ago Krugman wondered how Republicans could rally around Trump “just as if he were a normal candidate.” It was exactly Krugman who normalized him! What makes Donald Trump normal to so many is that they’ve heard all the hysteria from people like Krugman before...
In Charles Blow’s adjacent column, “Donald Trump: Terroristic Man-Toddler,” his very personal Trump-bashing was hooked to a pathetic defense of a supposedly naïve, broken-hearted Hillary Clinton who understandably if regrettably lashed out emotionally at her husband’s sex victims.
Last week CNN obtained Trump campaign talking points which instructed his supporters to bring up Bill Clinton’s sexual scandals as an attack on Hillary.
I think Trump is falling into a trap here. I think in his anger and haste he is severely underestimating the empathy people have for a betrayed spouse, who might, in misdirected anger, blame the victim, believe the unbelievable, and grant unearned forgiveness. Love makes people do crazy things, and a broken heart isn’t a physical wound but a psychic, spiritual one. It hurts like hell and people often respond in ways that are less than honorable, but ultimately understandable.
Siccing detective Jack Palladino to vengefully pry into women’s sex lives, and boasting that she would “crucify” Clinton paramour Gennifer Flowers in court aren’t emotional outbursts but the cool, cruel calculating moves of a life-time politician.