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Krugman tries the race card
Posted by: McQ on Monday, June 09, 2008

Paul Krugman resorts to some rather specious history in an attempt to lay racism at the feet of the right.

Krugman today notes that some feel the election of Barack Obama to the presidency would transform America.

Not so, says Krugman. Instead there's something else at work:
Mr. Obama’s nomination wouldn’t have been possible 20 years ago. It’s possible today only because racial division, which has driven U.S. politics rightward for more than four decades, has lost much of its sting.

And the de-racialization of U.S. politics has implications that go far beyond the possibility that we’re about to elect an African-American president. Without racial division, the conservative message — which has long dominated the political scene — loses most of its effectiveness.
Wow. I'm still trying to remember the Republican governors who stood at the doorways of schools refusing to let blacks enter. I'm still trying to remember the Republican southern Senators who voted as a bloc a number of times to deny blacks civil rights and continually filibustered all such attempts. And for whatever reason, the name of the Republican Senator who was an officer in the KKK escapes my memory.

And who was that Democratic president who sent the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock to ensure black students were admitted? Isn't he the same president that introduced a civil rights bill only to see Republican Senators block its passage?

Of course, if unlike Krugman, you're actually aware of the fact that I've sarcastically placed the wrong party in all of those examples, then it should be clear that the "conservative message" hasn't hinged on "racialism" at all.

I mean, who was it that LBJ purposely thanked for the passage of the 1964 civil rights bill (which Sen. Robert Byrd filibustered for 14 straight hours), because without their overwhelming support Democrats would have defeated it?

The conservative message, as I understand it, has hinged upon the concept of limited government, less spending and less intrusion. What this present crop of Republicans has done is abandon all pretense of being for those conservative principles. That is why the Republicans are in decline - and certainly not because "racialism" has lost its sting.

However, like the rather crude attempt by Oliver Willis, Krugman too is bound and determined to make this upcoming general election about race - even if he has to make up a little history to do so.

In reality, racial politics, as demonstrated for all to see in the just ended Democratic primary, is the almost the exclusive realm of left. One only had to sit back and watch an exclusively Democratic event descend into competing camps each claiming the other was employing racism or sexism in their campaign. You should expect no better from Democrats in the general election. It is an integral part of the "cult of the victim" ideology.

Willis and Krugman represent the first shots in the "framing the debate" wars. And as is evident, there is no sordid depth of "argument" to which they won't resort.

So when you see arguments like this...
If Ronald Reagan and other politicians succeeded, for a time, in convincing voters that government spending was bad, it was by suggesting that bureaucrats were taking away workers’ hard-earned money and giving it to you-know-who: the “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy T-bone steaks, the welfare queen driving her Cadillac. Take away the racial element, and Americans like government spending just fine.
... you need to remind them that there is a certain element of America that doesn't care what or who wasteful spending is lavished upon. They still see it as wasteful spending and want less of it. And that has nothing to do with race, sex or creed, but instead a principled opposition to the expansion of government.

The job for conservatives (and libertarians) is threefold - slap idiocy like this down whenever you see it, defend conservative principles and insist those who seek your votes do more than just promise to follow those principles. Make sure they implement them.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Yeah, yeah Krugman is exaggerating. This isn’t new.

But let’s not fool ourselves: there’s a contingent of people out there who vote Republican because they’re racist. They’re not representative of your average Republican, and they’re got their counterparts on the left, but they oppose government intervention not out of a desire for freedom but out of a fear of seeing ’the minorities’ get their money.

As for Eisenhower forcing integration, I truly do like and respect the man but he was a bit cool on the civil rights movement. He was not opposed, but his priorities were elsewhere. You could read his actions for desegregation as more of a government centralization issue than a rights issue: when states argued they didn’t have to abide by Brown v Board, the federal government asserted control over them.

Let’s be honest: racism isn’t partisan; all sides have their racist component. Krugman IS partisan, and is trying to present a worldview that’s not borne out by either history or popular sentiment.
Written By: Zeno
It is amazing to me to see the cause racial divide being laid at the doorstep of the Republican Party. When I have heard this, I have reminded people that Lincoln was a Republican and that 100% of the Senate Republicans voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - as opposed to 35% of Senate Democrats. That it was Democratic governors Orvall Faubus, Lester Maddox and George Wallace that stood in the doors of schools refusing to allow blacks to enter. When I remind people of history they look at me as if I were from Mars (close - I’m from Arkansas). So it doesn’t surprise me to see someone like Krugman try and rewrite history in order to gain political points in todays electoral process. And he won’t be the last to print such crap - he’s just the beginning.
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
I like the slight of hand exhibited here - conservative becomes "Republican" and then you run with the ball down the field.
Written By: Oliver Willis
Well, Oliver—and it’s "sleight" not "slight"—since Krugman is writing in the context of Obama’s nomination, clearly by he is talking about Democrats and Republicans. How else can that be interpreted. Are you suggesting that he is referring to all of the conservative Democrats out there?
Written By: the wolf
URL: http://
Keep accusing anyone not marching lockstep with your messiah of being racist. That sort of message goes down reeeeeeeal smooth pally.

Written By: shark
URL: http://
I like the slight of hand exhibited here - conservative becomes "Republican" and then you run with the ball down the field.
Since, like Krugman, you’re an obvious history buff, and since this topic has to do with politics, tell me within what other modern political party conservatives have resided and dominated?

Written By: McQ
conservative becomes "Republican"
Well GEEZ Oliver, you know all about this ’code words’ thing don’t you?

Written By: looker
URL: http://
Well GEEZ Oliver, you know all about this ’code words’ thing don’t you?
he can only hear the racist dog whistles
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
I think I can make a pretty strong case that the country was ready to elect a black man as president in 1996: Colin Powell. A Republican, mind you. The short version is, he was an immensely popular man, with huge name recognition combined with high positives; his appeal was so broad that he could have peeled away a good number of Democrats. Bill Clinton knew it; he was looking over his shoulder for years and breathed a sigh of relief when he had to face Bob Dole instead.

Though in the end, Powell declined to run for PotUS, the fact of his wide popularity and party affiliation should throw a wrench in any claim that Republicans (or conservatives) can’t bring themselves to support a black man — or vice versa, for that matter.

The rah-rah effort to "Draft Condi" (both for Prez and VP) — despite her having no experience running for elected office, despite her close association with deeply unpopular George W. Bush, despite her being a single woman, and despite her stating over and over again that she did not want the presidency — should be another pile of ammunition to use against the spurious claim. My impression is that she has high positives with conservatives.

Remember those stubborn facts next time someone makes that claim.

There might be some tactical advantage in ignoring the huge numbers of conservatives who demonstrably really only care about a candidate’s beliefs and principles (and résumé). But I sense that they’re fooling themselves more than they’re fooling anyone else.
Written By: Bryan Pick
Now, you know damn well Oliver doesn’t consider Condi a "black" person. As a Republican, by definition, she cannot be an authentic black. This is a given and is not negotiable. You begin the argument at a deficit.
Written By: rob
URL: http://
But McQ, there were all those Democrat Senators and Representives that voted against the CRA and then switched parties and became Republicans when the CRA passed. For example Strom Thurmond and... um... er... uhh... well Strom Thurmond and... only Strom Thurmond.

Written By: anonymous
URL: http://
But McQ, there were all those Democrat Senators and Representives that voted against the CRA
Don’t forget the hallowed saint of the Democratic Party Al Gore’s father who, along with Byrd, filibustered long and hard to stop the CRA.

How does Willis sit with that? Oh yeah, Soros pays well for ignoring your principles.
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
McQ: They were Democrats. Conservative Democrats were the keepers of institutional racism in the past. I’ve never denied that. I’ve never whitewashed that history. Conservative Democrats were the racists, then they became the Dixiecrats and then they became Republicans.
Written By: Oliver Willis
Let’s see

Racist Democrat Party Leadership = Disenfranchised Racist Voters who Presumably Vote Republican now.

Umm... no.

Racism was part of the Democrat Party policy. Its not the same thing as gaining a few angry strays.
Written By: jpm100
URL: http://
I have noticed this revisionist history from the left for a long time. They are pretty good at it. I bet if you would ask young people "which party opposed integration" they would answer Ronald Reagan and the Republicans.

I have also had young people tell me Huey Long was a Republican (after all, he was a home grown fascist and thus must be Republican.)

And Oliver is trying to confuse me by claiming the racists all transferred to the Republican party. That is very doubtful since racism can just as easily be present in people who vote Democrat. You can’t imagine there are probably just as many racist whites voting for the Dems because they want free healthcare or out of Iraq, etc.? Then you need to get out more.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Oh, when I went to Wikipedia to check on Huey Long, they didn’t have his party affiliation. So I edited it to say he was a Democrat. Wikipedia actually put a hold on that edit for a while until wiser heads prevailed....uh, yeah, I guess we can’t get around historical facts.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Conservative Democrats were the racists, then they became the Dixiecrats and then they became Republicans.
Nice try, but quite a few of them remained Democrats.
Written By: Steverino
URL: http://
" Conservative Democrats were the racists, then they became the Dixiecrats and then they became Republicans."

I guess that is why Massachusetts is a Republican stronghold now.
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Oliver Willis, why did a vast majority of black people select Obama over Clinton in the Dem primaries? Are they sexist, racist, or both?
Written By: Grimshaw
URL: http://

Yeah, there are no racists in the Democratic Party. Just anti-semites.
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
It’s a big tent Oliver, get used to the idea that the guy standing next to you now may secretly be wishing for his ’good old days’ when you’d have to stand in the other, equally big of course, tent.

Stop kidding yourself.
Racism, like stupidity, knows no political, ethnic, religious, or racial boundaries.

You may be like Kryptonite to Stupid, but you’re not Kryptonite to self delusion if you think racists only vote Republican.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Krugman’s argument is thoroughly debunked here.
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
"I guess that is why Massachusetts is a Republican stronghold now."
{nod} I know. And Boston’s always been such a beacon of racial harmony, too.
Written By: Billy Beck
URL: http://www.two—
Ah yes

Ted Kennedy’s Boston

No racists there in the Democrat stronghold by the banks of the River Charles.
Written By: looker
URL: http://
To paraphrase Krugman:

Without envy and resentment, a widespread ignorance of economics and a desire to be cared for and fed by Mommy State, the liberal message loses almost of its effectiveness.
Written By: Bilwick
URL: http://

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