Oh, the shrillness of it all
My oh my, the civility police certainly are out in force this week against anyone who points out that the Village emperors are strolling around stark naked. We've seen it coming from the centrists already, now the right joins the chorus:
Conservative commentator George Will and former White House aide Mary Matalin both directed pointed remarks at Krugman Sunday that broke with the good-natured banter common among the guests on Sunday political talk shows.
After Krugman called House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's budget a "fake document" and the columnist said he was "amazed that people haven't gotten that," Will unsheathed his verbal sword and went at Krugman.
"I have yet to encounter someone who disagrees with you who you don't think is a knave, or corrupt, or a corrupt knave," Will said, borrowing a phrase founding father Alexander Hamilton used to rail against those unwilling to respect the good faith of their political opponents.
"No, I've got some people," Krugman said, suggesting that some conservatives are indeed intellectually honest.
"Specifics have indeed been offered," Will insisted, referring to Republican budget plans.
That face-off followed a couple of prickly interactions between Matalin and Krugman earlier in the program.
"The Republicans are unable to actually make concrete proposals" about resolving the fiscal cliff, Krugman said, claiming they've failed to offer "any specifics" about how they would rein in the deficit.
Matalin called Krugman's remark "completely mendacious."
"Are you an economist or a polemicist?" she asked with an expression suggesting she found the Princeton professor and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize in economics to be insufferable. "Do you want to talk about economy or do you want to talk about polemics?" she said.
Shrill, very shrill. Someone should have a talk with her about that.
I do have to say that Mary Matalin is an expert on insufferable behavior, having perfected the snarling, dismissive attitude of the right wing thug, so I suppose she does have some standing to accuse others. But it was more than a little bit unpleasant to watch those two vultures descend on Krugman screeching at the top of their lungs.
But hey, he can take it. They were even worse during the runup to the Iraq war so his skin is very thick. But I do think it's telling that we are seeing such an intense response to anyone of the left who suggests that these negotiations might not be coming up roses for their side. Apparently, we are all supposed to be mollified that taxes are going up which, ironically, is what the right has always said was the only thing Democrats cared about. And waddays know? It turns out it's pretty much true. Except now they'll be the tax collectors for the austerity state. Win/win.