Mark Thoma Is Puzzled by Endorsements of David Brooks's Last Column
Power in Baghdad

An Historical Document: Peter Beinart of the New Republic Tells Paul Krugman to Sit Down and Stay in His Proper Chair

Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? Peter Beinart on Paul Krugman: October 5, 2003:

Peter Beinart: Krugman tries to harness his columns into one overarching argument about the Bush presidency... [as] a "revolutionary power"... that wants to replace the post-New Deal order.... But to make his case, Krugman has to do more than merely dissect the administration's policies; he has to explain its motives and culture. And here Krugman's unconventional background becomes a liability. He criticizes Washington reporters for being prisoners of their sources, and the dinner-party-going "commentariat" for succumbing to groupthink. But guest lists that cross ideological lines can help liberals understand the conservatives they write about. And many Washington conservatives genuinely don't see the Bush administration as radical: they see it as having ratified a big-spending, culturally-liberal status quo....

Krugman's assumptions about the administration's motives are most problematic on foreign policy. He understands the Iraq war by analogy to the Bush tax cuts, as if rewarding corporate friends with military contracts via the Carlyle Group was a driving force behind the decision to depose Saddam Hussein.... [H]e dismisses suggestions that President Bush's aggressive foreign policy was a genuine reaction to Sept. 11, writing that "we knew there were people out there who wanted to hurt us; it wasn't that much of a surprise when they finally scored a hit."

At one point, Krugman says he has "a vision -- maybe just a hope -- of a great revulsion." Among liberals, that revulsion is now on full display, powering the candidacy of Howard Dean. But most Americans do not consider the Bush administration corrupt, and Paul Krugman cannot convincingly prove it is. He should stick to what he does so well: simply proving, on issue after issue, that the Bush administration is wrong.

Anybody think that Peter Beinart's bipartisan dinner engagements helped him understand the conservatives he wrote about back in 2003? Anybody still think the Bush administration's decision to attack iraq was a genuine reaction to Osama bin Laden's strike against us on September 11, 2001?

Anybody? Anybody? Bueller?