Man Without Qualities

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Krugmania Goes To War!

Michael Dukakis (in)famously donned military garb and climbed into a United States army tank in his failing attempt to obtain the Presidency. Unfortunately, his opponent, George H. W. Bush, ran a highly effective campaign commercial making use of the fact that Mr. Dukakis looked like a ridiculous twerp during his tank ride. [To view the Bush commercial, find the picture on the bottom of the linked page with Mr. Dukakis in military garb.] The Bush commercial juxtaposed Mr. Dukakis's obvious lack of familiarity with, and discomfort in, that tank with his generally anti-defense positions.

Mr. Bush was criticized for running what many Democrats found to be an unfair commercial. But - at least to my knowledge - nobody, absolutely nobody was daft enough to suggest that because Mr. Dukakis and his campaign managers thought that he looked good in military garb astride a late 20th Century version of a military horse, that Mr. Dukakis' aspirations to the White House cast a scary shadow across American democracy. And nobody, absolutely nobody was daft enough to compare Mr. Dukakis with Georges Boulanger, a popular French general who flirted with accepting the dictatorship of France. Nobody, absolutely nobody was daft enough to do any of those things because anybody who tried it would have been universally considered a fool.

But that was all before Paul Krugman came on the scene.

The difference today is not that Herr Doktorprofessor Krugman should not or will not universally be considered a fool for suggesting in his most recent column that the current President's donning a Navy flight suit and piloting a Navy aircraft casts a scary shadow across the very existence of American democracy. No. Herr Doktorprofessor and his sound and fury proclaiming this threat to the Constitution will be seen for what they are. The difference today is that Paul Krugman is no longer deterred by that prospect - and that the New York Times sees fit to run columns by those such as he who are not so deterred.

He rushes in again and again. And the Times publishes the results.

UPDATE: Don Luskin has more - complete with another picture of an anti-defense Democrat who once wrote that he (or, maybe, some other "fine person") "loathed" the American military, constumed as a defense supporter. Priceless.

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