Friday, June 02, 2006

Despising Krugman

I’m planning to write a post about the Paul Krugman haters who insist on denouncing Krugman as a hate-filled lying hack, but can’t do so without relying heavily on personal insults, deceptions, and hackery.  And while they usually are fed the deceptions and hackery by even bigger deceivers and hacks; the insults are all them.

And while doing a little research (yes, I apologize for violating the blogger code on such things), I stumbled upon Decision ’08 and one of his rants against Krugman.  It seems Krugman had seriously violated conservative morality by noting that two studies had shown that Gore would have won a full manual recount of Florida in 2000.  Sure, he was just mentioning a fact, but no matter.  That fact is clearly taboo.  

And so Mr. Decision had to denounce Krugman for seeing “hate-filled conspiracies around every corner” and acting like a “strident Kossack” for discussing “every unproven liberal urban legend”.  And why?  Because Krugman had the “nerve” to actually read the studies that Mr. Decision cites.  Because Krugman repeated a fact that Mr. Decision was allowed to ignore.  

And the truth is that Mr. Decision probably hadn’t read the articles he linked to at all; not beyond quoting the wrong parts, anyway.  Most likely, a source he trusts cited those quotes in an attack on Krugman and Mr. Decision was just following suit.  Because that’s the typical conservative MO: Pretending to originate the pre-conceived ideas they’re given.  But it’s not just an act.  They really do believe that they’re the original source for these manufactured deceptions.  And it’s purely coincidence that they all happen to be originating all the same ideas at all the same times.  If anything, that’s just proof about how right they all are…even if they’re wrong.

The Takedown

And lest you think I’d let Mr. Decision’s rant go unchallenged, I left a comment at Decision ’08 that put a quickie kibosh on the whole thing.  And what was Doctor Biobrain’s response, you might ask?  Don’t worry, I’ll repeat it here so you don’t have to click through:

Why is it that people who accuse Krugman of deception have to rely so heavily on deception to prove their case? Or is this just a sign of poor reading comprehension? I read those two links you cited which supposedly prove that Krugman was wrong, and they showed that he was right. And you were wrong.

I quote from the first link:“…the Herald pointed to one scenario under which Gore could have scored a narrow victory — a fresh recount in all counties using the most generous standards.”

and“If those numbers did not stand, the Herald reported, a more generous hypothetical revisited recount would have scored the White House for Gore — but with only a 393-vote margin.”

Now remember that Krugman was referring to a “full manual recount”. The part you cited was only referring to a partial recount of Florida; not a full recount. And according to the study, a full recount of the entire state would have given Gore a slight victory. And remember, it also said that they didn’t consider “overvotes” at all; referring to people who voted twice on the same ballot. And there were 110,000 of those. Overall, this study used four different scenarios to determine who won: Bush won in two, and Gore won in the other two. And in the scenario inwhich all votes in Florida were manually recounted, Gore won. And that’s exactly what Krugman said.

Your second source wasn’t any better for you, saying:“That secondary analysis suggests that more Florida voters may have gone to the polls intending to vote for Democrat Al Gore but failed to cast a valid vote.”

And referring to those overvotes, it said:“In addition to undervotes, thousands of ballots in the Florida presidential election were invalidated because they had too many marks. This happened, for example, when a voter correctly marked a candidate and also wrote in that candidate’s name. The consortium looked at what might have happened if a statewide recount had included these overvotes as well and found that Gore would have had a margin of fewer than 200 votes.”

and this:“According to the study, more than 15,000 people who voted for either Gore or Bush also selected one candidate in the second column, apparently thinking the second column represented a new race.

Had many of these voters not marked a minor candidate in the second column, Gore would have netted thousands of additional votes as compared with Bush.”

That’s right, Gore would have netted thousands of extra votes in an election that Bush officially won by under six hundred votes. Still so confident in your smears on Krugman? Did you actually read what those articles said, or were you just repeating what you were told they said? Sure, maybe Bush should have won, or maybe Gore should have won; but one thing is clear: What Paul Krugman wrote in the NY Times that day was correct, and all your smears against him were incorrect. The studies said what he said they said, and you just didn’t read them well enough.

And just so you know, I’m not trying to re-live the 2000 election. I’m writing a blog post about the irrational Krugman haters, and how they wrongly smear him for being deceitful yet are forced to rely upon deception and insults to make their point. And your site was the first I found. I’ll be sure to link to this place, as you certainly fit the bill of the irrational Krugman hater. I might just make you my sole attraction. Thanks.

Oh, and speaking of a biased media, I’ll give the last word to the ubiquitous Daily Howler:“Krugman is right—press reports tended to “stress the likelihood” that Bush would have won under certain scenarios. And they tended to bury the fact Krugman cited last week—the fact that Gore would have won if all votes were recounted. Unsurprisingly, this tendency was visible in Krugman’s own paper, where Richard Berke’s “analysis” of the Times recount completely failed to mention the outcome that had Podhoretz so bollixed last week. (The Times news report, by Ford Fessenden, was more forthcoming.) People like Berke deep-sixed this result—and four years later, people like Podhoretz were outraged by Krugman’s “whopper!” But so it has gone, in so many areas, over the past dozen years.”

And as you can see, I really did decide to use his post as a prime example of irrational Krugman-hatred.  But this is just a pale comparison of what the real Krugman post will be.  I’ve got a lot more “research” to do, and plan to write a comprehensive post on the subject, but thought I should pass this on.  Not just because it’s such a good example of what I’m talking about, but because I’m pretty desperate to find anything to post about these days, and this one was a fairly good imitation.


trilobite said...

I was a Krugman fan long before he became a pundit, back when he was just a bright young economics popularizer. He has certainly gotten angry since then, but really no less accurate or brilliant. It's a shame that so many people assume that anyone that angry must be wrong. As Abbie Hoffman said, "when decorum is repression, the only dignity a free man has is to speak out."

Or to put it another way, "History doesn't always repeat itself. Sometimes it screams, 'Why don't you listen to what I'm SAYING?!? and lets fly with a club."

the bewilderness said...

The Shrill One is my hero. Thank you for speaking up for him.