Cross-posted by Gary Fouse
Paul "The Worm" Krugman
There are few editorialists who are more contemptible than Paul "The Worm" Krugman. I call him "The Worm" because he delights in using his pen to attack those with whom he disagrees until someone confronts him face to face-like Bill O'Reilly. Then he all but crawls under the table in looking for a place to hide.
Of course, President Bush is far too gentlemanly to hit back. He has withstood the slings and arrows of his attackers for 8 years without sinking to their level. Therefore, worms like Krugman just keep on attacking.
Witness Krugman's latest broadside against Bush in the New York Times, yet another call for the Obama Administration to investigate and prosecute Bush and others in his administration for imagined crimes.
Below is Krugman's hit piece, interspersed with my comments. Krugman's words are in quotes and italics.
"Last Sunday President-elect Barack Obama was asked whether he would seek an investigation of possible crimes by the Bush administration. 'I don’t believe that anybody is above the law,' he responded, but “we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards.”
"I’m sorry, but if we don’t have an inquest into what happened during the Bush years —and nearly everyone has taken Mr. Obama’s remarks to mean that we won’t — this means that those who hold power are indeed above the law because they don’t face any consequences if they abuse their power.Let’s be clear what we’re talking about here. It’s not just torture and illegal wiretapping, whose perpetrators claim, however implausibly, that they were patriots acting to defend the nation’s security. The fact is that the Bush administration’s abuses extended from environmental policy to voting rights. And most of the abuses involved using the power of government to reward political friends and punish political enemies."
Torture and illegal wiretapping: What Krugman is referring to here is water boarding and the NSA intercepts of overseas calls from known or suspected terrorists to the US in the wake of 9-11. These were actions used not to maintain political power as Saddam Hussein and countless other dictators have done-but to protect American lives and prevent future 9-11s. In the case of the wiretaps, Bush received legal counsel-rightfully or wrongfully- that told him such action was legal. Yet Krugman wants Bush and everyone else who carried out such acts to be prosecuted-including those who water boarded people like the poor terrorist mastermind, Mr Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, that prevented planned terrorist attacks and saved countless lives.
In the above paragraph, Krugman also refers to such crimes as Bush's environmental policy and voting rights! What crimes would these be, Mr Krugman? Are you referring to the Kyoto Treaty and all those poor voters in Florida who didn't get their votes counted a third time in the 2000 election?
"At the Justice Department, for example, political appointees illegally reserved nonpolitical positions for “right-thinking Americans” — their term, not mine — and there’s strong evidence that officials used their positions both to undermine the protection of minority voting rights and to persecute Democratic politicians."
Nice throw-out lines, Mr Krugman, but would you care to be specific as to how minority voting rights were undermined? Are you saying that folks like ACORN were not adequately protected as they committed massive voter fraud? And which Democratic politicians were "persecuted"? And political influence in the Justice Department. What a novel idea. Ever heard of the Clinton Justice Department?
"The hiring process at Justice echoed the hiring process during the occupation of Iraq — an occupation whose success was supposedly essential to national security — in which applicants were judged by their politics, their personal loyalty to President Bush and, according to some reports, by their views on Roe v. Wade, rather than by their ability to do the job."
Strange analogy, to say the least. Furthermore, Krugman makes it sound like this never happened in previous administrations-like Clinton's. I am not trying to excuse this age-old custom, but is it criminal?
"Speaking of Iraq, let’s also not forget that country’s failed reconstruction: the Bush administration handed billions of dollars in no-bid contracts to politically connected companies, companies that then failed to deliver. And why should they have bothered to do their jobs? Any government official who tried to enforce accountability on, say, Halliburton quickly found his or her career derailed."
If Mr Krugman wants to prosecute every administration that had this problem, he could start with Washington and continue through Bush.
"There’s much, much more. By my count, at least six important government agencies experienced major scandals over the past eight years — in most cases, scandals that were never properly investigated. And then there was the biggest scandal of all: Does anyone seriously doubt that the Bush administration deliberately misled the nation into invading Iraq?"
Yes, I seriously doubt that. Whatever history decides on the wisdom of Iraq, I believe Bush was acting on intelligence provided to him. If Bush lied on WMD, then so did Clinton, Albright, Berger, Cohen, Gore, the CIA, the British, Israeli intelligence services and countless others. Even leading Democratic politicians believed in WMD, such as John Kerry, Hillary Clinton etc. If you don't believe that, go back to their own public declarations at the time. (They were also briefed.)
And those six government agencies that experienced major scandals? Is he referring to the agencies that were under Clinton cabinet secretaries like Hazel O'Leary, Ron Brown, Janet Reno (and Erik Holder), Alexis Herman and Henry Cisneros? Is he referring to the scandals of the (Erik Holder OK'd) pardons to Marc Rich, FALN terrorists, the leaders of the New York Hasidic Jewish community (that switched their votes from traditionally Republican to Hillary Clinton in 2000 in exchange for pardons), or the Secret Service, whose director tried to assert a non-existent right of privilege to keep his agents from being called to a grand jury to testify about Monica Lewinsky?
"Why, then, shouldn't’t (sic) we have an official inquiry into abuses during the Bush years?
One answer you hear is that pursuing the truth would be divisive, that it would exacerbate partisanship. But if partisanship is so terrible, shouldn't’t (sic) there be some penalty for the Bush administration’s politicization of every aspect of government?"
Again, start with Washington and keep on going. By the way, Mr Krugman, politicization of government, while certainly lamentable, is not, in and of itself, a crime.
"Alternatively, we’re told that we don’t have to dwell on past abuses, because we won’t repeat them. But no important figure in the Bush administration, or among that administration’s political allies, has expressed remorse for breaking the law. What makes anyone think that they or their political heirs won’t do it all over again, given the chance?
In fact, we’ve already seen this movie. During the Reagan years, the Iran-contra conspirators violated the Constitution in the name of national security. But the first President Bush pardoned the major malefactors, and when the White House finally changed hands the political and media establishment gave Bill Clinton the same advice it’s giving Mr. Obama: let sleeping scandals lie. Sure enough, the second Bush administration picked up right where the Iran-contra conspirators left off — which isn’t too surprising when you bear in mind that Mr. Bush actually hired some of those conspirators."
Interesting that, as Krugman raises the specter of other administrations committing abuses, the only mention of Clinton is to "advice" he received from the media to "let sleeping dogs lie". I think it is clear that George Bush, himself, was loathe to authorize an investigation into the abuses of the Clinton years.
"Now, it’s true that a serious investigation of Bush-era abuses would make Washington an uncomfortable place, both for those who abused power and those who acted as their enablers or apologists. And these people have a lot of friends. But the price of protecting their comfort would be high: If we whitewash the abuses of the past eight years, we’ll guarantee that they will happen again."
Oh, they will happen again alright, Mr Krugman. Already we have a cabinet forming of a Secretary of State who will be negotiating Middle East issues with governments that have poured millions into her husband's, coffers, a Treasury Secretary who neglected to pay over $34,000 in income tax, and an Attorney General up to his neck in the corrupt pardons of Marc Rich, and FALN terrorists who hadn't even asked for a pardon.
"Meanwhile, about Mr. Obama: while it’s probably in his short-term political interests to forgive and forget, next week he’s going to swear to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.” That’s not a conditional oath to be honored only when it’s convenient.
"And to protect and defend the Constitution, a president must do more than obey the Constitution himself; he must hold those who violate the Constitution accountable. So Mr. Obama should reconsider his apparent decision to let the previous administration get away with crime. Consequences aside, that’s not a decision he has the right to make."
Maybe Mr Obama, knowing he lives in a glass house, is smart enough not to throw stones.
Of course, anyone familiar with Paul Krugman knows that he has a far-left political agenda. How else could he seriously call for a criminal investigation into the Bush Administration while ignoring one of the most corrupt administrations in US history (Clinton)? Krugman, of course, is an economist, not a legal scholar. He might want to stop and reflect that before he calls for prosecutions, he should find some actual crimes. A better place to start would be in the Clinton Administration.