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Krugman vs. “The Crazy Party”

When “racist,” “misogynist,” or “nihilist” simply won’t do, we have Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman to set us straight.

When “racist,” “misogynist,” or “nihilist” simply won’t do, we have Nobel Prize winning New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, who sets his well-known civility aside today to offer the American people the brutal truth. In a column titled The Crazy Party, Krugman tells us that conservatives aren’t just weighed down by disastrous ideas and bad intentions, they’re nuts:

In recent months, the G.O.P. seems to have transitioned from being the stupid party to being the crazy party.

I know, I’m being shrill. But as it grows increasingly hard to see how, in the face of Republican hysteria over health reform, we can avoid a government shutdown — and maybe the even more frightening prospect of a debt default — the time for euphemism is past.

Has the Right only gone crazy in recent months? Seemed to me that Paul Krugman has been calling conservatives “crazy” and “insane” for a long time. In August, Krugman was writing about “GOP craziness.” That same month, in fact, he informed readers that “one of America’s two major political parties has basically gone off the deep end” and “the madness of the GOP is the central issue of our time.” He called Republicans Senators who supported a tax-cut stimulus plan “The crazy 36” and claimed the entire party had undergone a break from reality:

Just to be clear, I’m not talking about policy substance. I may believe that Republicans have their priorities all wrong, but that’s not the issue here. Instead, I’m talking about their apparent inability to accept very basic reality constraints …

Actually, in 2011, Krugman basically wrote the same column he did today — in this iteration it was called “Getting to Crazy”.

A number of commentators seem shocked at how unreasonable Republicans are being. “Has the G.O.P. gone insane?” they ask.

Why, yes, it has.

Why, in 2009, conservatives were crazy again:

This is a column about Republicans — and I’m not sure I should even be writing it.

Today’s G.O.P. is, after all, very much a minority party. It retains some limited ability to obstruct the Democrats, but has no ability to make or even significantly shape policy. Beyond that, Republicans have become embarrassing to watch. And it doesn’t feel right to make fun of crazy people.

He goes on to explain that the “G.O.P. looked as crazy 10 or 15 years ago as it does now.”  Krugman wasn’t sure if he should be writing the column – so, for good measure, he wrote it again and again, compelled to speak truth to non-power.  The GOP, after all, isn’t significant enough to shape policy, but it is, somehow, significant enough to destroy America.

Accusing your opponent of insanity isn’t really that offensive, considering it’s most often deployed by folks who want to avoid substantive debate.  What is particularly hackish in this case is Krugman’s contention that he’s just now, after the past few months of GOP lunacy, finally surrendering to common sense and calling it as he sees it when he’s been writing this very column for years.

Follow David on Twitter @davidharsanyi.

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