The Innocent Mistakes Of Paul Krugman

By Pejman Yousefzadeh Posted in | | | Comments (24) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

So there is this campaign to condemn Ronald Reagan for supposedly relying on Richard Nixon's "Southern Strategy" to get elected to the Presidency in 1980. Paul Krugman is elbowing competitors out of the way to issue the condemnations. But I think that perhaps Krugman may have committed some innocent mistakes.

There is a lot more below. Read on . . .

First of all, Krugman repeatedly brings up the issue of Reagan's 1980 speech in Mississippi to prove that the 40th President was a racist. As long as two years ago, Jon Henke called Krugman on this issue and corrected his many errors. The issue also got covered here. Google is a powerful tool and one would think that someone like Krugman would use it to see whether his arguments have stood up under the scrutiny of others. Evidently, on this issue, Krugman hasn't taken the past corrections of his charges into account. Indeed, he doesn't even acknowledge them except in the most oblique terms, thus ensuring that people won't know much about Krugman's critics and what their criticisms entail.

But I'm sure that's an innocent mistake.

I suppose that I could also point out that nowadays, caring about racial equality and wanting to bring it about entails things like supporting school choice--an issue which has huge support in minority communities since it is a surefire way to improve education and lift people out of poverty. It also entails coming up with innovative ways to move society past its current over-reliance on palliatives like affirmative action to remedy the past wrongs of racism. We recall, of course, that during the Clinton Administration, we were promised that government would "mend, not end" affirmative action. Well, government certainly didn't end it and "mending" affirmative action is apparently just the same as "keeping the status quo when it comes to affirmative action." One wishes that Paul Krugman would at least address these issues. Most of the time, of course, Krugman appears to ignore the issues of school choice and affirmative action reform altogether, evidently not believing them worthy of discussion. If he has ever given any kind of serious examination to these issues, I am certainly unaware of it.

But I'm sure that's just an innocent mistake.

Speaking of whispering racial campaigns, perhaps Krugman would be good enough to take on the slur that if you are an African-American who works in a Republican Administration (like Condoleezza Rice or Colin Powell), or if you are an African-American who also happens to be a conservative (like Clarence Thomas or Thomas Sowell), you are somehow a "race traitor," whatever that means. To the best of my knowledge, Krugman has not addressed this slur.

But I'm sure that's an innocent mistake.

It would be nice as well for Krugman to take some history into account. For ever election cycle starting in 1932, the New Deal coalition Krugman so evidently reveres and cherishes was a dominant force--indeed, the dominant force--in American politics. Just about every election from 1932 to 1980 involved a contest between New Deal Democrats on the one side and "me too" Republicans on the other, who were willing to do just about everything the New Deal Democrats wanted to do, only slower. I say "just about" because the only time the Republicans did not put up a "me too" candidate for the Presidency prior to 1980 was in 1964, when Barry Goldwater put forth a distinct conservative vision in opposition to the traditional New Deal way of doing things. But that doesn't really count as far as the New Deal partisans are concerned, since Goldwater got stomped--in part thanks to people like Bill Moyers, who worked for Lyndon Johnson and was responsible for dirty tricks against the Goldwater campaign like the one discussed here. (Paul Krugman hasn't exactly gone out of his way to denounce such dirty tricks. I'm sure that it must be an innocent mistake.)

The 1980 campaign broke the mold in that it featured a conservative Presidential candidate who not only won the election, but won it going away and took a sledgehammer to the New Deal coalition in the process. Oh, to be sure, elements of that coalition remain and can be reassembled. But 1980 was traumatic for New Deal acolytes, especially because in the process of losing an election by a rout, significant portions of the New Deal coalition defected to the Republican side in the process. As Theodore White pointed out in his book, the 1980 campaign:

. . . was unlike previous campaigns. Fifty years of Democratic dominance of American opinion were being challenged--and challenged at every level. The opinion of the thinking classes was divided. Here one had the great civil libertarian, Democrat Morris Abram, coming out for Reagan; as did Edward Costikyan, the first of the original Democratic reformers of Manhattan. And then two of the country's most distinguished blacks, the Reverend Ralph Abernathy of Atlanta, successor to Martin Luther King, and Hosea Williams both came out in support of Reagan.

(Emphasis mine.) The fragmentation of the New Deal coalition was extraordinary and devastating, as White discusses. But just as notable were the defections of key civil rights figures from the Democratic side over to Reagan. These defections were notable not just because they played havoc with traditional national coalition politics as practiced since 1932, but also because the supposedly "racist" Ronald Reagan was able to draw the support of figures whose civil rights credentials were utterly and completely unimpeachable.

Partisans like Paul Krugman don't want 1980 to repeat itself. As mentioned above, Krugman reveres the New Deal and its legacy and he doesn't want to see the remnants of the New Deal coalition scattered and annihilated beyond recognition. Quite the contrary; Krugman hopes (perhaps against hope) that the New Deal coalition can reconstitute itself and once again march from victory to victory as it did during the heyday of Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. And having seen the movie of 1980 and its feature scene involving the defection of key members of the civil rights movement over to the Republican side, Krugman wants to do everything in his power to stop the filming of a sequel.

Thus this renewed argument over whether Ronald Reagan was a racist--the facts provided in the links above notwithstanding. Again, Paul Krugman hasn't addressed those facts. Additionally, he hasn't addressed why, if Reagan was such a blatant and obvious racist, people like Ralph Abernathy and Hosea Williams were willing to support him. Abernathy and Williams were not stupid and surely wouldn't have been taken in by a genuine racist pretending to lack a prejudiced bone in his body. And Abernathy and Williams never stopped caring about the cause of civil rights, so it is hard to believe that they would have made common cause with a racist. Ronald Reagan's ability to draw support across racial lines in 1980--and to disrupt and gravely wound the New Deal coalition in the process--throws a huge monkey wrench into the gears of the argument that in 1980, Reagan openly and notoriously relied on the "Southern strategy" to propel himself to the Presidency. And Krugman doesn't even lift a finger to argue otherwise or to take Reagan's support in the civil rights community into account when making his "arguments."

But I'm sure that's just an innocent mistake.

« "We're All Gonna Die!!!!!!!!!!!"Comments (44) | Taking Apart Paul KrugmanComments (8) »
The Innocent Mistakes Of Paul Krugman 24 Comments (0 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

You don't know what "race traitor" means? It is a term that was used by straw-bosses on the plantation to justify beating the runaways.
As it was back then, so it is today. The hand that holds the whip is the same color as the back it falls upon.

Brian Epps

Absent from his argument is the fact that grievances with the Carter administration were felt by Americans from all walks of life. Additionally, Reagan's themes included self-reliance as a value and invested trust in Americans' ability to manage their own lives. Hosea Williams cared about these things, too, and was often critical of anything that perpetuated dependence rather than healing it.

Anyone from the south who lived through that era can tell you that the old school southern Democrats would NEVER, and I say EVER vote for a republican no matter what. They did not switch parties.

Several things happened during the seventies and eighties.
(1) lots of those old yellow dog democrats died off
(2) Many of their children (like me) were drawn to Reagans message of individualism and optimism
(3) many of the most enterprising people from rust belt states move into the south for economic reasons and over half of them were Republicans.
(4) Many Christians who before were politically apathetic joined the republican party because of the democratic assault on their values.

Krugman is an evil wrong jackass. But that is what Democrats always do, divide us. Divide us by race, sex, and class, and try to stir up as much hatred as possible.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

So Krugman is not personally racist, but apparently relies on the readership of racists.

(Wait, did I do that right? Liberal trickery is sooo confusing.)

racist, but I don't think that you could argue that the GOP did not engage in what Lee Atwater called the "southern strategy" which was a direct appeal to some white racists in the south. This was an ugly chapter in GOP history and needs to be addressed rather than swept under the rug.

as a political term, but this is one area where it is apt.

The Southern ruling class avoided taxes for almost a hundred years by an overt appeal to racism. The poor whites could be content to know that they were better off than the even poorer blacks, and at least the whites didn't have to pay taxes, we're talking property taxes, the only ones that meant anything, to pay for anything much for the blacks. Time and the USDOJ pretty much ended that political schema by the late Sixties. George Wallace was pretty much the last hurrah for that system, and even he dressed it in Tom Watson populism rather than assuming his for "Segregation Forever" persona.

Now, it doesn't even take a particularly smart political wonk to figure out that The South is very unhappy with Democrats - there weren't a lot of tears for Kennedy in The South and Goldwater disclosed the first crack in The Solid South. As much as Northerners like to think so, Southerners, even pig ignorant ones, aren't stupid; they know what taxes pay for, and they know who the Great Society is aimed at. Never mind that it was actually aimed as much at white Southerners as black; the whites never saw themselves as the real objects of either Great Society or, especially, New Deal policies - racism is powerful policy.

A cut taxes, increase personal responsibility, and get the government off my back and out of my pocket agenda resonated throughout almost every social and geographic stratum in America. The point for this discussion is that it meant one thing for the industrial worker in Ohio, another for the libertarian in The West, and yet another for the farmer, merchant, or wage laborer in The South. Was there a certain polical cynicism in a non-racist agenda that would appeal to the entrenched racism in The South? Of course! Was the Reagan Agenda racist? No, silly question.

In Vino Veritas

It does not have nearly enough basis in fact other than Democrats and their friends in the media repeatedly saying so.

This is something I wrote about it a while back ...


"You start out in 1954 by saying, "N[----]r, n[----]r, n[----]r." By 1968 you can't say 'n[----]r'—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites.
And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "N[----]r, n[----]r.".[8]

Atwater was Reagan's chief political aide.

Believe me, I'm not apologizing for Democrats in the south. They had a shameful history of racism. But the GOP is not entirely guilt free either and all the wishing in the world isn't going to make it so.

Can you point to any practical effect this supposed "Southern Strategy" had on Southern voting patterns as distinct from the North?

Read my link again. Nixon didn't win the South in 1968. He won 49 states in 1972. Reagan won 44 in 1980 and 49 in 1984. If it was racism that got them the electoral votes of the South, what got them those of the Northern states?

Reagan ran on the same platform in every part of the nation, and he won in every part of the nation, not just the South. So why in the name of all that is Holy is it a sign a racism that he won Alabama but not that he won California?

were never given anything for switching parties on the order of segregation or race based laws.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer

argue that if the chief political operative in your administration -- someone who is considered a political genius -- thought the southern strategy worked then it worked.

No one is claiming that the North is less racist than the south. The point was to insure that enough whites in the south stopped voting for Democrats because they saw the Democratic party as the "black party." Believe it or not, campaigns use different strategies in different parts of the country.

After all, no one comes down to South Carolina and talks about ethanol. But they sure talk about it in Iowa. The same way they talk about textile mills closing in South Carolina, but not Iowa. No campaign runs a single strategy nationwide. They make appeals based on regional concerns all the time.

... your proof (i.e. ads, flyers, posters, speeches, etc.) that the GOP ran racist (whether overt or covert) campaigns from 1968 to date, is?

...that 1,000 word essay* on Southern voting demographics, 1968-2007 (concentrate on the partisan breakdown of both Representatives and Senators during that time period; extra credit for examining the makeup of State legislatures) and hand it in you will still not be permitted to use racial epithets on this blog. That includes quotes: sanitize accordingly.

Now get cracking. The sooner you complete it, the sooner we'll decide whether to turn your account back on.

The Fuzzy Puppy of the VRWC. I've been usurped!

*It was originally 750, but you got extra for using racial epithets on our blog.

any racist law. Those that lest the dem party for the gop got no quid pro quo.

On the other hand, the dem party has never stopped passing race based laws in congress or thru the courts.

Mike Gamecock DeVine @ The Charlotte Observer

so at least we know he had some personal appreciation for black Americans' contributions to our culture.

And while the media tried to portray the Willie Horton thing as racially charged, the real point of it was the fact that a convicted rapist was furloughed and therefore enabled to commit another crime. Horton's heritage should not have been a factor, though I suppose it was inescapable in the minds of some.

in fact I did just before your post

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

Is the poster boy for the Peter Principal in journalism. And History. And economics. And politics. And ethics.
The lefties, just like Carter, want to pretend that Carter's incompetence, anti-Americanism, Soviet enabling, economic bumbling, and intelligence insulting of the American people never happened. He is representative of the same tools who promoted the idea of the VRWC pulling off the October surprise.
This is simply Krugman and his loser friends trying to rewrite history.

We would also like to know your advice for somebody like my daughter, who's going to graduate in two years, advice that you would give a young person.

SEC. RUMSFELD: Advice for a young person. Study history.

Where to start. Historical revisionism of he did/he meantis fraught with danger,and opportunity. I doubt, but do not know if Goldwater or Reagan were racists (but Nixon repeatedly made pointed anti-Semitic comments, as demonstrated on his tapes, however he still hired Henry K, go figure) but I do know who was elected in 1980 and I know how.

LBJ prophesized and Reagan simply took advantage. LBJ said that he had just turned the South over to the Repuiblicans when he signed the Civil Rights act. Now I wonder why he thought that? I won't follow the transparent "states rights" arguments that (Democrat) Southern governors invoked to defend separatism. He signed over those who blame the gov't, "them", affirmative action rules, etc.for the fact that they have failed, either in their own minds or others.All Reagan did was to create an imaginary space where the disaffected could live and whine together. He thew them a few bones every once in a while, but never really addressed their concerns in a lasting manner..much like GWB and the anti-abortion crowd.

Here's the point: the GOP candidates refused to debate at an historically Black college. Why was this (schedules??)? Simple, other than a few "conservative" Blacks (and what are Rice's and Powell's views on abortion) they don't see this as a voting source. Why? How has the party of Lincoln lost them?

Answer that question (and you can stop with the nonsense that Blacks want their entitlements protected. Clinton's welfare reforms ripped that excuse to shreds) and you see the point. Republicans are not by and large social, ethnic or racia minorities. Exceptions exist, but they are exceptions.

We need to stop pretending and face the reality. Young people see us as irrelevant (check the data, this is painful but true). If the self-styled young Republicans were really in support of the War on Terrorism and loved their country they would be serving it in some capacity.

Minorities avoid us. Women increasingly find us detached from their world and all we have to show is a botched war, idiots screaming about Creationism and a gov't so bloated with spending that the Demos are now the party of the fiscal conservative.

It's time for a new reality-based strategy. We need to cast off the screaming cretins and let them crawl back into their little holes and present what we are all about to the American electorate.It's reinvention time baby...

if you are a racist, a chickenhawk, and "irrelevant" then I don't want you in my party, please leave.

"Nothing works like freedom, Nothing succeeds like liberty"

...answer me this: was it because they are racist white people who "see [blacks] as a voting source" that the Democrat candidates boycotted a debate sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus and hosted by the Democratic Party of Nevada?

Oh, and this?

Women increasingly find us detached from their world and all we have to show is a botched war, idiots screaming about Creationism and a gov't so bloated with spending that the Demos are now the party of the fiscal conservative.

Hm. Further explanation is required, I think, to show that your "we" isn't that of a moby who claims to be a conservative and then proceeds to pee on everything conservatives stand for. Like, now, please. Or go back to your own home.

Especially since your "If the self-styled young Republicans were really in support of the War on Terrorism and loved their country they would be serving it in some capacity" statement has demonstrated that you are guilty of chickenhawking.

the last time he left a big [expletive deleted] on the carpet, he simply disappeared for a couple weeks -- until forgotten, then came back to do it again.

It's time for a new reality-based strategy.

Ah, so how are things over at The Reality Based Community™ these days?

Adios, chump.

Diplomacy is the art of saying 'Nice doggie' until you can find a rock.

Redstate Network Login:
(lost password?)

©2008 Eagle Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Legal, Copyright, and Terms of Service