Monday, December 10, 2012

Don’t Mince Words

I know it’s pointless to egg them on, but Paul Krugman can’t resist needling conservative commentators who are full of it.

Conservative commentator George Will and former White House aide Mary Matalin both directed pointed remarks at Krugman Sunday that broke with the good-natured banter common among the guests on Sunday political talk shows.

After Krugman called House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget a “fake document” and the columnist said he was “amazed that people haven’t gotten that,” Will unsheathed his verbal sword and went at Krugman.

“I have yet to encounter someone who disagrees with you who you don’t think is a knave, or corrupt, or a corrupt knave,” Will said, borrowing a phrase founding father Alexander Hamilton used to rail against those unwilling to respect the good faith of their political opponents.

“No, I’ve got some people,” Krugman said, suggesting that some conservatives are indeed intellectually honest.


Matalin and Krugman also sparred over Medicare cuts, with the former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney insisting that any cut in payments to providers would impact beneficiaries and the Times columnist insisting that was not always the case.

As if Matalin were not peeved enough, Krugman chimed in later to correct her when she said John Maynard Keynes had said: “Ideas drive history. Ideas drive progress.”

“The actual Keynes quote is….’ideas which are dangerous for good or evil,'” Krugman said.

Perhaps Matalin shouldn’t have tried to quote Keynes (whom she sarcastically called “our hero”) to a Keynesian. Unsurprisingly, Krugman has written on the specific quote.

Not that I would encourage bad behavior, but when you have people spouting unchallenged bullshit, it’s about damn time someone called them on it.