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Friday, March 23, 2012

Paul Krugman: Paranoia Strikes Deeper

Mitt Romney is "helping to further a dangerous trend":

Paranoia Strikes Deeper, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: Stop, hey, what’s that sound? Actually, it’s the noise a great political party makes when it loses what’s left of its mind. And it happened — where else? — on Fox News on Sunday, when Mitt Romney bought fully into the claim that gas prices are high thanks to an Obama administration plot.
This claim isn’t just nuts; it’s a sort of craziness triple play — a lie wrapped in an absurdity swaddled in paranoia. ...
First, the lie: No, President Obama did not say, as many Republicans now claim, that he wanted higher gasoline prices. ... The claim ... is a lie, pure and simple. And it’s a lie wrapped in an absurdity, because the president ... doesn’t control gasoline prices, or even have much influence over those prices. ...
Finally, there’s the paranoia, the belief that liberals in general, and Obama administration officials in particular, are trying to make driving unaffordable as part of a nefarious plot against the American way of life. And, no, I’m not exaggerating. This is what you hear even from thoroughly mainstream conservatives. ...
And it’s not just gas prices..., the conspiracy theories are proliferating so fast it’s hard to keep up. Thus, large numbers of Republicans — ...important political figures... — firmly believe that global warming is a gigantic hoax ... involving thousands of scientists... Meanwhile, others are attributing the recent improvement in economic news to a dastardly plot to withhold stimulus funds, releasing them just before the 2012 election. And let’s not even get into health reform.
Why is this happening? ... Naturally, people who constantly hear about the evil that liberals do are ready and willing to believe that everything bad is the result of a dastardly liberal plot. And these are the people who vote in Republican primaries. But what about the broader electorate?
If and when he wins the nomination, Mr. Romney will try, as a hapless adviser put it, to shake his Etch A Sketch — that is, to erase the record of his pandering to the crazy right and convince voters that he’s actually a moderate. And maybe he can pull it off.
But let’s hope that he can’t, because the kind of pandering he has engaged in during his quest for the nomination matters. Whatever Mr. Romney may personally believe, the fact is that by endorsing the right’s paranoid fantasies, he is helping to further a dangerous trend in America’s political life. And he should be held accountable for his actions.

    Posted by on Friday, March 23, 2012 at 12:33 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (159)

          


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