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09/13/2003: "This is What Treason Really Looks Like, Ann"

Paul Krugman is the most important voice in America for decrying the threat that right-wing extremism poses to current and especially future generations. This, in my opinion, makes him the most important voice in America right now. His columns in the New York Times have eloquently stated the case for moderation, in the process laying bare the moral bankruptcy of right-wing fiscal demagoguery. Today he is in print with the most succinct and effective indictment I’ve yet seen. It’s The Tax Cut Con in the New York Times Magazine for this weekend. Step by step, he lays out how right wing extremists are systematically executing a cynical plan to take us back to the days of Herbert Hoover by forcing the dismantling of virtually every social program established since then. Let me pause here to reinforce my moderate inclinations. My use of words like “extremist,” “moral bankruptcy,” “indictment,” and “cynical” are not words that a moderate would typically use. I use them only because I have watched this issue like a deficit hawk for over twenty years now. When you see a very consistent pattern over so long a period in an area of intense personal interest, it doesn’t take an Einstein to connect the dots. Krugman’s article, with its numbered paragraphs so perfectly analogous to the numbered dots of a the classic drawing puzzle, makes this pattern as clear as it could possibly be to anyone who would care to look. What’s ironic about this pattern is that just as Krugman’s columns are pulling away the shroud of disinformation that the extreme right has used to disguise the real nature of their schemes, the right’s chorus of disinformation goes even more outrageously over the top. Witness Ann Coulter’s presence on the NY Times Bestseller list for “Treason,” which lionizes Joseph McCarthy and calls opposition to his demagoguery “liberal perfidy” and “treason.” Presumably this must include that flaming liberal and traitor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who as documented in this very site had extreme distaste for McCarthy. No, Ann, you’ve got it all wrong. Treason is committing intergenerational theft to achieve near-term personal enrichment with full knowledge of, and even delight in, the disastrous consequences it will have on our children and grandchildren.

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