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"So what will happen if, as expected, Republicans win control of the House? A repeat of the 1990's witch hunts."

Portrait, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, 06/15/09. (photo: Fred R. Conrad/NYT)
Portrait, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, 06/15/09. (photo: Fred R. Conrad/NYT)

It's Witch-Hunt Season

By Paul Krugman, The New York Times

30 August 10

The last time a Democrat sat in the White House, he faced a nonstop witch hunt by his political opponents. Prominent figures on the right accused Bill and Hillary Clinton of everything from drug smuggling to murder. And once Republicans took control of Congress, they subjected the Clinton administration to unrelenting harassment - at one point taking 140 hours of sworn testimony over accusations that the White House had misused its Christmas card list.

Now it's happening again - except that this time it's even worse. Let's turn the floor over to Rush Limbaugh: "Imam Hussein Obama," he recently declared, is "probably the best anti-American president we've ever had."

To get a sense of how much it matters when people like Mr. Limbaugh talk like this, bear in mind that he's an utterly mainstream figure within the Republican Party; bear in mind, too, that unless something changes the political dynamics, Republicans will soon control at least one house of Congress. This is going to be very, very ugly.

So where is this rage coming from? Why is it flourishing? What will it do to America?

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+47 # Guest 2010-08-30 11:50
It is an American tragedy that keeps looping around and repeating itself.If out of economic angst people turn to the Republican party again, we are only bringing hell down upon ourselves as a nation.
-94 # Guest 2010-08-30 12:21
But it's OK to drive the Republic to the edge of oblivion with grotesquely irresponsible spending, only the start of which is "health care" bill that 65% of The People are opposed to.
+84 # Guest 2010-08-30 12:53
Yes, let's talk about irresponsible spending...The Bush tax cuts in 2000, amounting to a one trillion dollar hit to the budget, an unnecessary war in Iraq that has has cost more than $743 billion dollars. Finally a recession caused by the very people who benefited so richly from the Bush tax cuts and who were bailed out by the taxpayers. No one worried about spending regarding those issues, but making sure the citizenry of this country, particularly the middle class, has access to reasonably priced health insurance or any other safety net, and we suddenly can't afford it. What load of garbage.
+62 # Guest 2010-08-30 13:25
The Republic was driven to the edge of oblivion by unfunded spending on war, another war, tax cuts for the super wealthy, giveaways to Big Pharma, Big Oil, Big Agribusiness and Wall Street, to the tune of over 5 trillion, and now you are suddenly worried that we're spending too much? Where were you from Jan. 2001- Jan. 2009?
+44 # Guest 2010-08-30 14:48
Tell us all, what people are opposed to the health care bill? You and some others like you? It hasn't even been enacted yet, how do you know what it will bring? Tell me were you opposed to the sinful tax cuts for the filthy rich that Bush enacted? Well, "we people" were. Were you opposed the the tax breaks that big corporations were given? Well "we people were" You supposed you don't consider that irresponsible spending do you? You don't consider Bush taking a huge amount of money that Clinton left us with and giving rich people more money and the middle class $7.00 more on their paychecks irresponsible do you?

I suppose you also think corporations are people too? OK, then I want BP executed for the 11 deaths they caused in the explosion.

I guess you also don't think Bush 'drove the Republic to the brink of oblivion' by taking away from the poor and giving to the rich?

People like you that listen to the Becks, Limbaughs and Palins don't have any more sense than they do.
+40 # Guest 2010-08-30 14:57
I'm sorry, did you actually mean the irresponsible spending of the GOBP/Duh-bya administration which gave the wealthiest Americans tax breaks that were never compensated for AND DO NOT,NOT,NOT,NOT ,NOT pay for themselves, two completely unfunded vanity wars, continued corporate welfare for Goldman Sachs, Texaco/Chevron and Wal Mart, cronyism to pad the rosters of the federal government, kickbacks to corporate lobbyists and a defense budget that is 10 times that of any other industrialized nations that effectively does nothing except producing antiquated Cold War era weapons, outdated aircraft, and funds GOBP pork projects across 50 states? Because, if you didn't, I think you have a bizarre idea of where the deficit came from. Oh, and the biggest deficit spender of all time? Saint Reagan. Look it up.
+21 # Guest 2010-08-30 17:56
All aspects of Jason's allegation are false. He might as well have said "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" It just shows how pathetically misinformed are those who watch Fox not-news and glenn pecker.

Jason old boy! I reject the premise upon which this fallacy is constructed! You are a fool.
+21 # Guest 2010-08-30 18:02
The health care bill is not what's doing it. The Bush Tax cuts, even from inception did NOTHING to stimulate jobs growth. Look at the numbers. In a decent economy, NOTHING! The middle class is what drives our economy, and it's still in the ditch.
+8 # Guest 2010-08-31 09:39
Quoting Jason:
But it's OK to drive the Republic to the edge of oblivion with grotesquely irresponsible spending, only the start of which is "health care" bill that 65% of The People are opposed to.

Unlike starting an illegal war based on lies and then pouring billions and billions of dollars into the sand for it, huh. Now *that*'s a good use of taxpayer dollars. We will spend until the cows come home to kill each other or possibly some more of those brown folks in faraway places, and Republicans will never say boo about it. But let us try and spend a buck or two on taking care of each other here at home, and watch the sparks fly.

So when you talk irresponsible government spending, how dare you blame it all on Obama and gloss right over the illegal war costing us billions in dollars and thousands in lives?
+7 # Guest 2010-08-31 12:53
Actually, the more people who have read (or are now reading) the bill are supporting it. It's funny when people read something for themselves, instead of getting second and third hand 'news'. Only if these people would have read the Patriot Act...
+7 # Guest 2010-09-01 07:51
If 65% are opposed it's because of the propaganda from the GOP and spokesmen like Limbaugh.
0 # Guest 2010-09-03 07:32
Quoting Jason:
But it's OK to drive the Republic to the edge of oblivion with grotesquely irresponsible spending, only the start of which is "health care" bill that 65% of The People are opposed to.

Dear John,
Thanks for the voice of reason. Treat 94 minuses you received from the crowd on this page as a the highest compliment. Let's remind these do-gooders that the road to hell is frequently paved with good intention.
+43 # Guest 2010-08-30 12:27
America as we know it today is a joke and the world is laughing at it and the Americans still don't get it
+2 # Guest 2010-08-31 12:49
My concern is that we haven't gotten to the "punch-line" yet.

Some parts of the world are laughing, though it's the parts of the world that are "re-loading" that we should be very worried about.
+13 # Guest 2010-08-30 12:46
the blacks and the hispanics combined outnumber these people 4-1. getting them to vote is the key, and we wont have to worry about the right until they start shooting, and seeing as how they have allowed anyone to get a gun, we will be on a level playing field. as the idiot said ''bring it on''
+1 # Guest 2010-08-31 09:42
Quoting joe donahue:
the blacks and the hispanics combined outnumber these people 4-1. getting them to vote is the key, and we wont have to worry about the right until they start shooting, and seeing as how they have allowed anyone to get a gun, we will be on a level playing field. as the idiot said ''bring it on''

You're absolutely right, if people, especially people of color, would just VOTE, we'd see real change. Which is exactly why, when it comes to making voting easier and more convenient, Republicans always seem to be so adamantly opposed. Hmm...
+56 # Guest 2010-08-30 12:48
Jason, Let's not forget that the Bush cabel drove the "Republic to the edge of oblivion with grotesquely irresponsible spending". Obama inherited some of the ugliest set of problems a president could have and still the Republican ilk can straight facedly accuse this new administration of exactly what the republicans have been doing since it took congress 14 years ago.
+42 # Guest 2010-08-30 12:54
It's the "dumbing down of America" educational system that has caused people not to think for themselves and believe everything Rush and his like say, as if they were the great gurus of policial science.
+20 # Guest 2010-08-30 12:54
The ol' Democrats vs Republicans circus is pure show biz. Politicians on both sides of the isle receive most of their campaign contributions from the same corporate special interests that really drive this country ... as well as the rest of the world.
+7 # Guest 2010-08-30 23:06
You have to be kidding Gus. This is some lousy show biz. We all know that politicians get money from various corporations, or they cant "run".

But this is nothing less than the right wing, corporations and Wall street in unison determined to take the president down. So the country will go to hell too?? That will be collateral damage.

Krugman is spot on. The gop are a bunch of cowards. I do believe that a few of them respect the President and probably also think the craziness has gone TOO FAR . BUT NOT ONE OF THEM SAYS A WORD. THEY DISGUSTS ME. They are a despicable lot.
+4 # Guest 2010-08-30 23:31
Continued. The gop should realize, that the rest of the world is watching the madness. They are totally losing respect for us. AND THE TALIBAN JUST THANKED US. FOR THE LOONIES PROTESTING THE MUSLIM CENTER IN NEW YORK IS A GREAT RECRUITING TOOL FOR THEM.


Who is winning while the right is destroying our country?? THE CHINESE.
They may soon suggest that the dollar should no longer be the worlds "Coin"
The yen should, and since they are OUR BANKER, THEY MAY WIN.

There is a lot at stake here.

VOTE VOTE VOTE vote vote
+53 # Guest 2010-08-30 12:54
Poor Jason! You don't get it, do you? "Grotesquely irresponsible spending" includes the budget-busting tax breaks for the rich pushed onto us by George W. Bush ans his GOP gang, a war on Iraq into which the Repugicans and their Bush/Cheney "leadership"lie d us into, deals brokered by Cheney and his fat-cat oil lobby which has cost up trillions, and Wall Street crimes that we still don't know about. Jason, it was Reagan, Bush and Bush, Jr., who led us to the mess we are in.
+44 # tuandon 2010-08-30 13:21
It cracks me up to see Republicans moaning about "taking the country back." Hey, it's MY country, too, and I don't want you to "take it back!" And of the 65% of those opposed to the health reform bill, 27% did so BECAUSE IT DID NOT DO ENOUGH!!!!! I am one of those. The Rightists are racist, anti-Semitic, and anti-immigrant. As far as I am concerned, the Republican Party is the social, moral and political heir of the Know-Nothing Party of the 1880s and the Ku Klux Klan. And you are NOT going to "Take back the country," not while I have a breath left in me!
+18 # Guest 2010-08-30 13:25
Sadly, the republican party serves bolstering the wealth of the rich at the expense of the middle class and the poor...

Slavery changed... it's now economic... The poor can't afford much... and even less with all of the regressive taxation and resource use fees... think about the last time the poor could pay use fees to use a park...
+23 # Guest 2010-08-30 13:44
What I think people should take away from this is: For the last 30 years the Democrats have been caving in bit by bit until it is now a right of center party and no longer has a functional relationship with its progressive base. It can barely defend the New Deal anymore. All this time they have been accusing progressives of being unrealistic dreamers. They think that they are the pragmatic savvy pros who can actually get things done. Well what has all that compromising gotten them? What do they have to show for it? They were too cowardly to open investigations into the Bush administration when they took the House in 2006. So now they are likely to get investigated once they lose it. So who’s savvy? Who’s pragmatic? Who gets things done?
+6 # Guest 2010-08-30 15:22
I call them the Wussocrats.
+15 # Guest 2010-08-30 14:09
"Irresponsible spending...irre sponsible spending..." the Republican chant will continue because it works with the vast majority who are too apathetic, lazy, or confused to try to understand "what's goin' on."

The message for Democrats is how do we awaken the sleeping giant of masses? Or will they remain in a state of eternal media and celebrity saturated bliss?

For those of us who care the only solution may be a foreign retirement. (Italy, Spain, maybe Ecuador anyone ?)
+15 # Guest 2010-08-30 15:38
[quote name="wfalcone" ]"Irresponsible spending...irre sponsible spending..." the Republican chant will continue because it works with the vast majority who are too apathetic, lazy, or confused to try to understand "what's goin' on."

It will continue to work because the Democrats are too feeble to challenge the Republicans on what it is they will have to cut in order to lower taxes. People start turning left when they realize they don't want their school budgets cut, they don't want to pay more for mass transit, they don't want social security cut, they don't want food stamps cut, they don't want medical benefits cut, they want the postal service 6 days a week, they don't want to privatize their drinking water, and on and on it goes. This is a liberal left leaning country when you focus in on reality. Force Republican to be specific and they start to weaken and get evasive because they know this.
+3 # Guest 2010-08-31 07:37
We may be "liberal left leaning" but what good is this if the so called "liberal left" masses who expect their public services don't even realize it and continue to vote against their self-interests ? How do the Democrats create an affective message to offer a counter-balance to the right's media machine?
+1 # Guest 2010-08-30 21:46
I'm already in mexico and left in 2006 because of all of this and more. Come on down..don't believe what you read...thanks for your comments
+22 # Guest 2010-08-30 14:41
The reality is - if you don't stand with the Democrats and vote for every Democrat you can, then the Republicans will win, take control again and continue to ruin our country far faster and far worse then anything the Democrats would do.

Voting for anybody else is voting for the Republicans.

That's how Bush became President! Not voting at all is STILL a vote for the Republicans.

If you’re disappointed now, how disappointed will you be when the Republicans win.

VOTE!!! Tell your friends that voted for Obama to VOTE. WE MUST VOTE!!!

+1 # Guest 2010-08-31 19:23
If you are under 30 years old I guess I can cut you some slack. But at my age I don't believe this anymore. If a truly progressive vision is ever going to take hold in this country the Democratic Party is going to have to just die a natural death. You need to take the blinders off and see who they really are. It may be too late for you but you have a long way to go.
0 # Guest 2010-09-11 14:40
Quoting Russell Branca:
If a truly progressive vision is ever going to take hold in this country the Democratic Party is going to have to just die a natural death.

Yeah, that's right, just like Ralph Nader and the Green Party helping to put George W. Bush in the White House made everyone realize that we needed to turn to Ralph Nader to be our saviour! Yeah, there was NO difference between George Bush and Al Gore; Al Gore would have ignored warnings in August of 2001 that al Qaeda was determined to attack the US, so that he could enact the plans of the PNAC to invade Iraq; Gore would have turned unprecedented surpluses into unprecedented deficits by giving away the store to the wealthy, at the expense of everyone else; Gore would have tried to destroy Social Security. If you don't like what is happening in the Democratic Party, then get involved party and change what you don't like.
+12 # Guest 2010-08-30 15:05
right on Russell

The Dems are so afraid of speaking their REAL voice, that they've lost it.

The Republicans say what they mean, and mean it is, and lies to boot. They say anything to get the public aroused.... and aroused we are. And that feels better than being narcotized.

If the Democrats would listen and really Hear the Progressives in Congress and it's citizens, we might actually have a VOICE that is heard and would actually arouse the citizens. As it is we have to do it ourselves.

Yes, the children have to grow up, leave home, mommy and daddy, and Be The Ones We've Been Waiting For.
+6 # Guest 2010-08-30 20:03
yes, earth girl and Johnathan you are right. I have been reading all the comments and by golly I like them with an exception. Your anger and disgust with the gop is something we need to harness and use it to beat the gop over the head with.

We have TWO MONTHS to wake up the dems and the reasonable independents.

A number of organizations, liberal leaning are preparing an ad campaign to inform people about the good things in the health-care bill. HIGH TIME I think.

I believe that will enlighten a lot of people who really need help. Hopefully they understand and can see WHICH PARTY WILL DO SOMETHING FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS.

We also have to keep asking the gop what it is they want to do if they get the majority? I am sure that most of our citizens will not like what the have to sell. Which is why they keep mum, so we have to pressure them.
0 # Guest 2010-08-30 15:19
George Bush got us into financial difficulties, but Barack Obama continues to increase the indebtedness by continuing an unwinnable, untenable, unnecessary war in Afghanistan.
+8 # Guest 2010-08-30 15:28
The leader of Germany in 1930 used the Church, fooled the people and played the media, as the Republicans have the Tea Party do, -- and I predict a combination of Fascism, Socialism and McCarthyism of the leadership beginning 2012. God fell asleep in 2000, and the wealthy supposed Christians picked G.W.Bush to play God, used Obama as a patsy, - and now plan Palin to fill in for God this time. Do hope he wakes up soon.
+2 # Charles Bowman 2010-08-30 18:54
I would rather free speech were abolished than the likes of Murdock and Goebbels be allowed to incite the goonies to self destruction and the nation to madness. Mr Krugman, only you stand between me and the squelching of free speech. Thank you for this excellent article and know that we are prepared for whatever follows.
0 # Guest 2010-08-31 16:34
Most other countries have reasonable limits on speech, such as laws prohibiting hate speech and incitement to violence.
+8 # Guest 2010-08-30 19:37
Man, you folks just don't get it. Your are right to complain but your complaints without contrast with how much worse our country would or will be if the Republicans take over will just help them win. At this point you all better get on the band wagon or expect this November to be a blood bath. Things didn't get done the way you wanted because we don't have ENOUGH seats. We need all of your help to get as many Dems elected. If you voted for Obama you should have at least enough sense to support him or everything will get much worse with more deregulation, more corporate interests, more trickle down. None of the conservative ideology has ever worked except for the wealthy. Look how the middle class has lost wealth and the extraordinary increase of wealth of the very few since Reagan. Vote for your Dems whether you like it or not... Wake Up and Get Real. Tell your friends to VOTE!!!!
+8 # Guest 2010-08-30 21:15
Why is the media afraid to tell the truth? The Republican party has been hijacked by the Radical Religious Right. Several of our congresspeople are Fundies and evangelicals who are determined to turn us into a theocracy. We cannot let this happen. the Dems outnumber them. they must all be made to understand that their vote is crucial to keep this from happening.
+4 # Guest 2010-08-31 07:56
The problem with politics today is the institutionaliz ed news medias. They are as dishonest as the policticans themselves. The US news media relies on profits in advertising politics and it doesn't matter to them who gets elected as long as they pay up front!
+6 # Guest 2010-08-31 08:09
We are witnessing the decline of the Rome all over again. The trival public adversarial dogma cloaked in pervasive racism will ultimately lead to the decline of the middle and finally insurrection. The method used by the far-right and the super rich is fear, half-truths and blatant lies. The big mistake on the part of some on the left in their attempt to appease and negotiate with that element. If and when that element regain power, you will see their true colors.
+1 # Guest 2010-08-31 12:38
Government of the people, for the people, by the people will only succeed if the people can think clearly for them selves or at least recognize the clear thinking of others. If the masses cannot see the nonsense spewed by Rush Limbough, Glen Beck and Sarah Palin as just that - nonsense, then I am afraid that the United States is doomed to getting the government it deserves!
-2 # Guest 2010-08-31 16:29
There won't be a 1995-type government shutdown if Republicans win control of the House, because Obama will roll over and give them all they ask for.
0 # Guest 2010-09-03 07:57
Krugman asks, "So where is this rage coming from? Why is it flourishing? What will it do to America?" The "rage" comes from the people who instinctively feel that their values associated with Western civilization are threatened. The resistance against the multicultural mainstream comes not only from people of the Anglo-Saxon descent but also from those Hispanics, African-America ns and others who associate themselves with this Western (Anglo-Saxon tradition: self-reliance, capitalism, small state, Christianity. As an atheist, I personally have issues with the religious component of this coming Great American Awakening, but the rest of the message resonates very well with me. That is why I lean reading books like Hayek's "Road to Serfdom" rather than Paul Krugman's. You do not need to have a Noble Prize in economics to figure out that since the 1960s the nation tilted far toward welfare state/socialism . I do not want to go Greek or French. Do you? Now, "gang," give minuses to my posting

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