Paul Krugman reminds us of how distinguished players on the right "accused Bill and Hillary Clinton of everything from drug smuggling to murder."
. . . 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.Krugman asks where the rage is coming from, why it's flourishing and what it will do to the country.
What we learned from the Clinton years is that a significant number of Americans just don’t consider government by liberals — even very moderate liberals — legitimate. Mr. Obama’s election would have enraged those people even if he were white. Of course, the fact that he isn’t, and has an alien-sounding name, adds to the rage.I interpret this to mean that one of the motivating factors behind the ugly name calling, the grotesque pictures and the tacky misspelled signs we've been hearing and seeing over the last two years just might be attributed to racism?
Krugman mentions Jane Mayer's recent article in The New Yorker about the super rich Koch brothers, their war against Obama and how they use their power and money to exploit and promote the rage on the right. He notes that Mayer points out "only the scale of their effort is new: billionaires like Richard Mellon Scaife waged a similar war against Bill Clinton."
Take all the Tea Party rallies where men and women in silly hats with bags of tea bouncing around in front of their eyes were bussed in from the hinterlands to disrupt town-hall meetings. And take this past weekend when some 2500 Americans for Prosperity Foundation activists ate and got high on Koch on the eve of Beck's religious revival.
Few among the rank-and-file recognized the billionaire David Koch -- heir to the fortunes of Koch Industries -- or knew him as the man who bankrolls their activism, whose largess subsidized many of their trips to the nation's capital to take part in AFPF's organizing conference, and the Beck rally the following day."The right-wing media are replaying their greatest hits," writes Krugman. "Limbaugh used innuendo to feed anti-Clinton mythology, notably the insinuation that Hillary Clinton was complicit in the death of Vince Foster. Now, as we've seen, he's doing his best to insinuate that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." But there's an extra level of craziness these days: "Mr. Limbaugh is the same as he always was, but now seems tame compared with Glenn Beck."
Krugman asks the question so many Independents, Democrats, liberals and progressives have been asking over the last two years: where are the responsible Republicans, "leaders who will stand up and say that some partisans are going too far? Nowhere to be found."
He reminds us that after 9/11 former President Bush "tried to soothe religious hatred, declaring Islam a religion of peace." Angry mobs are protesting the building of mosques all across the country but where is Bush?
Where are the statements, from the former president or those in his inner circle, preaching tolerance and denouncing anti-Islam hysteria? On this issue, as on many others, the G.O.P. establishment is offering a nearly uniform profile in cowardice. (emphasis mine)If, God forbid, Republicans win control of the House, Politico acknowledges they are gearing up for a repeat of the 1990s, with a "wave of committee investigations." Several of these alleged scandals are bogus as we already know, writes Krugman.
We can expect the G.O.P. to play chicken over the federal budget, too; I'd put even odds on a 1995-type government shutdown sometime over the next couple of years.
It will be an ugly scene, and it will be dangerous, too. The 1990s were a time of peace and prosperity; this is a time of neither. In particular, we’re still suffering the after-effects of the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, and we can’t afford to have a federal government paralyzed by an opposition with no interest in helping the president govern. But that’s what we’re likely to get. (emphasis mine)Krugman ends on an even more discouraging note, advising the president to offer major new initiatives, particularly on the economic front. "But my guess is that the president will continue to play it safe, all the way into catastrophe."
I don't know if my outlook is any more optimistic. I just feel, and very strongly so, that the devil would be a better alternative to the Republicans.