Monday, May 26, 2008


A few months ago, Paul Krugman admonished Obama supporters, accusing them (without empirical evidence) of being full of vitriolic hatred towards Mrs. Clinton. In the same paragraph, he implicitly compared Obama to Bush (could there be a more...vitriolic comparison for a Democrat?).

Krugman was incensed that some Obama supporters might not support Clinton in the fall:

I won’t try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody. I’m not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality. We’ve already had that from the Bush administration — remember Operation Flight Suit? We really don’t want to go there again.

What’s particularly saddening is the way many Obama supporters seem happy with the application of “Clinton rules” — the term a number of observers use for the way pundits and some news organizations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent.

Of course, shortly afterward, the empirical evidence available pointed to the exact opposite phenomenon. And the phrase "Clinton Rules," rather than referring to the double standard set by the press when it covers the Clintons, became more descriptive of the Clinton's effort to change the metric every time they were losing.

Krugman embraces these "Clinton Rules" with abandon. Notice the difference between the way he greets the feelings of Clinton supporters who are reluctant to switch to Mr. Obama:

Mrs. Clinton needs to do her part: she needs to be careful not to act as a spoiler during what’s left of the primary, she needs to bow out gracefully if, as seems almost certain, Mr. Obama receives the nod, and she needs to campaign strongly for the nominee once the convention is over. She has said she’ll do that, and there’s no reason to believe that she doesn’t mean it.

But mainly it’s up to Mr. Obama to deliver the unity he has always promised — starting with his own party.


The only reason I can see for Obama supporters to oppose seating Florida is that it might let Mrs. Clinton claim that she received a majority of the popular vote. But which is more important — denying Mrs. Clinton bragging rights, or possibly forfeiting the general election?

What about offering Mrs. Clinton the vice presidency? If I were Mr. Obama, I’d do it. Adding Mrs. Clinton to the ticket — or at least making the offer — might help heal the wounds of an ugly primary fight.

>Here’s the point: the nightmare Mr. Obama and his supporters should fear is that in an election year in which everything favors the Democrats, he will nonetheless manage to lose. He needs to do everything he can to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Krugman mocked Obama supporters earlier in the year as cultists, no better than Chris Matthews and G. Gordon Liddy worshipping the sock in Bush's flight suit--full of "venom" for wanting "their hero or nobody". He has no such harsh words for Clinton supporters now that the nomination is within Obama's grasp. All he offers is a threat. "Offer Clinton the Veep slot, or else," Krugman warns, or Clinton Democrats might not support the nominee who best represents their interests.

Who exactly, is dwelling in Nixonland now?

The truth of the matter is Hillary Clinton has recieved grotesque the hands of the press, not the Obama campaign. Conversely, Obama has recieved grotesque treatment at the hands of the Clintons, from Bob Johnson to Geraldine Ferraro to Stephanie Tubbs-Jones lauding Obama's "native dress" on television. Clinton supporters seem as incensed by her loss as they are at Obama's graciousness in response to Clinton's attacks, they wish, desperately, that he behaved in the same manner she has, because then it would provide some excuse for their continued animosity.

But he hasn't, and so Krugman and others spend a great deal of ink and pixels trying to blame phantom "Obama supporters" for this and that slight against Hillary, when in fact the press is to blame. And then they demand "restitution" in the form of the Veep slot.

If I were Obama, I'd say forget it.

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