I returned home after the Patriot Day celebration yesterday and checked my e-mail — and found a significant amount of outrageous outrage over Paul Krugman’s blog post for today at the New York Times. It reportedly dropped off the site for a little while, but if so it reappeared by the time I had the chance to read it. What did Krugman say that was so outrageous? Well, for one thing, he referred to George Bush and Rudy Giuliani as “fake heroes” and called the anniversary of 9/11 “an occasion for shame”:
What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.
A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?
Yes, that’s a nasty partisan attack on a day when most of us try to frame our commemoration of the anniversary in non-partisan terms. Our radio station here in the Twin Cities is unabashedly conservative, yet we were proud to welcome two members of Minnesota’s delegation to Capitol Hill for our observance at the state capitol: Rep. John Kline (R) and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D). Both spoke movingly of their memories of the event and what it meant for them and for all Americans. We also had a variety of speakers from the military and first-responder communities who didn’t offer any partisan views on the event, either. That’s a classy way to deal with 9/11 observances, and it’s worth noting that President Barack Obama shared the stage with President George W. Bush for today’s Ground Zero commemoration as well.
But otherwise, I don’t have a problem with political debate on anniversaries of 9/11. The fact that we’re free to do so is a reason for celebration. That’s one reason I find it hard to get worked up over this blog post, but the other is that it’s such a lousy piece of writing. It’s nothing Krugman wouldn’t say (and probably does say) the other 364 days out of the year, and Krugman says it in pretty much the same vacuous manner of the everyday sufferers of Bush Derangement Syndrome. After reading this, you seriously have to remind yourself that the New York Times pays Krugman to write it; this wouldn’t even pass muster for a Letter to the Editor at most newspapers. It’s so trite, sad, and cliched that it’s hardly worth the effort to rebut. He’s mailing this in from 2003. It’s as if Krugman hasn’t bothered to think about 9/11 in the past ten years at all, which says a lot more about Krugman than it does about 9/11.
And for that matter, so does this:
I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.
Yes, the reasons are obvious, but it’s equally obvious that Krugman doesn’t have a clue what they are.