We say “too bitter” only because it's the bitterness that was sure to attract critics who recoil at the sight of someone so brashly casting one of the most important days in American history as a day worthy of shame—shame not on mass-killing terrorists but on America's response to them.
And once he had the critics' attention, the content of the post was too easy to attack. Krugman awoke apparently needing to swing wildly at George W. Bush, Rudy Giuliani and, weirdly, Bernie Kerik (who even remembers that guy?), who “raced to cash in on the horror,” as well as unnamed “other people” who “behaved badly.” Krugman also didn't seem to understand why the 10th-anniversary 9/11 commemorations were “subdued.” That remark invited an appropriate volume of ridicule, and it was his first sentence, so it set an unfortunate tone. The ending was no better; he used it to announce that he wasn't allowing comments “for obvious reasons.”
The post—all 181 words of it—was lame. But it wasn't wrong. Krugman's butchered point was that Bush, Giuliani and others (Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Doug Feith, Stephen Hadley, Richard Perle, Scooter Libby, etc.) exploited terrorist attacks that killed roughly 3,000 innocent people for political gain and/or geopolitical purposes that had nothing to do with what happened. It was their way of getting the U.S. Congress and the American people to get behind an invasion of Iraq that never would have been supported otherwise. Krugman also lashed out at pundits who foolishly lent “their support to the hijacking of the atrocity.”
It's all true, of course, but it's also something we knew many years ago. A more artful post might have talked about how the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index rates Iraq's government 111th out of 167 countries and worst of the “hybrid regimes,” better than “authoritarian regimes” but worse than “flawed democracies.” And it might have talked about how U.S. servicemembers are still dying there; June 2011 was the deadliest month in Iraq since June 2009 (the total number of U.S. servicemembers killed in Iraq is now stands at 4,474). Political and ethnic violence occurs regularly in Iraq, eight-and-a-half years after the lie-fueled invasion.
The point is, Krugman should have made his post more relevant and less vague. To his credit, he elaborated on his original post on Monday afternoon, adding some things that he “should have said.”
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Speaking of daily newspaper columnists, the Los Angeles Times' George Skelton reported on Sunday that Jon Coupal, head of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, pretty much single-handedly whacked the sensible tax-reform deal that state Assemblymember and San Diego mayor candidate Nathan Fletcher and Assemblymember Cameron Smyth, both Republicans, negotiated with Gov. Jerry Brown.
The bill would have provided modest tax breaks to some taxpayers and businesses, paid for by sticking it to companies that sell products in California but manufacture them and hire workers outside the state. Cigarette companies were reportedly on the hook for a big chunk of the money.
Fletcher and Smyth provided the extra votes needed for the bill to clear the Assembly with a necessary two-thirds majority. But it died in the Senate. Skelton reported that the handful of Senate Republicans whom Brown lobbied for support told the governor that they needed Coupal's blessing, which was not forthcoming.
Coupal is California's version of anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist. That's not a compliment.
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Speaking of Jerry Brown, he needs to veto Senate Bill 202 straight away. It would require all initiatives and referenda to be placed on the general-election ballot, rather than the primary ballot, and it's a brazen ploy by Democrats and labor unions to better their chances of getting measures they like passed and measures they don't like defeated. That's because primary voters tend to be more conservative than general-election voters.
We generally want pro-worker measures to fare well, but not like this. This is bad public policy.