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Memo to Paul Krugman: My Search Was Not in Vain


In a recent column, Paul Krugman admitted to having fun watching “right-wingers go wild.” One of the things that apparently delighted him was this map, which Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook page:


Each of the cross-hairs represents a Democrat from a conservative district who voted in favor of health reform. Immediately after highlighting the map, Krugman wrote:

All of this goes far beyond politics as usual…you’ll search in vain for anything comparably menacing, anything that even hinted at an appeal to violence, from members of Congress, let alone senior party officials….to find anything like what we’re seeing now you have to go back to the last time a Democrat was president.

Really, Paul? I’ll search in vain?

DLC Targeting map

The map appears on this page of the Democratic Leadership Committee website (dated 2004 during the Bush years). I guess we could argue over whether the DLC counts as “senior party officials” but they’re certainly as much a part of the party as Palin who, after all, currently holds no elected office.

Granted these are bulls-eyes instead of gun-sights, and the targets are states not individual congressmen. But we’re really splitting hairs at this point. This map and the language it uses (Behind enemy lines!) are, if anything, more militant than what Palin used in her Facebook posting.

How about something more recent:


Each one of those red targets represents a “Targeted Republican” like this one:


There’s even a helpful legend that makes it clear that’s precisely what the little red targets represent:


This map is courtesy of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Though it’s not dated, it was clearly posted within the last year. Rep. Van Hollen leads the DCCC. He was chosen for the position by Speaker Pelosi herself. Do they count as Democratic leadership? More importantly, how is this different from the map Sarah Palin posted on Facebook?

Paul Krugman used the megaphone of the New York Times to state that Palin’s Facebook map went “far beyond politics as usual.” In fact, nothing about Palin’s map or the language in her Facebook posting goes beyond what Democratic leaders have done in the past year.

Furthermore, when Krugman claimed “you will search in vain for anything comparably menacing… from members of Congress” he was making a factual claim. He didn’t say it was hard to find or rare. He said in effect that it didn’t exist. But since my search for comparable material from Democratic members of Congress was not in vain, the Times should issue a correction noting that Krugman got it wrong.

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