13 Feb 2009

PC Police String Up Kling on Bogus Charge

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Lately Arnold Kling has been fending off accusations of being a racist, because he (foolishly) had a blog post saying the stimulus bill was really about “reparations” and then at a Heritage Foundation/Club for Growth event, he called the Obama crew a bunch of thugs. Here is how Vanity Fair blogger James Wolcott described it:

A few days ago notice was taken…of economist Arnold Kling’s contention that the Obama stimulus plan was actually “reparations” in disguise. Given the complexion of our new president, this was interpreted as injecting a needless bit of race-baiting into the economic debate…

And there the matter might have rested had not Kling surrendered to heat of candor today at a Heritage Foundation/Club for Growth confab and decried, “Barack Obama is destroying my daughter’s future. It is like sitting there watching my house ransacked by a gang of thugs.”

Now if Kling can’t comprehend the implication of racial menace encoded in daughter-gang-thugs/home invasion, he’s either fatuously clueless–too innocent for this wicked world–or weaselly disingenuous, and a drama queen either way. Did he feel the sanctity of his home was being violated when the costs of the Iraq war shot into outer space? Did he picture marauders smashing cherished mementoes when Hank Paulson introduced TARP? Anytime Obama’s name and “thug” are thrown in close proximity, it’s a pretty sure bet that the speaker or author intends to fan the anxiety and animosity of those who think Obama’s presidency represents black grievance gloved with the iron fist of the state–and out to punish whitey.

But if you watch the first 70 seconds of the clip below, you almost feel embarrassed for Wolcott. Oops. I’m sure the apology will come out after the long weekend.

BTW, Kling mentions here that Krugman repeated the quote. Incidentally, I personally have no problem with the Times not “fact checking” an op ed columnist’s quotes. But if Krugman doesn’t post a clarification–not necessarily an apology–on his blog, well, I don’t know what. I’m already not his best friend.

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