16 Jan 2010

Glenn Greenwald Slays Paul Krugman

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Paul Krugman failed to learn from my example and foolishly kept up an argument with Glenn Greenwald, who just obliterated him:

Nobody suggests that there’s anything wrong with hiring Gruber to perform modeling analyses and paying him to do so. That’s all perfectly appropriate; I’m all in favor of the Government’s retaining genuine experts (as Gruber is) for analysis. Nor has anyone claimed that Gruber changed his views because of these payments. The issue is the non-disclosure, and — most serious of all — the misleading attempts by the White House and others to depict him as being “objective” and independent rather than disclosing that he was being paid a significant amount of money by the very party whose interests his advocacy was advancing…

Then Greenwald quotes from Krugman’s blog post and responds:

[Krugman:] And here’s the thing: by claiming that there’s a huge scandal when nothing worse happened than insufficient care about disclosure, Greenwald and the people at FDL are actually reducing our ability to call foul on real corruption. After all, if everything is a scandal, nothing is a scandal. One of these days, perhaps soon, we’ll have a genuinely corrupt administration again — but when whistleblowers try to call attention to the misdeeds, you can be sure that there will be claims that “even liberals said that Obama did things just as bad or worse.” The crusade against Gruber is getting really destructive.

[Glenn Greenald:] For me, this is the nub of the matter. I couldn’t disagree more with Krugman’s claim here, as he as it exactly backwards. What will make it impossible to effectively call out wrongdoing by future corrupt administrations (by which Krugman seems to mean: Republican administrations) is the willingness of some people to tolerate and defend corruption when done by “their side.” The next time we have what Krugman calls a “genuinely corruption administration” which, say, secretly pays people they’re holding out as “independent” experts, the administration’s defenders will say: “how can you possibly object to our doing this when Obama did it, and not only did you fail to object then, but you defended it?”

Incidentally, I recently wrote a post “In Defense of Harry Reid and Jonathan Gruber.” What had happened was that I was listening to Rush Limbaugh when I went to the bank, and Rush was going nuts on the racist comment of “dingy Harry.” He took a break with a “and and now listen to this breaking scandal, folks,” quoted someone mentioning the payments to Gruber and said something like, “Can you believe it? These ‘experts’ are just saying what they’re paid to say; this is a hoax too like global warming. And do you people remember how mad the Left got when [some conservative] took money…?”

So that’s why I was defending Gruber; I thought the only issue was, he was doing consulting work and didn’t always announce that fact before commenting. I didn’t realize that Senator Kerry, for example, expressly read from Gruber’s work during hearings and led people to believe Kerry had no idea who Gruber was.

Ironically, when Rush attacked Gruber it was so sloppy I didn’t see the big deal, and it took Glenn Greenwald to convince me of how slimy the Democrats were on this one.

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