Amnesia strikes deep

Paul Krugman sure has a short memory.

In his column today, he writes:

The state of mind visible at recent right-wing demonstrations is nothing new. Back in 1964 the historian Richard Hofstadter published an essay titled, “The Paranoid Style in American Politics,” which reads as if it were based on today’s headlines: Americans on the far right, he wrote, feel that “America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion.” Sound familiar?

Yes it does, actually. Here’s what The Guardian‘s Oliver Burkeman wrote after interviewing Krugman in 2003 (it’s worth noting that at the time of this interview, Krugman was promoting a book with the paranoid title, The Great Unraveling):

“One of the Democratic candidates – who I’m not endorsing, because I’m not allowed to endorse – has as his slogan, ‘I want my country back’,” Krugman says, referring to the campaigning motto of Howard Dean. “I think that’s about right.”

Or, to quote a state department official who put it pungently to a reporter earlier this year, describing the dominance of the Pentagon hawks: “I just wake up in the morning and tell myself, ‘There’s been a military coup’. And then it all makes sense.”

During the Bush years, Krugman wanted his country back. Then, presumably, he got what he wanted. Now all of  a sudden he’s worried that an “ominous,” “grotesque,” and paranoid political movement is trying to subvert the good work of the president of the United States.

I just wake up in the morning and tell myself, “There’s been a collective loss of memory.”

And then it all makes sense.

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