Monday, November 01, 2004

Close to the edge

Paul Krugman has emerged in this election cycle as one of the truly great American commentators. By being able to skewer either side, his credibility seems unimpeachable. Of course, during this election cycle he has been kept very busy mainly critiquing the right, as not only have they been in control of the bulk of the Americal political landscape, but have also been the ones who richly deserve the bulk of the criticism.

Here he is in an interview with The Texas Observer:
We’re right on the edge between those two possibilities. Things have shifted quite a lot over the past few days. On the one hand, the ruling party really doesn’t believe in democratic norms. They’ve been trying to rig the election in a number of ways, and they’ve rolled out [the idea] that a vote for John Kerry is a vote for the terrorists, in effect. That’s a deeply undemocratic thing, and if they win, they will try to institutionalize that. On the other hand, if they lose and the records are opened—it’s pretty obvious that it will be devastating. So it’s a weird moment. You feel like people are noticing the nakedness of the emperor—finally—but either just at the last minute or maybe not quite in time.

What happened here after 9/11 was this adulation for the leadership that completely swamped any rational perception of who these guys were and what they were like. [The first presidential] debate had an effect partly because it was as if for the first time in three-plus years, people were able to see without the shroud of glory. column to Kerry, my open letter to him if he wins, will be: Do not be magnanimous. You need to expose and dismantle this machine.

We’re within inches of having most of the world, actually all of the world, and quite a few Americans, believing that we’re no longer a functioning democracy. That could happen a month from now. Moderates and liberals made a terrible mistake in 2000. Their attitude was well, this was very bad, but the right thing to do was to basically gloss over it and pretend it’s okay. That just encouraged these guys. It should have been a mobilizing point.

Sound like hyperbole, you think? Not at all. Reconsider all the actions of the Right, many of which are clearly intended to delegitimize the entire Left side of the political spectrum, and you will have the truth.

Don't know if it will set you free, however.

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