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In his war on Sanders supporters, Krugman forgets about Iraq

US Politics
on 25 Comments

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has been at war with Sanders supporters, dismissing them as Bernie Bros and claiming all the “serious ” health care advocates are with Hillary Clinton. He’s also been passive aggressive, complaining about nastiness from Sanders supporters while insulting them. Whether his criticisms of the Sanders plan are right I couldn’t say– they might be, but he isn’t acting like someone only driven by policy concerns. He wants to discredit Sanders supporters as name-calling irrational personality cultists and is attempting to do so with name-calling.

Today he outlines two theories of what is wrong with America, claiming that Sanders focuses on the corrupting power of money, while Clinton sees the problem of racism and as before, Krugman sees Clinton’s view as superior. Interesting, but whatever one thinks of this theory (I think it is both bigotry and money which are the problems without granting that Clinton is the better candidate), what is missing here?

Foreign policy. American militarism. American support for thuggish allies. The utter catastrophe of US foreign policy in the Middle East. Sanders has been bad, but Clinton has been much worse, supportive of the Iraq invasion (which in a just world would have much of America’s political class on trial for war crimes), supportive of Israel, mocking Obama in 2008 for saying he wanted to talk to Iran. I assume she supports the Obama policy of helping the Saudis as they commit war crimes in Yemen. And by the way, is there any bigotry involved in our support for Israel when they bomb civilians? Or does that not count?

Has Krugman mentioned any of this? Yeah. Blink and you could miss it.

Clinton’s support for the Iraq invasion? Oopsie. It was a “special” time, as he says in a parentheses. Yeah, a massive terrorist attack, public hysteria, and cynical people with an agenda use this as an excuse to invade a country which had nothing to do with it, killing hundreds of thousands, creating millions of refugees, and creating a situation where jihadism can thrive. And why did Clinton and some other centrist liberal Democrats support this? Maybe some of the corrupting forces of bigotry and money cross party lines.

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25 Responses

  1. Donald
    January 29, 2016, 11:38 am

    Not sure if Phil will have time to put it in, but the post above is missing a link to where Krugman mentions in passing Clinton’s support for the Iraq invasion. (This is what motivated my sarcastic remark about blinking and missing it.) Here’s the link–®ion=Body

    • Krauss
      January 30, 2016, 1:05 am

      Krugman’s hysteria has been totally astonishing to witness. I used to respect the man, now he’s just a slimebag.

      • Donald
        January 30, 2016, 9:28 am

        I’m old enough to remember what he was like in the late 90’s, when people were protesting the conditions in sweatshops. Krugman was extremely condescending towards the protestors and always argued against the straw man caricature of their position. Bush’s campaign in 2000 radicalized him to some degree and he became the liberal/left champion–he also agreed that the 90’s Washington Consensus on so-called free trade and global economics and the glories of the free market (the stuff Tom Friedman was always pushing) was wrong. I think Joseph Stiglitz might have convinced him there, but I’m speculating. But he seems to be partly returning to his 90’s persona.

  2. echinococcus
    January 29, 2016, 12:05 pm

    In his war against Sanders opponents, Donald forgets about Iraq.

    Sanders voted Yea to the AUMF ( which was the essential basis for invading Iraq, as Bush had already certified that Iraq was involved in 9/11 as required bythe AUMF. The specific Iraq vote was not the one that counted. At that vote, Sanders had to provide a gesture to pacify his base that had had more than enough of his usual warmongering. He got his revenge by later voting yes to the war budget.

    Also, it’s not like Sanders ever saw a war he wasn’t supporting, at least since Kosovo. Check it out. Or any military budget or any “Israel” gift budget he’d oppose or even not vote for. Anyway, I’m not defending Krugman, whose support to the Empress is not anything to brag about either. But she’s not any “worse” than Sanders (who simply caucuses with Herzog and the Zionist Bloc and J-Street, instead of the Likud and AIPAC and Co. like the Empress.) The “liberal” Zionists are way more dangerous.

    What are you trying to do? Get us to adopt a Zionist, imperialist warmonger as the little lamb, its fleece white as snow?

    • Donald
      January 29, 2016, 12:34 pm

      I have no interest in puffing Sanders as great on foreign policy–he’s less bad than Clinton is all I’d claim.

      So in case you missed the point, it was that Krugman keeps writing columns about how terrible Sanders is and how great Clinton is and almost never mentions the elephant in the room, which is her unbroken streak of militarism. I don’t want to rewrite the post because I’d just say the same things all over again, but it wasn’t a defense of Sanders, but a critique of Krugman’s Clinton worship and the cynicism of his approach.

      • Donald
        January 29, 2016, 1:19 pm

        Coincidentally, Larison has a short little post on the differences and similarities between Clinton and Sanders on foreign policy.

      • Boomer
        January 29, 2016, 4:50 pm

        re “Krugman keeps writing columns about how terrible Sanders is and how great Clinton is and almost never mentions the elephant in the room”

        It was much the same when Clinton was running against Obama. I used to read Krugman religiously, but got turned off by how he indulges his bias on such matters with excessive rhetoric, often with questionable support. And (not sometimes, it turns out) inconsistently. Not that Obama didn’t have weaknesses, but Krugman’s criticisms back then often didn’t include real reasons. Perhaps Krugman had private information about Obama he didn’t care to share, but that doesn’t make for a reasoned analysis. I wouldn’t dream of questioning his analysis on economics, but on other things his authority to speak imperiously seems less impressive.

      • echinococcus
        January 29, 2016, 10:16 pm


        I didn’t miss the point, as you define it. I would only appreciate, I’m not saying evidence, but at least any twinkle suggesting that BS might be any “less bad” than Clinton –except in speech with no consequence directed at the gullible.

        Of course the Empress is one of the worst waking nightmares anyone can have and Krugman is a slug, a fellow writer of the Friedmans and Rude-Orens. Please note that on this site here the only thing that we all have in common is supposed to be Palestine –none of the domestic stuff they are bitching about.

      • Donald
        January 30, 2016, 12:46 am

        This site criticized the Iraq War too. I have no interest in trying to convince you that there is a small difference between Sanders and Clinton while agreeing that Sanders is also bad on Mideast issues–you could read the Larison link or Pat Lang’s blog or Kris’s post below, but it wasn’t the topic I chose to write about. I wrote about how Krugman essentially trivialized the greatest foreign policy disaster in the past few decades because he is shilling for Clinton. As for domestic policy, I brought that up because Krugman is using it to portray Hillary as a progressive pragmatic champion while again ignoring her foreign policy record. Krugman is widely respected by American liberals, so when he does this he should be criticized for it.

      • echinococcus
        January 30, 2016, 2:41 am


        The difference ‘in the supporters’ was there with Obama too, and lo and behold! all of a sudden you were given an opportunity to test that hypothesis. Not once, but twice, and look at it. I mean really, literally look at it, especially for the gulls who did vote Obama and are getting ready for a repeat.

        Larison’s piece is a major downgrade for the AC. There is nothing of substance there; Kris only repeats the same thing without ever discussing the constant objection that Sanders simply does not belong to the same faction as the Empress: she is “hardline”-Likud-AIPAC-bomb Iran now, while he is “liberal”-Labor-Zionist Bloc-J Street- destroy Iran later; of course he won’t show up to shake the Yahoo’s hand but he is with the boys who gave us the partition, the invasion, the Nakba, the Iron Wall and 4 major wars of aggression. The Liberal Zionists are the most dangerous, as they can talk about talks indefinitely and be accepted as human beings by the Europeans. Kris is not a valid reference also because of her cherry-picking od vague “positive” BS statements while he was defending the Zionist massacre, not yet concluded then, with a “right to defend itself”. I think many of us are trying to find reasons for supporting our preferred candidate for domestic reasons, self-loyalty or any other considerations, and subconsciousy trying to fit contrary facts to that frame but that’s of course only my idea.


      • Donald
        January 30, 2016, 3:08 pm

        I think you’re being such a purist on this one issue you won’t acknowledge degrees of difference. Probably no politician is good on all issues and sometimes none of them are good on one particular issue, but we can still make distinctions. It seems clear to me that Sanders isn’t great on the I-P issue. Obviously his main interest is domestic policy and for him foreign policy is a distraction. Frankly, I’ll take that– he isn’t nearly the warmonger Clinton is, even if he isn’t a hero. And your dismissal of Larison lacked content.

        I think Sanders is to Obama’s left– I fell for Obama for about two weeks, when I heard his pastor Jeremiah Wright on Moyers’s show. But Obama soon made it very clear he wanted to be seen as mainstream and not at all like Wright. I couldn’t understand where the progressive illusions about him came from. Sanders isn’t my hero either– the whole concept of a political hero is silly. But I think you go too far the other way. If I rated every candidate on all important issues the way you rate politicians on this one particular issue, I’d never vote for anyone.

      • echinococcus
        January 30, 2016, 4:30 pm


        We obviously come from very different places –metaphorically speaking at least.
        Be that as it may, I wrote –just to you– at least twice exactly why I’m dismissing both the Larisson notice and one argument of our very own Kris (as well as yours.) It was written also in the very post you are responding to. My fingers are hurting by now.

        There is nothing of substance there; Kris only repeats the same thing without ever discussing the constant objection that Sanders simply does not belong to the same faction as the Empress: she is “hardline”-Likud-AIPAC-bomb Iran now, while he is “liberal”-Labor-Zionist Bloc-J Street- destroy Iran later; of course he won’t show up to shake the Yahoo’s hand but he is with the boys who gave us the partition, the invasion, the Nakba, the Iron Wall and 4 major wars of aggression. The Liberal Zionists are the most dangerous, as they can talk about talks indefinitely and be accepted as human beings by the Europeans.

        As for the repeated argument “he isn’t nearly the warmonger Clinton is”, please get to the official record and look at all the statements and votes. All. Pay particular attention to the significance of the AUMF and the absolute worthlessness of a symbolic “nay” to the special Iraq vote, and have a look at all more recent wars. His record matches that of the Empress in most everything, except Clinton was directly murdering in an executive capacity (which Sanders is seeking) and talks tough, while Sanders always speaks of his pangs of conscience and wrings his hands before voting. So, their exact Iran deal position will be according to AIPAC or J-Street, too. Which, together with a token, will take the Palestinians and similar populations all the way to the Bronx.

        As for the multiple issues you’re considering, they are not a concern of this site (at least according to the masthead.) Here we are one-dimensional and should keep differences regarding anything else for another venue. Personally though, I am firmly convinced that there is one priority (top priorities are always alone): imperialism, period.

        If, as you rightly say, “his main interest is domestic policy and for him foreign policy is a distraction”, a support place for Palestinian resistance is not the right venue for advertising him.

    • Eric
      January 29, 2016, 6:24 pm

      Echinococcus: you are an insightful and spot-on commentator on this site, possibly my fave. Donald wrote a decent post but your comment was better — proof that nothing is more persuasive than laying out the facts that are rarely mentioned. Such as Sanders’ well-cloaked but rabid support for aggressive Zionism. Look no further than this ugly performance:

      • rugal_b
        January 30, 2016, 3:31 am

        “rabid support”,”ugly performance”, why do I get a feeling that you are extremely biased against Bernie? What is the context behind the speech? Bernie have consistently called for peace with the Palestinians and has the support of American Muslims, something no way he would be able to get if he is such a rabid supporter of Zionism.

      • echinococcus
        January 30, 2016, 4:28 am


        Why do I get a feeling that you simply don’t care what you say or write, as long as you get to confuse someone, somewhere? You could have played the video in the very post you pretend to respond to, and you would have heard Senator BS emotionally defend “Israel’s right to defend itself” by indiscriminately massacring Palestinians by the thousand in the Gaza concentration camp –while the massacre was still ongoing, albeit tapering off.

        Sanders is a Zionist who spent several months in a Kibbutz and kept an emotional, tribal attachment that is still very much on show in his passionate behavior in the movie, while spouting ignorant and cruel warmongering slogans.

        That was the first post by “rugal_b” I made the mistake to read again in a longish time; it won’t happen again.

  3. Peter Feld
    January 29, 2016, 1:31 pm

    Unfortunately if you blink you’ll miss anything Sanders has said on Clinton’s war record. He’s just canceled a planned pre-Iowa foreign policy speech. It’s his job to call her out, he clearly doesn’t want to. But, Simon & Garfunkel!

  4. lysias
    January 29, 2016, 5:42 pm

    Presumably Krugman hopes for a position in a Hillary administration.

    • echinococcus
      January 29, 2016, 10:17 pm

      Is he going to be her Reich?

      • Krauss
        January 30, 2016, 1:05 am

        It is obvious that is what he’s aiming for.

  5. Kris
    January 29, 2016, 11:04 pm

    Thanks, Donald, for this informative and interesting article. For me, the difference between Sanders and Clinton on Israel/Palestine is that Sanders actually criticized Israel for the slaughter in Gaza , while Clinton said that criticism of Israel was “unfair” and was based on “antisemitism,” , and Clinton promises that Netanyahu will be one of her first guests in the White House .

    From “The Backstory on Bernie Sanders and Israel-Palestine: Why Is He So Quiet About the Mideast Tragedy?”: , ”

    There is some evidence that these criticisms have started to make an impact on Sanders’ approach. In the last month, his campaign finally started to roll out foreign policy platforms on his website. The platform repeats much of the same U.S. foreign policy mantras about the need for a two-state solution and Israel’s right to defend itself, but also condemns “disproportionate” violence by Israel and killings of civilians by the Israeli army. Most notably, the platform calls for Israel to end its blockade of Gaza, a topic all but forgotten in U.S. discourse.

    (There is no record of Sanders attending events with the primary Israel lobbying group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), which every presidential contender makes sure to appear at. Sanders also does not speak at pro-Israel rallies, and he hasn’t traveled to the region in decades. While he is Jewish, he does not seem to align with the harsh anti-Palestinian politics of many of the mainstream Jewish organizations in the United States such as the American Jewish Committee or the Anti-Defamation League. His brother Larry supports the Boycotts, Divestment, Sanctions campaign.) .

    • Donald
      January 30, 2016, 9:23 am

      I forgot to say that your post actually makes me think better of Sanders. I’ve seen a little of the good stuff and some of the bad and I think the Larison column I linked is a short balanced account, but your post has more positive information about him that I wasn’t aware of.

  6. Donald
    January 30, 2016, 1:13 am

    This was supposed to be a reply to Kris, but I must not have hit the reply button.

    Thanks. I think the biggest difference between Sanders and Clinton on Israel and other Mideast issues would be in their supporters. Sanders supporters are more likely to try and pressure their candidate to move to the left on his foreign policy stance. I haven’t seen much of this with Hillary– her spiel on foreign affairs is about how tough and smart and experienced she is, so if you support her then you are tacitly buying into the notion that she knows best.

  7. Boo
    January 30, 2016, 11:36 am

    It’s trite to repeat — but I feel compelled to do so — that “politics is the art of the possible”. In any election, US voters are forced to choose from among a finite set of candidates. We must also rate each of these candidates on a host of factors, including policy positions both domestic and foreign — of which Palestine/Israel is of course a highly important one, but not necessarily determinative.

    In this year’s Presidential election, Bernie Sanders is the progressive’s choice for any number of reasons. Yes, his stance on P/I isn’t what we’d hope (nor is his position on gun control, for that matter). But when compared to Hillary — let’s not mention any of the GOP clown candidates! — he’s our only realistic choice. And as Kris indicates above, with Sanders there’s at least the chance of engaging him in dialogue that could lead him to modify his present position.

    I’d be remiss if I didn’t call out Krugman for his supercilious characterization of Sanders supporters as “Bernie Bros” — a puerile and sexist term that slights the legions of progressive women who reject Hillary in favor of Bernie.

    • echinococcus
      January 30, 2016, 1:48 pm

      Well, if you are the Membership Committee of the “Progressives” you should then give a clear definition of the term. In my world, no imperialist or warmonger can be considered “progressive” and Mr. Sanders has a record of supporting imperialism and inciting for war long like my arm.
      As for “realism”, there are many different ways of being realistic and you again seem to have changed that and bought a monopoly on it.
      Just sayin’.
      Also, if you are preparing to try and argue that your favorite runner is X% less of an imperialist and warmonger than any other horse on the field, I am getting typist’s cramps from repeating the same discussion with each one of the Bernie-Sistersandbrothers, multiple times for each, without any response; of course all this limited to the scope of this site, i.e. Palestine and the Middle East wars to oblige the Zionists. In particular, arguing again and again the case that “liberal” and “Labor” Zionists who didn’t show up at the Yahoo reception would be somehow less Zionist than the others. Thank you.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 30, 2016, 2:18 pm

        I am getting typist’s cramps from repeating the same discussion with each one of the Bernie-Sistersandbrothers, multiple times for each, without any response

        this reminds me of the last election season. there were long long threads about ron paul, generally making the same arguments in each one. certain posters, they could go on forever.

        for me, i gave my opinion (the same one) a few times over and then just stopped engaging because it became redundant repeating myself. and then if i had a new opinion i would post that. but i very much hope (for the sake of moderations) we don’t have endless reiterations of the same argument all the way thru the primary season. and then if he wins the primary, on thru november. just saying — in case those typist cramps get to you… i think everyone here understands your point.

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