One of the great things about NYT columnist Paul Krugman is that for a (quasi-)Nobel Laureate, he’s not very sophisticated. Outside of his brainy technical specialties, he’s mostly a KISS fan from Long Island. Krugman is kind of the Donald Trump of the Democrats the way Trump is an Elton John fan from Queens. Thus:
Paul Krugman JULY 29, 2016
… That love of country doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be, uncritical. But the faults you find, the critiques you offer, should be about the ways in which we don’t yet live up to our own ideals. If what bothers you about America is, instead, the fact that it doesn’t look exactly the way it did in the past (or the way you imagine it looked in the past), then you don’t love your country — you care only about your tribe.
And all too many influential figures on the right are tribalists, not patriots. …
This same tribal urge surely underlies a lot of the right’s rhetoric about national security. Why are Republicans so fixated on the notion that the president must use the phrase “Islamic terrorism,” when actual experts on terrorism agree that this would actually hurt national security, by helping to alienate peaceful Muslims?
The answer, I’d argue, is that the alienation isn’t a side effect they’re disregarding; it’s actually the point — it’s all about drawing a line between us (white Christians) and them (everyone else), and national security has nothing to do with it. …
What this tells you, I think, is that all the flag-waving and hawkish posturing had nothing to do with patriotism. It was, instead, about using alleged Democratic weakness on national security as a club with which to beat down domestic opponents, and serve the interests of the tribe.
Now comes Mr. Trump, doing the bidding of a foreign power and inviting it to intervene in our politics — and that’s O.K., because it also serves the tribe.
So I really don’t think Krugman gets why this column of his is so funny.
Krugman’s column about how the GOP “serves the tribe” is like Trump’s retweet of the Crooked Hillary image that drove pundits nuts in early July with conspiracy theorizing: What sinister master plan is Trump implying by retweeting a picture of Hillary that includes a six-pointed star?
But in truth, neither Trump’s nor Krugman’s brains work that way.