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Paul Krugman: Let's Not Be Civil

Civility is dead. It was diagnosed as terminal on January 20, 2009, and by July 14, 2009 -- the day the House of Representatives reported out the first version of the Affordable Care Act -- it was dead, cold, and buried fifty feet under in a


Civility is dead. It was diagnosed as terminal on January 20, 2009, and by July 14, 2009 -- the day the House of Representatives reported out the first version of the Affordable Care Act -- it was dead, cold, and buried fifty feet under in a concrete box lined with lead to counter the radioactivity of the atmosphere above.

The killers weren't liberals or progressives, though it's true that they laughed and ridiculed pretty strongly on the Tea Party's birthday on April 15, 2009. The killers were the talkers like Rush and Beck and their many clones on the AM radio dial who had no problem saying the most outrageous things. The more outrageous they were, the better it was for the hate talkers.

Which is why it makes me laugh in a cynical, annoyed sort of way when I see the right wing go all whiny about how mean President Obama is to them. To which I say, more meanness please. Bipartisanship is dead. Civility is dead. Meanness is what's called for.

Paul Krugman:

Which brings me to those calls for a bipartisan solution. Sorry to be cynical, but right now “bipartisan” is usually code for assembling some conservative Democrats and ultraconservative Republicans — all of them with close ties to the wealthy, and many who are wealthy themselves — and having them proclaim that low taxes on high incomes and drastic cuts in social insurance are the only possible solution.

This would be a corrupt, undemocratic way to make decisions about the shape of our society even if those involved really were wise men with a deep grasp of the issues. It’s much worse when many of those at the table are the sort of people who solicit and believe the kind of policy analyses that the Heritage Foundation supplies.

So let’s not be civil. Instead, let’s have a frank discussion of our differences. In particular, if Democrats believe that Republicans are talking cruel nonsense, they should say so — and take their case to the voters.

Exactly. I'm not calling for us to start photoshopping Allen West into overtly racist pictures here, but enough with the pretense of civil discourse. When Andrew Breitbart tells liberals to STFU in public with 5,000 of them just on the other side of a barrier, civility just isn't a worthwhile goal. Conservatives' vision for this country is dark, dystopian, and deeply pessimistic. It's also hypocritical and serves only the goals of their Fortune 500 masters. It does not have to be this way.

The president's microphone wasn't "accidentally" left on last week. That's what people do when they want to say it without it being "official". That message was intentional and conservatives can't deny the truth of what he said, no matter how hard they try.

Unless we let them. David Brooks can wish on every shooting star in the sky, but there isn't going to be a beer summit and congenial lunch with Paul Ryan and the president anytime soon. Those days are past. The Party of Loons and Pessimists wants to put Mom in the hands of insurance companies, corporate providers and ration her health care while cutting her Social Security benefits to shreds. This does not call for civility. It calls for open, loud, hostile calls for attention.

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