Well, we now know why Michael Kinsley wrote those pieces he did last week: he was trolling. He reveals himself rather quickly:
One [article I wrote last week] was a defense of people’s right to oppose gay marriage. It charged that dissident voices on this subject were being suppressed (although I myself am very much in favor). I was expecting a hailstorm, but the reaction was almost disappointingly calm and reasonable.
There was actually quite a bit of criticism. Given he goes on to cite Scott Lemieux of Lawyers, Guns and Money later in the article, I have a hard time believing he didn’t read this. Or he didn’t see this article that is prominently displayed on Gawker right now. However, what is clear is he this month’s troll of Paul Krugman.
None of the arguments he makes are new. We have a “where is your plan,” “I’m the real liberal trying to save social programs,” “look, he contradicts himself,” and all the logical fallacies we are accustomed to. Joe Scarborough was beating this drum last month and Mary Matalin and George Will have made it their mission in life to stump Krugman on This Week, so no treading on new ground here. We do get a photo of Krugman in a white tie at some fancy setting with what I assume is a European monarch just to prove Krugman is an out of touch elitist (unlike man of the people Michael Kinsley).
I never understand this fascination people have with trying to prove Krugman wrong. Yes, he can be a bit prickly (I had some hard feelings towards him during the 2008 Democratic Primary) but he is sincere and makes sure all his facts are straight before talking. The fact this is an exception and not a rule tells less about Krugman and more about other pundits.
Krugman trolling isn’t anything new and after Kinsley is done, there will be someone else to do it next month. Why Chris Hughes fired Timothy Noah (who wrote a book on income inequality, one of the biggest issues of our time) and keeps giving space to some 90s wash-out doesn’t reflect well on the New Republic.