Karol Markowicz Thinks Liberals Created Trump

Karol MarkowiczI’ve gotten to the point that I think Paul Krugman is irrelevant. He hardly blogs. And he has very little to say. Perhaps my thinking about him is tainted by the fact that I read a lot of economists. I’m an Economist’s View addict, so I read a lot of other economists’ blogs. I even read a fair number of academic papers. (Being able to understand economics papers is probably the biggest benefit of my physics PhD.) But last night it occurred to me that Krugman must still write his column. And given that the primary is over, it wouldn’t be yet another article about how horrible Bernie Sanders is. But instead of his newest column, I was brought to an article by Karol Markowicz, How Paul Krugman Made Donald Trump Possible.

I didn’t have to read the article. I knew what was in it. If I hadn’t decided to write this article, I wouldn’t have read Karol Markowicz’s trite “blame the other side” rant. It’s not that she’s a bad writer. But her Twitter account has pinned to the top of it a February tweet, “I’ve never voted for a Democrat and I’m not starting with Donald Trump.” She seems to be big in the “Don’t vote for Trump because he’s a liberal” camp. Anyone thinking that can’t be too deep a political thinker. But she was born in the USSR. As I’ve noted often before, people from old communist countries are often easy marks for the Republican Party. They are fooled by its ostentatious rhetoric of “freedom” combined with the authoritarianism that they find comforting (even if they don’t realize it).

Karol Markowicz’s Argument

The argument Karol Markowicz makes is that Krugman and other liberals made Trump possible because they said mean things about “reasonable” Republicans. For example, people called Mitt Romney “dangerous.” She spends quite a lot of time setting up her argument quoting that great political commentator Ellen DeGeneres. But fair enough: liberals attacked conservatives in the past. Is it not acceptable to call Romney “dangerous” without seeing Donald Trump as categorically different — and worse? Is it really the case that Republicans told themselves, “Well, liberals are going to call us terrible things regardless, so let’s nominate someone even worse!”?

If that’s the case, why haven’t the Democrats done the same thing? After all, for all of my adult life, Republicans have called every Democratic president a socialist. I remember this was especially true of Bill Clinton. Yet today, Bill Clinton is held up as almost a Republican hero. If they could get away with claiming him their own, they would.

This has reached the level where Bernie Sanders wasn’t laughed out of public life because he calls himself a socialist. Because here’s the truth: Bernie Sanders is no socialist; he’s just an old fashioned New Deal Democrat. So the effect of calling every Democrat a socialist — and in many cases a communist — has not caused the Democrats to nominate a socialist. I wonder why?

Krugman Normalized Trump!

Karol Markowicz wrote:

Yet a few weeks ago Krugman wondered how Republicans could rally around Trump “just as if he were a normal candidate.” It was exactly Krugman who normalized him! What makes Donald Trump normal to so many is that they’ve heard all the hysteria from people like Krugman.

Not really. Since the early days of the Bush administration, Krugman’s complaint hasn’t been that this or that Republican has been an outlier but that being a con artists was basically what defined the party. And he made actual arguments. The truth was that Romney, who Karol Markowicz calls a “good man,” was a con artist. His economic plan was thoroughly analyzed and shown to be a fraud. And there is no way Romney could not have known that given that the only people he could get to go along with his plan were his friends.

How Trump Is Different

There is no categorical difference between Romney’s tax plan and Donald Trump’s. And I don’t recall Krugman or anyone else saying there is. Donald Trump is categorically different in his explicit racism and that’s what people have focused on. As I (and countless other liberals) have noted, outside of his explicit racism (the Republican Party has long been simply implicitly racist) and his bizarre foreign policy (which is closely tied to his racism), he’s a standard issue Republican.

I blasted Avik Roy the other day. But at least he understands that the basis of the Republican Party’s power is racial resentment. Karol Markowicz is unwilling to admit that truth. “It’s the fault of we liberals! If only we had said that Romney was a perfectly acceptable candidate for president, the Republican base would never have voted for Trump!”? Give me a break! The same Republicans who proudly voted for Trump this year were complaining that they lost in 2008 and 2012 because McCain and Romney weren’t conservative enough.

And this “liberals created Trump” theory comes from Karol Markowicz, who appears to think that Trump isn’t conservative enough herself. Unbelievable.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

5 thoughts on “Karol Markowicz Thinks Liberals Created Trump

  1. In retrospect, I see Romney as a prototype for Trump. The oddest thing about the 2012 presidential election was that Romney’s most relevant experience, being a reasonably successful governor in a bright blue state, was so thoroughly downplayed. The main thing he ran on was being a CEO that supposedly created lots of jobs. Regardless of the factual content of that claim, you’d think it would be second on his pitch after his actual government experience. But as a governor, his signature achievement was passing the prototype for the Affordable Care Act, and crowing about that would have killed him among the Republican base. So of course he tried to be businessman running for president. It’s only natural that the next step would be nominating someone whose only experience is running a business that was supposedly very successful and employed lots of people. Governing requires compromise, and compromise is blasphemy to the current right-wing base. Rubio wanted immigration reform to be his signature issue and backed off when he realized his base wouldn’t tolerate it. Therefore, there’s no way they could nominate someone who has had in success in government, so they had to nominate a private citizen. They want to imagine that he’s exactly their dream candidate, so they nominated a con-artist who’ll tell them what they want to hear, without any pesky record to get in the way.

    So is Trump qualitatively different from past Republicans? Yes and no. Romney and Ryan were dishonest con-artists, and Trump is a much worse version. Romney’s contempt for 47% of Americans seems downright tame compared to Trump’s demagoguery. Romney may have been unusually bad by 2012 standards, but four years later he seems like a reasonable politician in hindsight. Some of that might just be presentism and the idea that every election is billed as the most important ever. But I think a bigger reason is that he paved the way. Romney showed you could routinely lie to the electorate and still be taken seriously, so is it any wonder that an even more extreme version of the same is playing out this year? If Trump has crossed a line, it’s only because Romney tip-toed up to the edge of it.

    That said, while Trump’s policies are roughly in-line with the GOP base (notwithstanding his odd affection for Putin), there is one area where he is radically different, and that’s his temperament. Policies aren’t everything. I probably agreed with Sanders more than Clinton on policy, but I thought Clinton was likely to be more capable of getting things accomplished as president. Except possibly for Ted Cruz, Trump seems to be uniquely dangerous among the GOP’s presidential candidates in that regard. I can’t imagine Marco Rubio picking a fight with a family who had lost a child in war, which is something that shows Trump has no impulse control or empathy. I don’t see John Kasich starting a war because someone made fun of his hands being small. Jeb Bush probably knows that a thirty foot wall is impractical and wouldn’t solve immigration. Scott Walker knows that you can’t renegotiate a country’s sovereign debt without consequences. Trump, then, could also be seen as an amped-up version of George W. Bush. One of the main criticisms of Bush was that he seemed incurious and surrounded himself with yes-men. Trump is that to the nth degree. I think any one of the Republicans who ran would make a bad president, but Trump is the only one I think would make bad decisions solely to assuage his fragile ego. So while Trump’s policies may not be uniquely dangerous, the man himself is, in my opinion.

    • I think you’re completely right. Not that anybody cares about debates besides the pundit class, but it blew my mind when Romney just started boldly lying. It blew the Obama campaign’s mind. They’d prepped for all kinds of angles; not that one. Conservative spin on issues is nothing new. A Republican nominee for president who knowingly and blatantly lies, that’s new. Obama was flummoxed. Anyone with half a grasp on reality was.

      And what were the headlines? “Presidential Candidate Openly Lies?” No, it was “Romney Campaign Revitalized By Commanding Debate Victory.”

      You know Donald was paying attention to that.

      • Agreed. I watched the first Romney-Obama debate, and I thought Obama won, because I knew most of what Romney said was wrong. But then everyone started saying Romney trashed him because Obama seemed kind of sleepy and didn’t answer fast enough.

        Edit: I disagree that nobody cares about debates. I think a lot of people do watch before making their final decision, though the “undecided” set is much smaller now than in previous elections.

        • Debates are weird. I don’t really understand how they affect elections. I do know that when it comes to projecting an aura of competence, every Democrat has destroyed every GOP candidate since, hell, Ford/Carter. Our side believes in democratic input on how society should be run, in which government is a key player. Their side doesn’t.

          Jimmy Carter gives a heartfelt national speech about what he believes is wrong with the country, he’s mocked for it. He crushes Reagan on everything in debates; Reagan jokes, “there you go again,” and suddenly Reagan’s the wit, Carter’s the fool. There’s lots of things we can criticize the Carter presidency for. Being less capable of doing the job, or less honorable, than dipshit Reagan is not among them.

          God, when’s the last time a Democratic president was really corrupt? Anywhere near as corrupt as GOP presidents? Carter and Obama are spotless. All Clinton had was the sex shit, which nobody else in the world would give a damn about. Every name in the Reagan/Bush 1/Bush 2 administrations was a borderline psychopath.

          Speaking of which — I was wondering today where Trump lies on the spectrum between “sociopath” (no idea what he does is wrong) and “psychopath” (knows what he does is wrong, the fact that it’s wrong is what gives him a thrill doing it.) I don’t like these psychological terms, yet they’re what we have, and you get what I’m typing.

          Trump is a moron. He’s not clever enough to be a psychopath. He’s also more malicious than a Bush or Romney, who were sociopaths. If I were doing the diagnosis, I’d be torn. And I’d probably be better than most psychologists at guessing, but that’s my not so humble opinion.

    • It occurs to me that Romney was Windows XP and Trump is Windows Vista. They were almost identical operating systems, but Vista introduced the see through windows.

      I think temperament matters too. But I think I wrote an article earlier today in which I discussed the fact that I don’t think Trump will really run his administration. It will be a return to George W Bush: a figurehead. So I doubt a Trump presidency would be much different from a Romney presidency. The only thing is that being Trump’s press secretary would be the worst job ever.

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