So we all know that David Brooks is an idiot. We also know that he’s a liar. But it’s unusual to hear about it from “serious” figures in the SCLM. Paul Krugman is actually a serious person–in that his brain hasn’t decomposed into lima bean paste. He’s been in a back-and-forth with the the adjacent liar, Brooks, over the question of whether or not Ronald Reagan used racist campaign tactics. Krugman’s smack down response? It was all just an innocent mistake:
[Y]ou do really have to feel sorry for Reagan. He just kept making those innocent mistakes.
When he went on about the welfare queen driving her Cadillac, and kept repeating the story years after it had been debunked, some people thought he was engaging in race-baiting. But it was all just an innocent mistake.
When, in 1976, he talked about working people angry about the “strapping young buck” using food stamps to buy T-bone steaks at the grocery store, he didn’t mean to play into racial hostility. True, as the New York Times reported,
The ex-Governor has used the grocery-line illustration before, but in states like New Hampshire where there is scant black population, he has never used the expression “young buck,” which, to whites in the South, generally denotes a large black man.
But the appearance that Reagan was playing to Southern prejudice was just an innocent mistake.
David Brooks: in his place.
Update [2007-11-11 19:10 by andgarden]: Laying the final punch
It has been pointed out to me that Reagan opposed making Martin Luther King Day a national holiday, giving in only when Congress passed a law creating the holiday by a veto-proof majority. But he really didn’t mean to disrespect the civil rights movement – it was just an innocent mistake.