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Krugman Subtweets, An Excellent Series

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Columnist pretends not to understand something his lavish compensation is predicated on his not understanding:

His colleague, apropos of nothing I’m sure, has a relevant apercu:

While we’re here, Scocca on Stephens’s disgraceful defense of Brett Kavanaugh’s dude process is excellent:

Reasonableness is gone. There are reasons, yes, a list of eight moments that forced Stephens to this point, but they are pure resentment and feeling. He and a friend imagined themselves accused of sexual assault, and were horrified. A columnist somewhere was cavalier about the possibility of false accusations (Stephens, as usual, misrepresents the statistics). One of Kavanaugh’s accusers struck him as dishonest, whipping him into a frenzy against all of them:

Uncorroborated plus uncorroborated plus largely uncorroborated is not the accumulation of questions, much less of evidence. It is the duplication of hearsay.

Christine Blasey Ford’s firsthand testimony, under oath, is the opposite of hearsay evidence, but Stephens has abandoned even his tenuous commitment to words and facts having meanings. He is furious—a fury shared by other high-minded conservatives—that the media reported on a bar brawl that Kavanaugh started in college by drunkenly throwing ice at a stranger. The incident “resulted in no charges against him, and should never have been reported,” Stephen writes, as if the first part proves the second. The principle he’s appealing to does not exist; if it did, the recording of Harvey Weinstein admitting he groped a woman and trying to badger her into his room again would be off limits.

But there are no real rules here, beyond elite male solidarity and the will to get a right-wing justice on the Supreme Court. Donald Trump has worked alchemy on the conservative movement. He offered them the prize they wanted: a committed Federalist Society nominee, a credentialed product of their judge-making process—and then they watched as that sterling candidate transmogrified into a raving, seething avatar of Trump himself.

The way forward for Bret Stephens is the president’s way. The columnist regrets the “ugly and gratuitous way” Trump attacked Ford, as if that’s separable from the hammer-strength he so admires, but he’s proud to be on Team Bully. He is Brett Kavanaugh in the bar, attacking a stranger in the knowledge that his six-foot-eleven basketball buddy Chris Dudley will jump in behind him. Nobody’s going to disrespect him, or the people he stands for, anymore.

This is Donald Trump’s one gift to America, that the mask is torn away. The Trumpers and the Never Trumpers, Brett-two-T’s Kavanaugh and Bret-one-T Stephens, are all one thing, a united front of pure hostility, angry white men wrathful that anyone would oppose them or stake a competing claim.

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