Economist Paul Krugman: How the GOP’s ‘cowards’ are enabling its ‘crazies’

Economist Paul Krugman: How the GOP’s ‘cowards’ are enabling its ‘crazies’
Frontpage news and politics

Although some conservative Republicans have forcefully pushed back against the Big Lie and former President Donald Trump's false, totally debunked election fraud claims — including Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois — countless others are afraid to publicly speak out. And that willingness to go along to get along is also true with everything from the COVID-19 pandemic to climate change. Liberal economist Paul Krugman addresses that cowardice this week in his New York Times column, arguing that the GOP's "cowards" are doing as much to harm the United States as the GOP's "crazies."

"When we talk about the GOP's moral descent, we tend to focus on the obvious extremists, like the conspiracy theorists who claim that climate change is a hoax and January 6 was a false flag operation," Krugman explains. "But the crazies wouldn't be driving the Republican agenda so completely if it weren't for the cowards — Republicans who clearly know better but reliably swallow their misgivings and go along with the party line. And at this point, crazies and cowards essentially make up the party's entire elected wing."

Krugman slams Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey as one of the Republican "cowards" who doesn't have the backbone to stand up to her party's "crazies."

The economist notes, "Back in July, Kay Ivey, governor of Alabama, had some strong and sensible things to say about COVID-19 vaccines. 'I want folks to get vaccinated,' she declared. 'That's the cure. That prevents everything'…. Three months later, Ivey directed state agencies not to cooperate with federal COVID-19 vaccination mandates."

Krugman adds that "Ivey's swift journey from common sense and respect for science to destructive partisan nonsense…. wasn't unique." Numerous "cowards" in the GOP, according to Krugman, are willing to go along with the "extremists" in their party even though they "know better."

Going along with anti-vaxxer lies during the COVID-19 pandemic, Krugman warns, can have deadly consequences. But the GOP's "cowards," he writes, will "surrender" anyway.

"True to form, elected Republicans like Gov. Ivey who initially spoke in favor of vaccines have folded and surrendered to the extremists, even though they must know that in so doing, they will cause many deaths," Krugman argues. "I'm not sure exactly why cowardice has become the norm among elected Republicans who aren't dedicated extremists. But if you want to understand how the GOP became such a threat to everything America should stand for, the cowards are at least as important a factor as the crazies."

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