“Where Have All the Grown-ups Gone?” asks the headline over Paul Krugman’s piece marking the death of the late Republican Sen. Bob Dole.
Here are the kind words Krugman has for Dole:
"It’s not just that he was a war hero, or that he reminds us of an era in which the two parties were willing to work together in the national interest. His life story also reminds us of a time when public figures were supposed to show some sense of responsibility — to possess basic decency, to admit to mistakes when they made them, even to put their lives on the line in time of war. Human nature being what it is, many people who pretended to have these virtues were hypocrites. But at least that was the ideal, and being an obvious crook, liar or coward was politically disqualifying."
Krugman spends the rest of the piece attacking former President Donald Trump, today’s Republican Party, and (bizarrely and cruelly) Kyle Rittenhouse.
You see, by praising Dole, Krugman shows that there are some Republicans he respects, even if he absolutely, 100% to his bones despises Trump, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, George W. Bush, or any other Republican or conservative you can name.
But this is a lie. It’s another case of the old rule for the liberal media: The only good Republican is a dead Republican.
Krugman never once said a single positive thing about Bob Dole during his lifetime, as far as I can find. He also didn’t limit his critiques of the “grown-up” “war hero” to critiques of Dole’s policies. In fact, he attacked Dole on the exact same grounds he uses today to contrast Dole against today's horrible Republicans.
During the 1996 election, Krugman wrote, “It is a shame that we must choose between the lesser of two evils, but we must. Mr. Clinton's sins are venial compared with the desperate irresponsibility and cynicism of his opponent.”
Krugman explicitly attacked Dole as not being a “responsible adult.”
“We expect responsible adults to start preparing for their retirement decades in advance,” Krugman wrote, writing of the coming budget “crisis.” “Why shouldn't we ask the same of our Government? ... Mr. Clinton basically passes this test.” Dole, Krugman wrote, does not.
Again, Krugman was attacking Dole’s character, not merely his policies. “Some people say that this election is not only about policy, but also about character. I agree. But when I look at Bob Dole, I see a man who for the sake of ambition would choose to gamble with the very solvency of our Government…. Mr. Dole deserves to lose.”
When Dole was alive, Krugman attacked him as a dishonest non-grown-up of lower character than Bill Clinton. Now that Dole is dead, Krugman pretends he wishes for “grown-up” Republicans like Dole.
This happens every time.
Following the trope that “The Only Good Republican Is a Dead Republican,” expect the sort of people who hated and vilified George H.W. Bush when he was in office to spend a few days telling us how great he was—and how much better than today’s Republicans.— Robert Tracinski (@Tracinski) December 1, 2018
John McCain, according to the news media, was a wretched man who dabbled in racism until he died. Then, he got the oh, why can’t today’s Republicans be more like him? treatment. Jim Geraghty at National Review wrote about this. Rob Port at Say Anything Blog summed it up:
"Back then the Times was positing the idea that McCain was too old to be President. The paper also delivered McCain a sort of birther scandal, wondering if he constitutionally qualified to be President given that he was born in the Panama Canal Zone. They ran a front-page story accusing McCain of having an affair with a lobbyist. When the Times endorsed Obama for the Presidency in an editorial, they wrote that McCain’s campaign had 'hints of racism.' In short, back when McCain was a thorn in the side of Democrats, he was a too-old, unethical, and a racist. A Pew Foundation review of media coverage in the 2008 election cycle found that just 14 percent of it was positive for McCain."
To be fair to the media, they also fawned over McCain whenever he was annoying to the GOP establishment.
George H.W. Bush got the same treatment when he was out of politics and again when he died.
Conservatives and Republicans our whole lives see decent men like Dole, Bush, Romney, and McCain get vilified and slandered while losing. The men's decency seems to be only a hindrance: It keeps the Republicans from fighting nasty, but it doesn’t protect them from being called scum.
So a sufficient number of Republicans decided to stop caring about character. That’s how we got Trump.
Krugman called Paul Ryan a conman and a fascist in 2018, so he had nothing left to say when an actual conman got the GOP nomination.
Start keeping track yourself. Follow how a major media reporter or columnist assails the character of some conservative or Republican and save it in a file. Then, when that conservative or Republican dies, see how the same media figures say "oh, why can't we have upstanding Republicans like that anymore?"