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Paul Krugman Takes on Bushie "Theocrats" and Their "Strategy of Infiltration"

Horrors! "But did you know that Rachel Paulose, the U.S. attorney in Minnesota...is, according to a local news report, in the habit of quoting Bible verses in the office?"

Economist Paul Krugman was hired by the Times to write about, well, economics, but his current fan-base comes from his predictable, heavy-handed attacks on the GOP and the Bush administration, often cribbed from whatever points left-wing websites are pushing that week.



The text box to Friday's column, "For God's Sake," set the paranoid tone: "Invasion of the theocrats."


"In 1981, Gary North, a leader of the Christian Reconstructionist movement - the openly theocratic wing of the Christian right - suggested that the movement could achieve power by stealth. 'Christians must begin to organize politically within the present party structure,' he wrote, 'and they must begin to infiltrate the existing institutional order.'"


The actual number of Christian Reconstructionists is minute, but Krugman had no problem lumping their radical brand of Christianity to mainstream Christian conservatives in the next paragraph.


"Today, Regent University, founded by the televangelist Pat Robertson to provide 'Christian leadership to change the world,' boasts that it has 150 graduates working in the Bush administration.


"Unfortunately for the image of the school, where Mr. Robertson is chancellor and president, the most famous of those graduates is Monica Goodling, a product of the university's law school. She's the former top aide to Alberto Gonzales who appears central to the scandal of the fired U.S. attorneys and has declared that she will take the Fifth rather than testify to Congress on the matter.


"The infiltration of the federal government by large numbers of people seeking to impose a religious agenda - which is very different from simply being people of faith - is one of the most important stories of the last six years. It's also a story that tends to go underreported, perhaps because journalists are afraid of sounding like conspiracy theorists.


"But this conspiracy is no theory. The official platform of the Texas Republican Party pledges to 'dispel the myth of the separation of church and state.' And the Texas Republicans now running the country are doing their best to fulfill that pledge."


(For the record, here's what the Texas GOP platform says: "We affirm that the public acknowledgement of God is undeniable in our history and is vital to our freedom, prosperity and strength as a nation. We pledge to exert our influence toward a return to the original intent of the First Amendment and dispel the myth of the separation of church and state.")


Krugman read more names off his liberal hit list: "Kay Cole James, who had extensive connections to the religious right and was the dean of Regent's government school, was the federal government's chief personnel officer from 2001 to 2005. (Curious fact: she then took a job with Mitchell Wade, the businessman who bribed Representative Randy 'Duke' Cunningham.) And it's clear that unqualified people were hired throughout the administration because of their religious connections.


"For example, The Boston Globe reports on one Regent law school graduate who was interviewed by the Justice Department's civil rights division. Asked what Supreme Court decision of the past 20 years he most disagreed with, he named the decision to strike down a Texas anti-sodomy law. When he was hired, it was his only job offer.


This one's a stretch, evenby Krugman's exceedingly loose guilt by-association standard: "One measure of just how many Bushies were appointed to promote a religious agenda is how often a Christian right connection surfaces when we learn about a Bush administration scandal.


"There's Ms. Goodling, of course. But did you know that Rachel Paulose, the U.S. attorney in Minnesota - three of whose deputies recently stepped down, reportedly in protest over her management style - is, according to a local news report, in the habit of quoting Bible verses in the office?"


That's a weak "scandal" and an even weaker "Christian right connection."


Krugman concluded with paranoia: "The Bush administration's implosion clearly represents a setback for the Christian right's strategy of infiltration. But it would be wildly premature to declare the danger over. This is a movement that has shown great resilience over the years. It will surely find new champions."


UPDATE: At Slate, Mickey Kaus tackled the column as well: "Paul Krugman still knows how to make an unconvincing argument."