Paul Krugman's Double Standards on Controversial Race Comments

The left-wing columnist excoriated Trent Lott in 2002 for allegedly racist remarks at the 100th birthday party for retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond - but dismissed Sotomayor's claim suggesting ethnic superiority as an "entertaining" remark.

Liberal columnist Paul Krugman's double standards were on display recently (hat tip to tipster Bill R) on his differing reactions to controversial, racially tingedremarks by conservative Republican Sen. Trent Lott and Obama's Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

Back in December 2002, Krugman went after then-Senate majority leader Trent Lott in a column excoriating Lott's "racist" remarks while condemning the rest of the GOP with the same broad brush.

Krugman signed on to the opinion of rising liberal blogger Joshua Micah Marshall, who went after Lott for comments he made during a ceremony marking the100th birthday of retiring Sen. Strom Thurmond, who ran for president on the segregationist Dixiecrat ticket in 1948. The outcry eventually resulted in Lott's resigning his post. What Lott said at the ceremony:

"I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either."

Back then, Krugman gushed about Marshall's efforts while painting Lott and the rest of the GOP as racist:

And without the indefatigable efforts of Mr. Marshall and a few other Internet writers, Mr. Lott's recent celebration of segregation would probably have been buried as well.

My guess is that the White House believes it has now done enough. Mr. Lott has received his slap on the wrist; now we can go back to business as usual.

Bear in mind that while Mr. Bush has finally denounced Mr. Lott's remarks, he and his party benefit from the strategy that allows the likes of Mr. Lott to hold so much power. Let's not forget, in particular, the blatant attempts to discourage minority voting in South Dakota, Louisiana, Maryland and elsewhere. It's about time for those of us in the press to pay attention, and let this great, tolerant nation know what's really going on.

Lott's statement, insensitive as it was, arguably dealt with matters of federalism, not specifically race, while Judge Sotomayor was undeniably and specifically referring to race when she told an audience in 2001:

I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn't lived that life.

Did Krugman come out against Sotomayor's racialist comments, which contained more than a whiff of ethnic superiority? Um, not exactly. In fact, on ABC's "This Week" program this Sunday, Krugman defended Sotomayor's "wise Latina woman" characterization as some kind of joke (now liberals develop tolerance for ethnic humor!), even though it was not off the cuff but delivered from a prepared speech.

Politico's Josh Gerstein reported on Krugman's Sunday comment, whereKrugman suggestedSotomayor was just"trying to be entertaining,"a benefit of the doubt he certainly didn't provide to the conservative Republican Lott.

"This was a speech," New York Times columnist Paul Krugman pointed out Sunday on ABC's "This Week." "The famous line comes from a speech where she was trying to be entertaining...Have I somewhere along the line said, I'd like to think that bright Jewish kids make the best economists. I probably have somewhere along the line. It doesn't mean anything."