Perhaps columnist Paul Krugman's just feeling a little touchy. After all, the Tax Policy Center, his own liberal source for his Friday attack on Rep. Paul "flimflam man " Ryan's spending-cut roadmap toward a balanced budget, actually refuted  his attack.
And the target himself didn't take Krugman's weird "flimflam sauce" attack lying down either, accusing the Nobel Prize winning economist of being "intellectually lazy " in a column in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel on Saturday.
In a Tuesday morning post on his "Conscience of a Liberal" blog on nytimes.com, "Ad What? " Krugman weakly argued he had not actually attacked Paul Ryan in "ad hominem" fashion, an assertion somewhat betrayed by the title of Krugman's Friday column was entitled "The Flimflam Man."
As I've always understood it, ad hominem attacks involve attacking the person in general rather than what the person has to say on a specific issue. It means that instead of saying that Professor X seems to have played fast and loose with the data in his latest study, you say that Professor X's mother was a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries; or, to take some non-random examples, you habitually refer to someone as "former Enron consultant Paul Krugman," or invariably bring the size of Al Gore's house into discussions of climate change.
Now, I didn't do anything like that....
Krugman is being far too modest; besides the "flimflam man" dig in his Friday column, he reasserted his opinion on Ryan's flim-flammer in a pompous blog post Friday night .
And so I don't care how Paul Ryan comes across. I look at how he has gone about selling his ideas, and I see an unscrupulous flimflammer.
For good measure, the title of Krugman's post is "How to Spot a Flimflammer." (Krugman needs to shake up the insult bag, methinks.)
Meanwhile, Atlantic blogger/economist Megan McArdle is amazed  Krugman truly thinks the Congressional Budget Office would be in charge of "scoring" Ryan's tax legislation; that's the job of the Joint Committee on Taxation (Krugman excoriated Ryan because the CBO did not score the revenue side of the Congressman's plan, though, as McArdle points out, that's not the CBO's job.)
You can follow Times Watch on Twitter .