Paul Krugman criticizes Obama supporters

The New York Times columnist says the Democratic race is turning into "Nixonland," and that the Obama campaign verges on a cult of personality.

By Alex Koppelman
Published February 11, 2008 3:37PM (EST)

It's no secret that New York Times columnist Paul Krugman has his problems with Barack Obama. But in his column Monday, Krugman made it clear that he's no huge fan of Obama's supporters, either. Decrying the bitter partisanship that he sees taking over the Democratic race and saying the campaign is turning into "Nixonland," Krugman lays the fault at the feet of Obama supporters exclusively.

"I won't try for fake evenhandedness here: most of the venom I see is coming from supporters of Mr. Obama, who want their hero or nobody," Krugman writes. "I'm not the first to point out that the Obama campaign seems dangerously close to becoming a cult of personality. We've already had that from the Bush administration -- remember Operation Flight Suit? We really don't want to go there again.

"What's particularly saddening is the way many Obama supporters seem happy with the application of 'Clinton rules' -- the term a number of observers use for the way pundits and some news organizations treat any action or statement by the Clintons, no matter how innocuous, as proof of evil intent."

Krugman also says he's puzzled by the bitterness of the campaign between Obama and Hillary Clinton, adding that "supporters of each candidate should have no trouble rallying behind the other if he or she gets the nod." He calls upon both candidates to deliver messages to that effect, writing that he'd like to see "strong assurances from both Democratic candidates that they respect their opponents and would support them in the general election."

Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton Paul Krugman War Room