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In the November 1 issue of National Review, Stephen Spruiell devotes well over 3,000 words to that pesky pundit Paul Krugman. Krugman's been trashing conservatives pretty consistently in his New York Times columns over the past year and now, it seems, the leading conservative magazine is returning the favor. Spruiell chronicles Krugman's journey from fledgling columnist to confirmed gadfly--the strident pundit conservatives see as a "crass and occasionally vicious partisan."

Krugman, writes Spruiell, is a "full-fledged subscriber to the 'institutions and norms' theory of inequality. To put it bluntly, this theory asserts--without establishing any empirical link to a policy or group of policies--that Republicans cause inequality merely by controlling one or more branches of government." Wonders Spuriell: "What happened to Paul Krugman that turned him into an example of the kind of writer and thinker he once lampooned?" His explanation, not entirely devoid of charity towards the liberal opponent:


Krugman has undoubtedly grown more partisan over the years, and that is one explanation for the course his writing has taken. But he is also a man caught in the grip of a powerful ideology he believes in his heart to be true--an ideology that came back into vogue for an all-too-brief spell before losing favor again for reasons Krugman believes to be unjust. ... Krugman thinks he’s had the misfortune to be born a Professor Seldon in a world that does not give real power to such types. But he is more like Captain Ahab, leading his diminishing crew of followers on a doomed quest in search of the great white stimulus package that will redeem us or destroy us, but either way will finally silence all those doubting voices.

Krugman isn't the only New York Times columnist getting his dose of National Review scrutiny. On Saturday, Dana Perino penned a post entitled "Mean Maureen." Perino says she "used to enjoy reading Maureen Dowd," but found her column "about mean Republican and conservative women ... stereotypical and uncalled for." In response, Perino shows off a little meanness of her own :


Perhaps she was a mean girl. Or maybe mean girls picked on her. Not in high school, but in adulthood -- and now she can think how powerful she is by writing catty columns on America's most liberal editorial page. A column like today's keeps those cocktail-party invitations coming.

Next! Tom Friedman: care for a takedown?

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