In his New York Times op-ed today Paul Krugman argues that Howard Dean, the new leader of the Democratic Party, is a moderate:
Mr. Dean is squarely in the center of his party on issues like health care and national defense. . . Mr. Dean's political rejuvenation reflects the new ascendancy within the party of fighting moderates, the Democrats who believe that they must defend their principles aggressively against the right-wing radicals who have taken over Congress and the White House.
So, let me get this straight. According to Krugman a moderate is a person who is in the center of their party. Using that logic Herman Goering was a moderate because he was in the center of the Nazi party. Kim Jong Il is a moderate because he is in the center of the North Korean Communist Party. This is an absurd way to define the term. Moderates are people like Joe Lieberman and John McCain, men who are not in the middle of their party, but in the middle of the American political landscape. Krugman's idiocy continues:
It was always absurd to call Mr. Dean a left-winger. Just ask the real left-wingers. During his presidential campaign, an article in the muckraking newsletter CounterPunch denounced him as a "Clintonesque Republicrat," someone who, as governor, tried "to balance the budget, even though Vermont is a state in which a balanced budget is not required."
So, because the people at CounterPunch are to the left of Mr. Dean, he's a centrist. This is even more ridiculous than calling him a moderate because he's in the center of his party. Krugman is saying that as long as someone is to the left of you, you're a moderate. Using this reasoning one can say that Uncle Joe Stalin was a moderate because he had Trotsky to his left. In fact, if you add Lenin to the list Stalin becomes a right winger.
And it's interesting that Krugman does not apply this logic to the Republicans. There are plenty of Republicans to the right of the administration and yet he characterizes the White House as being populated by "right-wing radicals."
The piece goes on and on in this vein. If you want to read it you can find it here.