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Memo to Paul Krugman and Rep. Van Hollen: My Search Was Not in Vain (Updated)

John on March 31, 2010 at 8:37 am

In last Thursday’s column, Paul Krugman admitted to having fun watching “right-wingers go wild.” One of the things that apparently delighted him was this map which Sarah Palin posted on her Facebook page:

Each of the cross-hairs represents a Democrat from a conservative district who voted in favor of health reform. Immediately after highlighting the map, Krugman wrote:

All of this goes far beyond politics as usual…you’ll search in vain for anything comparably menacing, anything that even hinted at an appeal to violence, from members of Congress, let alone senior party officials….to find anything like what we’re seeing now you have to go back to the last time a Democrat was president.

Really, Paul? I’ll search in vain?

The map appears on this page of the Democratic Leadership Committee website (dated 2004 during the Bush years). I guess we could argue over whether the DLC counts as “senior party officials” but they’re certainly as much a part of the party as Palin who, after all, currently holds no elected office.

Granted these are bulls-eyes instead of gun-sights, and the targets are states not individual congressmen. But we’re really splitting hairs at this point. This map and the language it uses (Behind enemy lines!) are, if anything, more militant than what Palin used in her Facebook posting.

But wait, there’s more!

When Palin’s map became an issue, Rep. Chris Van Hollen, leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), rushed on MSNBC to denounce it, telling Chris Matthews:

I really think that that is crossing a line…In this particular environment I think it’s really dangerous to try and make your point in that particular way because there are people who are taking that kind of thing seriously.

Really, Chris? So what do you think about this map?

Each one of those red targets represents a “Targeted Republican” like this one:

There’s even a helpful legend that makes it clear that’s precisely what the little red targets represent:

You’ll never guess where I found this map. That’s right, it’s on the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) website. They launched the site and the map on February 23rd of this last year, making it just over a month year old. And yet Van Hollen was quoted by Politico just today denouncing Republicans for “pouring more and more gasoline on the flames.” Right back at you, pal.

Rep. Van Hollen used MSNBC to claim Palin’s map was dangerous. In fact, the website of the organization he runs has a nearly identical map. Rep. Van Hollen should be asked to explain the differences between the two maps. Specifically, what makes Palin’s map “dangerous” and his map not so much?

Paul Krugman used the megaphone of the NY Times to state that Palin’s Facebook map went “far beyond politics as usual.” He further claimed, “you will search in vain for anything comparably menacing…from members of Congress.” Notice he didn’t say it was hard to find or rare. He said, in effect, that it didn’t exist. But since my search was not in vain, the Times should issue a correction noting that Krugman got it wrong.

Addendum: Big Jim at Gateway Pundit has dug up the ladies of the view discussing Palin’s map. Joy Behar says it looks like an “Al Qaeda Christmas card…” Will she have any similar comments for the DCCC?

Also, my earlier post debunking the rest of Krugman’s claims in the same column is here.

Correction: The map on the DCCC site was posted last February not this February. Democrats have had a full year to become outraged over this and somehow never did.

Update 1/11/2011 – This post has received international attention in the wake of the Arizona shooting. I’ve noticed that most media have picked up the DLC map and largely avoided the more recent DCCC map which included photos of specific “targeted Republicans.” I believe they are hesitant because the DCCC has removed the map and indeed the entire website it was on has been deleted. It has been suggested in the comments that this is suspicious, so I feel the need to clarify.

On February 23, 2009, the DCCC announced a new initiative to target 12 Republicans who were opposed to the stimulus bill. Here is the announcement on their blog and here it is in their “newsroom.” Both announce the creation of a new website and a new map:

The DCCC is also launching a new webpage,, designed to educate people about the benefits of the economic recovery bill and how it will impact their district. The site includes an interactive map that illustrates the job creation and tax cuts by state, information about targeted Republicans; and a petition where people can voice their outrage about Republican opposition.

The announcement was covered by the media and the website was active, with the map shown above, when I wrote this post 13 months later. Sometime in the past 8 months, the map and the entire site have been removed by the DCCC. Links to that URl are now redirected to another page on the DCCC site. Unfortunately, there is no cache of the original site in Google and the DCCC has not allowed its site to be archived by the Internet Archive since August 2008. Normally, this would make it impossible to find visual proof.

However, the DCCC was a bit sloppy cleaning up its mess and forgot to delete the Recovery for America Facebook page which is still live. In case this disappears, here’s a screenshot of the full page and here’s a detail showing the map:

The evidence is irrefutable that the DCCC did run this campaign, including the map, with bullseyes over specific “targeted Republicans.” But if you want to see it with your own eyes, better have a look now. I suspect that Facebook page won’t be around for long.

Addendum: Helpful commenter David has managed to dig up the Internet Archive version of the page. The targets are missing from the map, but you can see the original layout and over in the sidebar is the map legend which includes the graphics that were used on the map including the red bullseye that is labeled “Targeted Republicans.”

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