What does 'eliminationist' mean? 

Paul Krugman has a ridiculous column today in the New York Times that asserts the Tuscon shooting is "right-wing extremism" simply taken "to the next level."

Krugman's claims are utterly divorced from the facts: Jared Loughner's beef with Rep. Giffords was that she couldn't answer his incoherent question once in 2007; and no one has found the words Obama, health-care, deficit, or taxes in Loughner's insane screeds.

But the creepiest part of Krugman's column for me is his use of the word "eliminationist."

When I heard that phrase, I immediately remembered standing on 7th Avenue in New York in 2004, as a protest against George W. Bush walked past MSG, chanting, "Hey, hey. Ho, ho. FOX News has got to go."

I think Krugman wasn't referring to this. But what was Krugman talking about?

Last time Krugman went after Republican "eliminationist rhetoric," Reason Magazine's Michael Moynihan found the roots of the word:

If your dictionary is unfamiliar with the word eliminationist, that's because of the term's recent vintage, coined in 1996 by Harvard political scientist Daniel Jonah Goldhagen. In his book Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Goldhagen argued that far from being bullied and terrorized into allowing its government to commit genocide in their name, most Germans were imbued with an eliminationist hatred of Jews—i.e., a desire that Jews be eliminated from Aryan society—which transitioned smoothly into an exterminationist orgy of violence.

Of the 40 references to "eliminationism" in the Times archive, all but one refer to the destruction of European Jewry. The sole standout is Krugman, who, as we have seen, is referencing the Republican Party's opposition to health care legislation.

On one hand, there's plenty more to day about Krugman's column. But in the end, the column speaks for itself.

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Timothy P. Carney

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