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Friday, September 20, 2013

Paul Krugman: The Crazy Party

Creating "an alternate reality" can backfire:

The Crazy Party, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: ... In recent months, the G.O.P. seems to have transitioned from being the stupid party to being the crazy party. ...
It helps, I think, to understand just how unprecedented today’s political climate really is.
Divided government in itself isn’t unusual and is, in fact, more common than not. Since World War II, there have been 35 Congresses, and in only 13 of those cases did the president’s party fully control the legislature.
Nonetheless, the United States government continued to function. ... Nobody even considered the possibility that a party might try to achieve its agenda, not through the constitutional process, but through blackmail — by threatening to bring the federal government, and maybe the whole economy, to its knees unless its demands were met.
True, there was the government shutdown of 1995. But this was widely recognized after the fact as both an outrage and a mistake. ...
Yet, at the moment, it seems highly likely that the Republican Party will refuse to fund the government, forcing a shutdown at the beginning of next month, unless President Obama dismantles the health reform that is the signature achievement of his presidency. Republican leaders realize that this is a bad idea...
How did we get here? ...
First came the southern strategy, in which the Republican elite cynically exploited racial backlash to promote economic goals, mainly low taxes for rich people and deregulation. Over time, this gradually morphed into what we might call the crazy strategy, in which the elite turned to exploiting the paranoia that has always been a factor in American politics — Hillary killed Vince Foster! Obama was born in Kenya! Death panels! — to promote the same goals.
But now we’re in a third stage, where the elite has lost control of the Frankenstein-like monster it created.
So now we get to witness the hilarious spectacle of Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal, pleading with Republicans to recognize the reality that Obamacare can’t be defunded. Why hilarious? Because Mr. Rove and his colleagues have spent decades trying to ensure that the Republican base lives in an alternate reality defined by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Can we say “hoist with their own petard”?
Of course, the coming confrontations are likely to damage America as a whole, not just the Republican brand. But, you know, this political moment of truth was going to happen sooner or later. We might as well have it now.

    Posted by on Friday, September 20, 2013 at 12:24 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (110)

          


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