While the Takethe5th has been doing this series of articles on The Wheels Are Coming Off The Republican Party , Paul Krugman at the NYTimes has been tearing the hide off the Big Elephant . Here is a Krugman sampler of three of the most recent editorials:
1 – Moochers Against Welfare There is a strange redness to America’s safety net. Why do the regions that need the helping hand elect politicians who want to tear it down?
2 – Four Fiscal Phonies All four Republican presidential candidates still in the race warn about the dangers of government debt, yet their proposals would add to the debt by helping the rich.
3 – Ignorance Is Strength At a time when American education is already in deep trouble, one of our two major political parties has taken a hostile stance against going to college.
Now Krugman will get no argument from this quarter and even from Republican thinkers in some instances like David Frum or David Brooks.
However, there is an eerie calm about these articles and commentary. Despite garnering 800-1200 comments for each post and alway being in the NYTime top articles list, its as if the GOP can count on the title of Krugman’s blog, The Conscience of A Liberal, to dismiss all Paul’s policy idea as hopelessly leftist and hogwash. As if right on signal, Fox news declared today Paul Krugman “a menace to society”.
But there may be more and a broader theme to this. First, the chance that the economy which is finally turning around could be stopped in its tracks by 1)Iran-Israel crisis going into awar strikes mode; 2)Europe debt crisis festering out of control as either the Greeks rescind on their agreement or another debt plagues country asks for the Greek bond-haircut terms; or 3)Pakistan has a coup[feel free to add your favorite natural or political disaster right at the top of the list] – all are distinct possibilities. Then Obama is down and out in 4 years.
Second, with the new unlimited campaign spending rules through SuperPacs – Republican candidates have been securing contributions in the $2-7 million dollar range. Come the Fall, all that money could be directed at Obama and the vaunted Rovian smear machine[John MacCain running against George Bush had father an illegitimate baby or the Swiftboat smear camapign against John Kerry in 2004 election would be off to the election hustings with the Politics of Fear and Smear.
Third, there is a elitist “lets do whatever it takes” attitude. This is already seen with Grover Norquist, instrumental creating the huge deficits afflicting the country, now leading the way on how to reduce those deficits with draconian austerity measures and harsh consequences for any who dare to desert his pledge. And Norquist has the approval and support of Tea party activists. The attitude is sort of like “We did it in 2000 in Florida and 2004 in Ohio – why not again?”
In sum, from top to bottom Republicans have been embracing irrationality on an ever broader scale from “climate change is false science” to “the only thing wrong with financial markets is that they are over and badly regulated”. Such sustained irrationality unfortunately allows for Manchrian Candidate plot lines to become plausible. Such a harrowing prospect.