Browsing the blog archivesfor the day Monday, August 5th, 2013.


Resistant to Reality

Republican Party

Following up the last post, today’s Krugman column is Republicans Against Reality.

What’s happening now is that the G.O.P. is trying to convert Mr. Ryan’s big talk into actual legislation — and is finding, unsurprisingly, that it can’t be done. Yet Republicans aren’t willing to face up to that reality. Instead, they’re just running away.

When it comes to fiscal policy, then, Republicans have fallen victim to their own con game. And I would argue that something similar explains how the party lost its way, not just on fiscal policy, but on everything.

Think of it this way: For a long time the Republican establishment got its way by playing a con game with the party’s base. Voters would be mobilized as soldiers in an ideological crusade, fired up by warnings that liberals were going to turn the country over to gay married terrorists, not to mention taking your hard-earned dollars and giving them to Those People. Then, once the election was over, the establishment would get on with its real priorities — deregulation and lower taxes on the wealthy.

At this point, however, the establishment has lost control. Meanwhile, base voters actually believe the stories they were told — for example, that the government is spending vast sums on things that are a complete waste or at any rate don’t do anything for people like them. (Don’t let the government get its hands on Medicare!) And the party establishment can’t get the base to accept fiscal or political reality without, in effect, admitting to those base voters that they were lied to.

The result is what we see now in the House: a party that, as I said, seems unable to participate in even the most basic processes of governing.

(See also Krugman’s correction to what he wrote in the column about the food stamp program.)

I think also what’s happening is that elections are being won by people too stupid or deluded to see the lies as lies. They are true believers, in other words. They don’t understand they’re supposed to be just pretending.

See also Stan Collender.

Also, too, see House GOP plans anti-Washington push in August. House Republicans have left Washington and are telling the home folks how awful Washington is. However, as Stan Collender (link above) says, right now it’s not so bad. The House is in recess, after all.

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