EARLY DETECTION IS THE KEY TO FIGHTING CANCER
I haven't even had a chance to make my way through David Frum's New York magazine essay "When Did the GOP Lose Touch With Reality?," and I absolutely don't want to discourage Frum when he's one of the few insiders anywhere on the political spectrum -- right, center, or left -- who's able to grasp the Republican Party's descent into madness, but I just want to point out a fact glitch in one of his key paragraphs. I've highlighted the misleading passage.
It was not so long ago that Texas governor Bush denounced attempts to cut the earned-income tax credit as "balancing the budget on the backs of the poor." By 2011, Republican commentators were noisily complaining that the poorer half of society are "lucky duckies" because the EITC offsets their federal tax obligations -- or because the recession had left them with such meager incomes that they had no tax to pay in the first place. In 2000, candidate Bush routinely invoked "churches, synagogues, and mosques." By 2010, prominent Republicans were denouncing the construction of a mosque in lower Manhattan as an outrageous insult. In 2003, President Bush and a Republican majority in Congress enacted a new prescription-drug program in Medicare. By 2011, all but four Republicans in the House and five in the Senate were voting to withdraw the Medicare guarantee from everybody under age 55. Today, the Fed's pushing down interest rates in hopes of igniting economic growth is close to treason, according to Governor Rick Perry, coyly seconded by TheWall Street Journal. In 2000, the same policy qualified Alan Greenspan as the "greatest central banker in the history of the world," according to Perry's mentor, Senator Phil Gramm. Today, health reform that combines regulation of private insurance, individual mandates, and subsidies for those who need them is considered unconstitutional and an open invitation to "death panels." A dozen years ago, a very similar reform was the Senate Republican alternative to Hillarycare. Today, stimulative fiscal policy that includes tax cuts for almost every American is "socialism." In 2001, stimulative fiscal policy that included tax cuts for rather fewer Americans was an economic -recovery program.
I know that Frum is saying that the GOP was a lot less crazy a decade or so ago. But actually, the phrase "lucky duckies" comes from a Wall Street Journal editorial published in 2002.
This brain tumor may have metastasized quite a bit lately, but it's not new. It might not have caused so much irrational behavior if it had been detected and treated early.