Monday, December 05, 2011


Paul Krugman on the GOP:

... whoever finally gets the Republican nomination will be a deeply flawed candidate. And these flaws won't be an accident, the result of bad luck regarding who chose to make a run this time around; the fact that the party is committed to demonstrably false beliefs means that only fakers or the befuddled can get through the selection process.

Of course, given the terrible economic picture and the tendency of voters to blame whoever holds the White House for bad times, even a deeply flawed G.O.P. nominee might very well win the presidency. But then what?

... If the dog actually catches the car -- the actual job of running the U.S. government -- it will have no idea what to do, because the realities of government in the 21st century bear no resemblance to the mythology all ambitious Republican politicians must pretend to believe. And what will happen then?

What frightens me is that I don't think it matters whether Romney and Gingrich and all the other pretenders are ignorant or just cynical, because I think they'll still feel they have to pursue teabagger/Fox/Rand policies, and they won't think it matters whether those policies fail.

I think Republicans see themselves the way Wall Streeters see themselves -- as people to whom nothing really bad could possibly happen, no matter how dire America's problems are. If they get in, push more tax cuts that increase debt, and make spending cuts that worsen unemployment and leave more infrastructure to crumble, they'll just find some scapegoat, sexting or illegal immigrants or Dodd-Frank, to blame everything bad in America on. If that doesn't work, they'll start a war, and make it just controversial enough that Democrats will hesitate to support it, then treason-bait those Democrats for their hesitancy.

I think this is true for America in any state of decay short of civil war. And perhaps even that qualification doesn't apply.

This approach will work for years. It worked for George W. Bush for six years, didn't it? (I think that's what Cheney meant when he said his crew had proved that deficits don't matter -- if you can gull the voters with distractions like Saddam, you can get away with anything.)

And even if, after years and years, Republicans are eventually blamed for what they're doing, they'll bounce back in an election cycle or two -- Watergate and Vietnam combined spoiled the GOP brand for only a few years after Nixon resigned (hell, Ford almost won, and Proposition 13 passed in California in 1978), while the debacle of the Bush presidency discredited the GOP for an eyeblink. (Democrats, by contrast, are still paying for being the Hippie Party forty years ago.)

What will the Republicans do if they actually win? Be as reckless as they are now. They assume that, at worst, we'll suffer but they won't, and they can get us to punish anyone but them if we do suffer.



PurpleGirl said...

Treason-baiting Democrats has worked for the Republicans since the late 1940s... see the Cold War with the Soviet Union, who lost China, who lost Cuba. A lot I can't think of right now. The John Birch Society was founded on this. Think "None Dare Call It Treason". Rinse and repeat.

: smintheus :: said...

PurpleGirl is right, the nastiness of the modern Republican party has it's roots in the late '40s.

Republicans don't care to run the government better because they're committed to the proposition that the government is the problem. It would be anathema to their philosophy to actually fix any of the problems the nation faces.

Tom Hilton said...

...they'll just find some scapegoat, sexting or illegal immigrants or Dodd-Frank, to blame everything bad in America on.

Who needs a scapegoat? The catastrophic failure of Republican government would just further demonstrate the single most important Republican talking point: government doesn't work. They'd get voted out, maybe, but it would be a long-term victory if it made more Americans reflexively cynical about government (as Bush's two terms did, as Nixon did long ago).

Heads they win...

Ten Bears said...

Not sure I've ever heard anyone reference none Dare Call It Conspiracy here before.

Funny how it's the dems who always win the wars the republics start.

c u n d gulag said...

They are a party of sociopaths, with all of the pathologies on full display.
But they use divide and conquer, and people are blinded by hate of the (latest pick the) other, and scared into voting completely against their better interests.

Whether it's in 2012, 2016, 2020, or later, unless the Republican Party undergoes some fundmental mental changes, the next time they get power may very well be the last.
Either they will hold onto their power no matter what, or will so ruin this country that it will be unrecognizable. And either way, they think they win.
As I've said a million times - they'd rather rule in Hell than serve in Heaven.

PurpleGirl said...

Ten Bears -- My brother tried to get me to read Non Dare Call It Treason when I was around 12. I began reading it but stopped rather quickly because it just seemed so weird. Around the same time I read The Manchurian Candidate, Fail Safe, 7 Days in May. "Treason" just didn't hack it as an interesting story. But it did make an impression as to the sanity of the people who believed it.

Dark Avenger said...

None Dare Call It Treason could always be found in any thrift/second-hand store in the 1960s onward.