Today, Paul Krugman posits that the current state of the GOP is due to the fact that while the party’s policies are for the very rich, they have gotten elected by appealing to social conservatives and other whack jobs. As an example, he talks about George W. Bush, who won (I dispute this) the 2004 election by running against same-sex marriage, but who, after winning said he had a mandate for privatizing Social Security.
There is much to this argument. However, I think the movement of both parties to the right is just as important. The big problem I see in the GOP primary is that the candidates don’t have any real differences with President Obama. The Democratic Party is now as conservative a party as the United States can support. So what we see are people like Romney making extremely fine distinctions. “Sure,” he says, “My healthcare plan was the same as Obama’s but that is okay because it is a state plan; when enacted federally, it is totally unacceptable.”
After you get past a certain place on the right (or left), you don’t get much farther by taking extreme positions. Being against abortions in all cases is not in any substantive way more conservative than being in favor of a rape exception. And this is all that the Republicans have to offer: one step farther to the right. Certainly this matters for those women who are raped, but for the average voter, it doesn’t matter at all.
I think we are heading for a shake-up of the parties. The Democratic Party has become little more than the old GOP and the new GOP appeals only to people’s vague outrage. It cannot last.
I’m sick, so I don’t know that I will post anything today. But I found this ad that I thought was very funny. It is a parody of Clint Eastwood’s Halftime in America ad. I’m surprised that there haven’t been more of them. It was created by comedian Andy Cobb:
From the poster:
No, seriously, he said that: Let Detroit Go Bankrupt. If Mitt had his way, Detroit wouldn’t be repped by badasses like Eminem and Clint Eastwood. It’d just be some dude, chillin on the couch, dreaming what might have been.
Mitt sure did feel strongly about that whole “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” thing. Huh. Now that GM is the number one auto company in the world again, do you think we’ll hear anything about that call between now and November?
Currently: 45,228 views.
 There have been some. Most of them are conservative and kind of short on humor.
I just watched the Intelligence Squareddebate on the question of whether or not “The Catholic Church is a Force for Good in the World.” It was recorded back in 19 October 2009 and featured Archbishop John Onaiyekan and Ann Widdecombe arguing in favor; Christopher Hitchens and Stephen Fry arguing against.
The way these debates work is that the audience is polled at the beginning and the end and the results are compared. One side can get over half the final votes, but still lose because the other side gained more votes. This, of course, presents certain problems because in some highly charged debates, many people on one side won’t initially admit their position. Such was not the case on the Catholic question.
So the pro vote plummeted from 678 to 268, and the anti vote skyrocketed from 1102 to 1872. There were only 34 undecideds. I’ve never seen that before.
I think the most important reason for this result is that the Catholic Church does a lot of really bad things. The one issue that was brought up again and again was their stand on birth control. Frankly, I think the Church will eventually have to reverse its position on this issue. Eventually, people just won’t be willing stay in the church over it. This is not just about personal choice; it is about life and death in many parts of the world. And then there is the question of child rape, but I doubt that had much to do with the results.
Another reason the Catholic Church lost this debate, almost as important as the facts of the matter, is that Widdecombe and (to a lesser extent) Onaiyekan did a really bad job of debating. Hitchens and Fry were great, of course, but they didn’t really need to try. If you watch the whole debate, you can skip all of the pro debating; it isn’t worth watching.