Don’t Blame Base for Republican Insanity

Paul KrugmanPaul Krugman highlighted a particular case of Republican silliness, Monetary Conspiracy Theories. Apparently, Donald Trump is now saying the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates low because it wants to make Obama look good. It’s almost funny. After all, raising interest rates is something that the Fed does in order to put people out of work. I wonder if Trump’s supporters know this? I realize they are mostly older people, but still. The implication is that raising interest rates is something that we should want to do. Donald Trump is as much a populist as I am a fascist.

Krugman’s point is that Trump may be crazy to think this, but back in 2010, Paul Ryan was arguing that “quantitative easing wasn’t a good-faith effort to support a weak economy, but an attempt to ‘bail out fiscal policy,’ preventing the fiscal crisis Obama’s policies were supposed to produce.” Same thing. But Paul Ryan isn’t just a moderate in the eyes of the mainstream press — he’s a super serious wonk! This isn’t just about monetary policy, of course. The entire Republican Party is crazy. They are all pushing the same nonsense. If you were a Republican voter, what would you want: a candidate who believed crazy things but spoke soft, or a candidate who believed crazy things and ranted about them? That’s not hard.

The Republican Party has pushed further and further to the right until they are all bunched up at the edge of the fascist cliff.

What we have here is a Republican base that is paying attention. There is nothing surprising about what they believe. What is shocking is that we have an establishment media that slices and dices the Republican Party. There is a clear narrative: there are crazies in the party, but it is at base a good old fashioned traditional political institution. There is no reason to believe this. They are basing their judgement on rhetoric, not policy. Trump yells about “illegals,” so he’s an extremist. Marco Rubio does not do this, so he’s a moderate. But the two men don’t actually disagree about immigration policy.

It’s clear enough what has happened. The Republican Party has pushed further and further to the right until they are all bunched up at the edge of the fascist cliff. So until they all decide to just take the plunge, the only thing Republican politicians can do is find more and more extreme ways to verbalize their displeasure.

But how did we get to this point? The media have just followed along, defining as acceptable political discourse anything that enough Republicans were shouting about. Supply side economics was always a crock. No non-partisan economist thought it would work. And after 35 years, it has failed to ever work. But will establishment reporters counter Republicans who spout this nonsense? Of course not! Allowing it has worked great for them these last decades; no reason to change now.

So let me reiterate. Republican base voters are making sense in being attracted to Donald Trump and Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. The “establishment” Republicans aren’t offering policies that appeal to reasoning, so all they are offering is crazy policy with boring rhetoric. The fact that the mainstream press can’t tell that the “establishment” and “extreme” candidates are offering the same policy is why we find ourselves with an insane Republican Party to begin with.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

5 thoughts on “Don’t Blame Base for Republican Insanity

  1. The individual reporters probably get that the Republicans are insane from bottom to the top. They also don’t want to get fired so they just go along with the idea that Republicans are reasonable with the vast majority of party officials at least pretending to be so. Now of course they cannot get around the fact that for once the top Republicans are not dog whistling to their base and are being honest. And there are a few that are being so honest that non-Republicans are noticing.

    Which is why it leads to Rep. Gowdy saying the obvious lies he did at the hearing yesterday and knowing he was doing while knowing we all know.

    What that means is anyone’s guess. Will that convince the independents to decide to vote Democratic? Maybe. Will it just make them do their usual pox on both houses? Possibly.

    Or maybe they will fall off the fascist cliff and I can immigrate to the new Nation of California.

    • I don’t know. We can hope. But it doesn’t look good. I keep remembering that the Republicans shut down the government in 2013, and less than a year later, the Republicans won a national election landslide. It seems that it does not matter what they do. I’m not even sure they would pay if they destroyed the economy with the debt ceiling.

      • The 2014 election was weird. Around here we could not get anyone to come canvass. One candidate had to hit over 20K houses on her own. I hit about five thousand or so myself for my race, it was literally a second full time job.

        People just seem to not care what the Republicans were doing and the polling showed that Democratic based had no interest if the people running were being mean (as in telling the truth, which we all know is the worst thing to do to a Republican.)

        As a candidate, it was very frustrating.

        • That “we hate all the negativity in politics” comes from a good place. Voters want government to function properly. Most are simply unaware we have one party that doesn’t want government to function (except for a very narrow constituency.)

          Again it comes back to the media treating both philosophies as equal.

          Your post made me wonder what a great Sanders ad would look like. I think he could go on camera, say how much he respects his GOP opponent, and then proceed to blast the opponent’s record/policies. In the long shot that he gets the nomination, his “angry nice guy” image could really be a contrast to whatever spew the GOP decides tests best.

          What issue will that be? It’ll be something. Right now the GOP is talking about things not everyone’s interested in — Benghazi, immigration, etc. They’ll need to find a broader issue. And they can’t use the deficit too hard because some older voters will (correctly) smell an attack on SS/Medicare.

          Just a wild guess — but I suspect they’ll really try testing this “all lives matter” mantra. There’s already “Cop Lives Matter” rallies popping up everywhere. To non-racist voters this can seem as being fair to everyone and isn’t that nice. To total racists it’s “once again, blacks want special treatment and handouts.” It’s a no-lose issue if they can get it to catch on.

          • See, that would be Sanders being mean. It is 100% the truth but perceived as being mean. And then because of the fact he looks like an old man, he gets the “get off my lawn” vibe by people who place more value on style over substance. It is really really dumb but it is what we have to work with. The problem for Sanders is that the Republicans keep handing Clinton platforms to let her look Presidential and like she is being beaten up by a bunch of guys.

            One rather important question is though-who is going to have the biggest coattails? The current estimates has about 57 seats in the House that can change hands. Mostly Republican leaning or toss up seats. The picture in the Senate is hopefully worse for the Republicans since they have 12 toss ups or leans/likely and the Democrats only have three.

            I don’t have the same sense I had in 2006 or 2008 so I have no idea which way it is going to go. And really, not sure how much I should invest.

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