Over the course of the past three and a half decades, the Republican far right has resembled the successive generations of William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, offering up politicians who act more and more inbred over time. Their stunted thinking frequently makes sense only within their own circles; their words and … More >
The 2016 election ambitions of the Koch brothers and what they represent on the Republican right wing, free-market absolutism, are nothing short of breathtaking. They feel within their grasp a historical opportunity they have been dreaming about for decades to turn back liberal institutions and customs. Things have lined up … More >
Republicans have won a largely symbolic victory for an obsolete technology. Among the sleeper provisions of the new budget deal is a ban on enforcing federal lightbulb standards. This is a great example of symbolic politics — it makes Tea Party Republicans happy, has limited practical effect, and makes little policy … More >
Pundits who are already describing the victories of Terry McAuliffe in Virginia and Chris Christie in New Jersey as a “return to the center” of American politics are confusing the “center” with big business and Wall Street.
A few decades ago McAuliffe would be viewed as a right-wing Democrat and Christie … More >
Imagine a plot to undermine the government of the United States, to destroy much of its capacity to do the public’s business, and to sow distrust among the population.
Imagine further that the plotters infiltrate Congress and state governments, reshape their districts to give them disproportionate influence in Washington, and use … More >
Some movie franchises last way too long: Friday the 13th, Rocky, Nightmare on Elm Street. Each new film is worse than the last, and they’re all worse than the original, which wasn’t so great itself. The GOP war on energy-efficient light bulbs has the same characteristic — you wish someone would … More >
One of the great riddles of the 2009 and 2010 Tea Party heyday was contained in the famous sign that appeared in many of their anti-Obamacare demonstrations: “Government hands off my Medicare.”
How could they think that? It’s a plain contradiction since, obviously, Medicare is a government program in the first … More >
Apart from certain quarters on the Right predicting a Romney victory on Election Day, the final weeks of the campaign witnessed a gathering sentiment, almost a last-minute conventional wisdom, about the election’s outcome. It went something like this: Obama had a significant and reliable lead until the first debate. Pre-debate, … More >
Paul Ryan represents one of two branches of the Tea Party. Let’s call it the libertarian branch. These are people who are single-minded and absolutist about “free-market economics.” Theirs is a passion that leads to across-the-board opposition to taxes and government regulation of economic life, to bemoaning public debt, and … More >