There was one post yesterday, “The GOP’s Original Sin:”
Norm Ornstein has a piece in Vox laying out, once again, his (and Mann’s) thesis that the GOP went off the rails, becoming a radical party with little regard for truth, a long time ago. He’s right, of course; I’ve been saying much the same thing since the early 2000s, notably in the introduction to my book The Great Unraveling.
My reward, by the way, was to be labeled “shrill”; and at the risk — actually not the risk, the certainty — of sounding whiny, I’m still generally treated as having overstepped the boundaries even though everything I said back then is now becoming more or less conventional wisdom. I guess I was a premature anti-GOPist. In fact, can’t help noticing something about this graf from Norm himself:
We came to our blunt conclusions from perches inside the belly of the beast, observing, analyzing, and interacting with the top political figures in Congress and the executive branch since 1969. Other scholars and journalists, including Jonathan Chait, James Fallows, Jacob Hacker, and Paul Pierson had paved the way with observations and analyses similar to ours.
OK, whining over. What I want to talk about is when, exactly, the GOP went over the edge. Obviously it didn’t happen all at once. But I think the real watershed came in 1980-81, when supply-side economics became the party’s official doctrine.
I’m not sure, even now, whether people who aren’t involved in economic policy discussion understand that supply-side wasn’t a doctrine like monetarism or even real business cycles — ideas I may think are wrong, but which had and to some extent still have significant support from professionals in the field. Supply-side economics never had any evidence behind it; it never had any support in academic research; it barely even had any support among economic researchers and forecasters in the business world. It was and remains crank economics pure and simple, with nothing going for it except political convenience.
Yet 35 years ago the GOP was already willing to embrace this doctrine because it was politically convenient, and could be used to justify tax cuts for the rich, which have always been the priority.
And given this, why should anyone be surprised at all the reality denial and trashing of any kind of evidence that followed? You say economics is a pseudo-science? Fine. First they came for the economists; then they came for the climate scientists and the evolutionary biologists.
Now comes Trump, and the likes of George Will, climate denier, complain that he isn’t serious. Well, what did you think was going to happen?