There are certain rules you have to play by in order to be a part of the Republican Party today, and one of the most important is never to say anything nice about Obamacare. Even if you are trying to push the party toward the center on Obamacare, you must pay fealty to the belief that the law is horrible and must be replaced. Ohio Republican governor John Kasich just committed the ultimate taboo:
George F. Will, award-winning columnist and distinguished Fox News panelist, is not a believer in the scientific theory of anthropogenic global warming. And once you’ve decided that scientists routinely make shit up in order to advance a nefarious bureaucratic progressive agenda, there’s no end to the number of new conspiracies you’re going to discover. Appearing yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Will explained to his incredulous co-panelists that Ebola is actually far easier to transmit than the authorities are letting on:
The phone is Andrew Cuomo’s instrument. Somehow distance brings out the governor’s full range of operatic inflections and rhetorical flourishes that he doesn’t deploy effectively in person. Today, on the phone, three weeks from Election Day, cruising toward a second term, he is in full Rodney Dangerfield mode.
“I passed gay marriage! I passed the toughest gun law in the country! I closed more prison cells than any governor in the history of the state! Minority job vouchers! My record of progressive accomplishment tops anyone!” Pause, dramatic reduction in volume. “Now, do you have some voices on the left that are impossible to placate in any realistic way? Yeah … Ask yourself: If he were more liberal, he would have done what? What more could I have possibly done? You’re gonna use the tax code just to take money from the rich and give it to the poor? That’s not liberalism. That’s confiscation! Liberalism was ‘Lift up the poor’ … The problem for liberals and progressives — of which I am proudly one — is you have to demonstrate you can actually do what you talk about. And that’s what I’ve been doing. My government works.”
Thankfully, Cliven Bundy is not running for anything in his home state of Nevada, but he is helping someone else out with their campaign. The freeloading rancher and libertarian hero who turned out to be a huge racist has reemerged in a bizarre, depressing ad for third-party congressional candidate Kamau Bakari, who just so happens to be black.
The current debate over campus rape is less important for a set of specific rules on campus — though the potential that these rules backfire is probably much higher than advocates are admitting — than for what it shows about broader currents of illiberalism that have moved beyond the far left and into the mainstream. I recently cited an Ezra Klein column as an important marker in this social change. The significance of the column lay in the combination of the fact that it was authored by an influential journalist who is (justifiably) admired for his fairness and the striking illiberalism of its argument.
Klein, as one might expect, disagrees. There are three points of contrast between us.
In the fall of 2010, conservatives assembled an all-star team of the world’s wrongest people to issue a clarion call warning the Federal Reserve that its attempts to aid the economy risked terrible inflation. “The planned asset purchases risk currency debasement and inflation, and we do not think they will achieve the Fed’s objective of promoting employment,” warned the signatories, who included, among others, Amity Shlaes, Bill Kistol, and Niall Ferguson. (The person who advised the German army not to bother to pack winter clothing for its 1941 invasion of Russia was, sadly, unavailable.)
Alaska Rep. Don Young is a notoriously strange person, though in the same way that crazy people who are rich are “eccentric,” strange people in Congress are “colorful.” According to his opponent, Young freaked out at him before a debate earlier this month. “He kind of snarled at me,” reported Democratic candidate Forrest Dunbar, “and said, ‘Don’t you ever touch me. Don’t ever touch me. The last guy who touched me ended up on the ground dead.”
It is possible that Young merely implied that the last person who touched him went on to die for unrelated reasons. It certainly sounds like a possible murder confession. So colorful!
Conservatives have made a series of specific predictions about the effects of Obamacare — overall costs would rise, insurers would flee the exchanges, premiums would go up, the ranks of the uninsured would not even fall. All these predictions have failed. And yet conservative opposition to the law has not diminished. If you want to know why this is, listen to these secretly recorded comments from Iowa Republican Senate candidate Joni Ernst, via Radio Iowa and Greg Sargent. Here Ernst, speaking candidly to supporters, gets to the root of conservative opposition:
In one of the weirdest and most Floridian moments in debate history, Wednesday night's gubernatorial debate was delayed because Republican governor Rick Scott refused to take the stage with Democratic challenger Charlie Crist and his small electric fan. The Washington Post notes that Crist, who served as the state's Republican governor from 2007 to 2011 before switching parties, has a well-known penchant for carrying a fan at all times, but Scott claimed the device hidden under his podium violated the debate's "no electronics rule."
Religious voters in Rhode Island's midterm elections have received a special request from the state's Catholic bishop Thomas Tobin: Vote for Mother Teresa or Pope Francis instead of either of the state's gubernatorial candidates.
Both Democrat Gina Raimondo and Cranston Mayor Allan Fung, a Republican, support abortion rights, leaving the staunchly anti-abortion bishop with no viable choices. Raimondo, a Catholic herself, even held a campaign event at the local Planned Parenthood and was endorsed by the group's political action committee.
Deep behind a tangle of denial and rebranding initiatives, a GOP resuscitation plan emerges.By Frank Rich
When Mark Sanford decided to run for office again, he asked his ex-wife, Jenny, for her blessing. Whether he has her vote is another matter.By Jason Zengerle
Jon Favreau’s most enduring riffs.
Wonkblog Jan. 21, 2013
For all the sound and fury, Washington’s actually making real progress on debt.By Ezra Klein
Mother Jones Jan. 15, 2013
Our debt dysfunction began with the Constitution, funded Manifest Destiny, and makes the trillion dollar coin look tame.By Tim Murphy
Salon Jan. 15, 2012
Harry Reid and other pro-gun Democrats leave Obama in need of unlikely allies.By Steve Kornacki
New York Magazine / Nov. 5, 2010
After November's glitch, Boehner, McConnell and Congress strike familiar poses.By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Jan. 25, 2009
Obama drew progressive ire from day one.By John Heilemann
New York Magazine / Nov. 30, 2008
How one undocumented family lives in our sanctuary city.By Jeff Coplon