Paul Krugman’s op-ed for May 17 discusses how the GOP has not only recently, but always, had an extreme right-wing faction, and only recently has the media and most of the public taken notice.
For the truth is that the hard right has dominated the G.O.P. for many years. Indeed, the new Maine platform is if anything a bit milder than the Texas Republican platform of 2000, which called not just for eliminating the Federal Reserve but also for returning to the gold standard, for killing not just the Department of Education but also the Environmental Protection Agency, and more.
Somehow, though, the radicalism of Texas Republicans wasn’t a story in 2000, an election year in which George W. Bush of Texas, soon to become president, was widely portrayed as a moderate.
Or consider those talk-show hosts. Rush Limbaugh hasn’t changed: his recent suggestion that environmentalist terrorists might have caused the ecological disaster in the gulf is no worse than his repeated insinuations that Hillary Clinton might have been a party to murder. What’s changed is his respectability: news organizations are no longer as eager to downplay Mr. Limbaugh’s extremism as they were in 2002, when The Washington Post’s media critic insisted that the radio host’s critics were the ones who had “lost a couple of screws,” that he was a sensible “mainstream conservative” who talks “mainly about policy.”
Read the full column here
Mr. Krugman also posted a short blog entry about the upward trend the Democrats have had recently. In January, many Democrats were becoming very discouraged with the loss of the Senate seat in Massachusetts and the prolonged and frustrating path health care reform undertook. President Obama’s competent handling of the oil leak in the Gulf and the terror scare in New York City have shown the nation that he is a better executive than that guy who was the Commander in Chief for the previous eight years. Today, the Democrats seem to be getting their house in order, working on strong financial reform legislation that is taking on some very powerful interests. November is still a long ways away, but the prospects for holding the House are seeming brighter than they were a few short months ago.