Paul Krugman Divulges the Real Reason Why the 'Wrong About Everything' Party Won
"Politics determines who has power, not who has the truth," Paul Krugman says in his Friday column. That is his summing up of the midterm election results this week which delivered a huge win to Republicans. "Still, it’s not often that a party that is so wrong about so much does as well as Republicans did on Tuesday."
Just to review, the Republicans have been demonstrably wrong on the following issues, Krugman writes.
First, there’s economic policy. According to conservative dogma, which denounces any regulation of the sacred pursuit of profit, the financial crisis of 2008 — brought on by runaway financial institutions — shouldn’t have been possible. But Republicans chose not to rethink their views even slightly. They invented an imaginary history in which the government was somehow responsible for the irresponsibility of private lenders, while fighting any and all policies that might limit the damage. In 2009, when an ailing economy desperately needed aid, John Boehner, soon to become the speaker of the House, declared: “It’s time for government to tighten their belts.”
Time has proven all of this wrong. And cutting taxes on the rich to drive economic growth has not worked either. Just ask Kansas.
Not that any of this real life evidence has gotten any Republicans we know of to admit they were wrong.
Second on Krugman's list of Republican wrongheadedness is health reform. Everything Republicans said would happen did not happen, including low enrollment, loss of coverage and skyrocketing costs. Reality stubbornly refused to deliver on all these hysterical and disingenuous predictions. More people than ever have insurance and health spending is down.
The biggest lie of them all is climate change. The Republicans are now a party of climate denialists, who claim that it's all a left-wing hoax concocted by, what, stunt scientists? A mere six years ago this was not so, Krugman points out. "Senator John McCain proposed a cap-and-trade system similar to Democratic proposals." Not going to happen anymore. This is devastating, and is likely to push us past the point of no return in terms of the damage that will be wrought on the Earth.
Time for Krugman's analysis of why voters would give this group such a victory. It's not pretty, and none too flattering to voters.
Part of the answer is that leading Republicans managed to mask their true positions. Perhaps most notably, Senator Mitch McConnell, the incoming majority leader, managed to convey the completely false impression that Kentucky could retain its impressive gains in health coverage even if Obamacare were repealed.
But the biggest secret of the Republican triumph surely lies in the discovery that obstructionism bordering on sabotage is a winning political strategy. From Day 1 of the Obama administration, Mr. McConnell and his colleagues have done everything they could to undermine effective policy, in particular blocking every effort to do the obvious thing — boost infrastructure spending — in a time of low interest rates and high unemployment.
What was bad for America, proved to be good for Republicans. Voters did not get that it was the dysfunctional legislative process that was failing them, they just punished the sitting president for the failure to deliver prosperity.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.