Or at least he did in his speech in Iowa, when he commented on the Republican convention:

“What they offered over those three days was more often than not an agenda that was better-suited for the last century,” Obama said. “We might as well have watched it on a black-and-white TV.”

Wrong. The last century was the 20th, when every Western democracy except ours instituted universal health coverage, and recognized that completely unregulated markets produce economic chaos and misery. The 20th century also saw the flowering of civil rights and womens rights.

No — what the Republicans want on economics is the century before last, the 19th, when Social Darwinism flourished. And what they want on social issues is the 17th, when theocracy was the order of the day.

As Mark has noted, the current GOP is a coalition between those who want to repeal the New Deal and those who want to repeal the Enlightenment. Both impulses seek to send this country back a long, long way.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

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Jonathan Zasloff is Professor of Law at the UCLA School of Law.