From Denial to Anger: Wingnuts v. the American People

I’m always happy to see people dealing with reality, even if they do so badly. So it’s good to see a faction of the right-wing commentariat pivot from pretending that Clint Eastwood gave a great speech and the Democrats had a bad convention – while explaining that the polling results showing otherwise are rigged – to trying to figure out why their guy is losing an election they thought was a tap-in, and still think should by rights be a tap-in. They’ve moved on from Denial to Anger.

John Hinderaker thinks that the problem is that the voters are corrupt. No, really:

With over 100 million Americans receiving federal welfare benefits, millions more going on Social Security disability, and many millions on top of that living on entitlement programs-not to mention enormous numbers of public employees-we may have gotten to the point where the government economy is more important, in the short term, than the real economy. My father, the least cynical of men, used to quote a political philosopher to the effect that democracy will work until people figure out they can vote themselves money. I fear that time may have come.

Andrew McCarthy at NRO thinks it’s only “a third of the country” that’s hopeless for the GOP – because for two generations “the campus and the culture” have been ceded to “the progressive post-American left” – and pins some of the blame on the Republicans for not wanting to repeal the entire New Deal right away.

Still, these two distinguished wingnuts agree that the basic problem is with the voters. Neither of them proposes the Brechtian solution of dissolving the electorate and choosing a new one, but it’s not clear why not.

It’s possible that the billionaires will still manage to buy this one for Rmoney, but the demographic trends mean that the current Republican strategy is politically (as well as morally) bankrupt. At some point, the GOP is going to have to choose whether it’s more important to keep pleasing PowerLine and National Review or to win elections.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.