For movement conservatives, it’s always 1979. Catch of the Day to Mike Konczal for noting Tail Gunner Ted’s latest:

Senator Ted Cruz’s speech crystallized just how disconnected the Republican worldview is today. “Where we are right now is eerily, uncannily, like the late 1970s,” he said. “You had Jimmy Carter in the White House and you had the same failed economic policies. Out-of-control spending, taxes, and regulation produced the exact same misery and stagnation. You had the same feckless foreign policy and the same naiveté making the world a much more dangerous place.”

As Konczal notes, “where we are right now” doesn’t bear any resemblance to the Carter era. It takes a great deal of either ignorance or myopia to believe our economic situation is anything like the high inflation environment of the presidencies of Richard Nixon, Jerry Ford, Carter and Ronald Reagan.

Or perhaps it just requires a great lack of interest in any public policy beyond cutting taxes for the rich. The post-policy Republican Party doesn’t care what Reagan actually did, or what circumstances made the particular mix of the early 1980s relatively successful. Finding that out would require taking into account all kinds of off-message details, including (as Steve Benen notes) the tax increases under Reagan. Not to mention that Reagan’s successful fight against inflation involved inducing a deep recession. Does Cruz think that’s the best medicine for this economy?

It’s much easier to conclude that it’s always (mythical) 1979: Hyperinflation is about to break out or is already here, and the correct response is to cut taxes and programs that Republicans don’t like, while talking a great deal about budget deficits.
So: Nice catch!

[Cross-posted at Bloomberg View]

Jonathan Bernstein

Jonathan Bernstein is a political scientist who writes about American politics, especially the presidency, Congress, parties, and elections.