TNR discusses the bankruptcy of Republican thought by mentioning former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers co-authorship of a Center for American Progress (CAP) report entitled "Report of the Commission on Inclusive Prosperity" (PDF):
"There is a need for policy to ensure that growth is broadly shared with employees, not just employers and the owners of firms," Summers writes, citing income inequality as a key challenge facing the country. The report suggests a number of solutions, including increased infrastructure spending, universal pre-K, raising the minimum wage, and expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Some of these solutions are targeted at middle class households, while others are designed to improve the lives of low-income Americans.
In an example showing how the GOP is "a party that remains straightjacketed by extreme conservatism," National Review claims that:
[B]y describing Clintonism as the force behind the last great recovery, it stacks the deck in favor of recycling a Clintonian economic policy into a prescription for what ails us now. This is, to put it mildly, an implausible strategy, as today's economy is hardly similar to the one Bill Clinton inherited in the 1990s.
Hardly similar?! Let's see: a Republican recession followed by modest Democrat-led tax increases on the well-to-do; the GOP predicted disaster, but we actually experienced a recovery...that sounds rather similar, although the Bush II recession was far worse. That's far from being the only thing they're wrong about, as the sky is falling again in Texas over the "Jade Helm" nonsense:
Most conspiracy theories live and die on the Internet, on the ragged fringes of message boards and blogs. Rarely do they migrate to what we (perhaps misleadingly) call the real world. And rarely do they merit the notice of our leaders.
That may be changing. On April 28, Texas Governor Greg Abbott ordered the Texas State Guard to 'monitor' a U.S. Army training exercise--Operation Jade Helm--that some Texas residents fear is a run-up to the Obama administration declaring martial law in the Lone Star state.
The US Army sent Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria to Bastrop to calm Texans' nerves, and he reiterated that "Jade Helm is simply just a challenging eight-week training exercise for unconventional warfare." The facts bounced right off those who called the exercise a "martial law program:"
The theory that the Obama administration is planning to turn West Texas Walmarts into FEMA re-education centers has been circulating on the right-wing fringe of the Internet and AM talk radio for a couple of weeks. The uproar seems to have been spawned after a U.S. Army training image for the exercise in which Texas, Utah and a small patch of Southern California are labeled "hostile" leaked online.
What TNR describes as the Texas freak-out "drove the right wing into a panic over everything from gun confiscation to state-sanctioned murder to military occupation to economic catastrophe"--a panic that is "directly traceable to a southern--and particularly a Texan--political culture that thrives on civil war-style fantasies."
It's hardly unique to Texas. Salon's Simon Maloy looks at "the weird world of conservative electromagnetic pulse mania," where Mike Huckabee, for example, worries about "an electromagnetic pulse from an exploded device that could fry the entire electrical grid and take this country back to the Stone Age in a matter of minutes." "The EMP is an absurdly overused sci-fi trope," Maloy writes, "but the threat of an actual EMP attack is a very real concern to a slice of the conservative movement:"
...ramping up concern over the devastating effects of an EMP blast does mesh nicely with another of Huckabee's interests: scamming money out of the panic-stricken and the gullible. Conspiracy websites like WorldNetDaily will happily sell you an exorbitantly expensive "Faraday cage," a specially made box that is supposed to resist electromagnetic radiation and protect any electronics stored within from the devastating effects of an EMP blast. Think of it as a tinfoil hat for your iPad. Of course, the trade-off is that for the Faraday cage to be effective, you have to keep your valuable electronics in there at basically all times, because you never know when al-Qaida's going to launch that ICBM.
Overpriced gadgets are less obnoxious than games like "Kill the F*ggot," developed by a "Christian entrepreneur:"
Randall Herman released his game "Kill The Faggot" on the online-based video game store Steam. It lasted roughly two hours before Steam pulled the product citing pretty obvious violations of its terms of service. A few hours can be a lifetime on the internet, however, so several game critics were able to download and play the game before it was deleted. The results were sickening.
The observation that "the game's unapologetic gay-bashing is even more retrograde than its graphics" is satisfyingly snarky, but there's a constellation of craziness there that is quite worrisome.