William Kristol reassures MSNBC viewers a government shutdown isn't the end of the world. Tell that to someone who isn't eating tonight because they aren't being paid.
Kevin Drum asked a pretty obvious question: Why are so many people in a blind rage these days? Drum was referring to Republicans and in particular, the subcult of Republicans who are dedicated to making sure every American understands how much they hate government.
But why? There's always been a faction of right-wing craziness in America. It's part of our DNA. But how did it become so widespread? The usual answer involves the rise of conservative think tanks, conservative talk radio, Fox News, the Christian right, and racial resentment toward a black president. And maybe that's it. Somehow, though, it doesn't feel quite sufficient. But if it's not, then what's going on? What's happened over the past decade or two to spin up so many Americans into a blind rage?
Complaining about tea party congressmen misses the big picture. The problem is the people who voted them into office. What happened to them?
The problem here is that those people who vote these insane people into office have been fooled by the pretty little lies that they can bring jobs and prosperity to every American simply by robbing them blind.
You know the lies. You've seen them a million times. The Koch machine shovels them out with alacrity. If we feed the billionaires first, the rest of us might get some crumbs. Trickle down, trickle on, trick us all. And yes, the Fox News, the Christian right, the KKK and the Muslim haters are all a part of the larger picture.
But there's a material difference between right-wing rage and actual populist outrage. Ross Douthat thinks rage on the right is more the product of some repressed need to win.
This divide, I think, explains a lot of the mutual incomprehension surrounding size-of-government debates. To liberals and many moderates, it often seems like the right gets what it wants in these arguments and then just gets more extreme, demanding cuts atop cuts, concessions atop concessions, deregulation upon deregulation, tax cuts upon tax cuts. But to many conservatives, the right has never come remotely close to getting what it actually wants, whether in the Reagan era or the Gingrich years or now the age of the Tea Party — because what it wants is an actually smaller government, as opposed to one that just grows somewhat more slowly than liberals and the left would like.
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