This is how tribes get dumb: It took a lot of work to make The Other Tribe as dumb and crazy as it often is at this point.
Sean and Rush have been at it for decades. In this morning’s column, Paul Krugman recalls a few highights:
KRUGMAN (9/20/13): Some pundits insist, even now, that this is somehow Mr. Obama’s fault. Why can’t he sit down with Mr. Boehner the way Ronald Reagan used to sit down with Tip O’Neill? But O’Neill didn’t lead a party whose base demanded that he shut down the government unless Reagan revoked his tax cuts, and O’Neill didn’t face a caucus prepared to depose him as speaker at the first hint of compromise.We hate to kill a good buzz, but Hillary Clinton didn’t play a role in the death of Vince Foster. But Limbaugh was tickling those keys all the way back in 1994.
No, this story is all about the G.O.P. First came the southern strategy, in which the Republican elite cynically exploited racial backlash to promote economic goals, mainly low taxes for rich people and deregulation. Over time, this gradually morphed into what we might call the crazy strategy, in which the elite turned to exploiting the paranoia that has always been a factor in American politics—Hillary killed Vince Foster! Obama was born in Kenya! Death panels!—to promote the same goals.
For a review of that ugly behavior, see THE DAILY HOWLER, 8/23/13. Many voters didn’t know that they were getting played about the Clintons’ long list of murders.
Making red voters believe crazy things has been an industry for decades. Only now is a comparable industry springing up for blue voters.
Making voters crazy can be a very good business! It should be a major embarrassment to see the Joan Walshes and the Salons take part in this developing gong show.
But little by little, bit by bit, that’s what the Walshes are doing. In today’s post about Ted Cruz, Walsh isn’t honest enough to tell you the truth straight out:
WALSH (9/20/13): Rep. Paul Ryan told Politico in an interview, not via Twitter, that hostility to Cruz and other Senate GOP extremists is “pretty palpable in our conference, I would say.”…On CNN, Rep. Peter King accused Cruz of “carrying out a fraud with the people” with his Obamacare crusade and told him to “be quiet.”Perhaps facetiously? Joan didn’t want to lie. But she wasn’t honest enough to tell you the simple truth, which we described in our previous post.
Anonymously, House GOP aides got more nasty: One suggested, perhaps facetiously, to the Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim that Cruz might be “the leader of a secret cabal of leftists that are seeking control of the conservative movement. Their aim is to force the party to take on suicidal missions to destroy the movement from within.”
Did Walsh think that statement might have come from a GOP aide who had simply gotten nasty? From an aide who wasn’t being facetious? Of course she didn’t think that! She was treating blue readers like fools, playing along with some ranking colleagues. Red voters have been played this way for several decades now.
This is a pitiful minor point. Here's our advice:
Watch this new business grow!