Repug extremism: Why has the Republican party gone crazy? Gone well past its traditional conservative roots? Why does it seek extreme purity for its members? Why does it hate America, of today, and yearn for an America that doesn’t exist anymore and probably never did. This article, even though clearly with anti-Repug bias, gives some insights, but not enough to understand how the crazies have taken over. And the Repug crazies have successfully held on to control whereas the crazy times for Dems (the antiwar era) have passed. I still remember the California I first moved to, as Republican as you could get, but it was the culture warriors who blew it (by trying to kill off Pete Wilson just over litmus issue of abortion). So someone is going to have to call a spade a spade – it’s racism and it’s religion. So the old Repugs who just love greed have lost out to the crazies who appeal to far more visceral and unthinking human instincts. The Repugs should really kick out the racists (where else will the southern states go, to Dixiecrats, they’ve tried that before) and then try to moderate the religinuts (they, like the youth vote a couple of cycles back, can just drop out). The Repug party has a lot more to do than a little PR toward Latinos, but let’s hope they don’t actually fix what’s wrong.
OTOH, the “sane” Repugs try to fight back: It turns out this article is really about Karl Rove, although on the topic of no more Todd Akins. The moneybags who used to own the Repug party without challenge are attempting to retake their legacy. They want tax cuts and other greed issues and could care less about rape and abortion (and probably even guns). So after wasting all the SuperPac money on terrible candidates now they want to stop future Todd Akins, with their immediate target being the odious Steven King in Iowa. Of course many of the Repugs did not (yet) admit the insanity in their party and so they still believe in the “stupid” party values and will push back against Rove and his moneybags and it Iowa, they may win, since the problem is “moderate” Repug voters just don’t show up and only the extremist activists do. It’s not clear even a big pile of money can “fix” that, but of course Rove gets a big pile of commissions trying.
Robots to blame for unemployment? I’ve seen there is a deeper argument among economists as to whether the U.S. can ever return to full employment (either reduced unemployment, or getting “good” jobs again). Paul Krugman comments in this article (coming down on the side the jobs aren’t coming back due to robotics) but otherwise doesn’t present much data to settle this question. Meanwhile looking at this article about wages it’s clear that the high skilled (tied to education) jobs are still doing well in the U.S., even though this is only a small fraction of the job force. But it also indicates the problem that we’ll have when this category of jobs shrinks due to the anti-science and anti-intellectual attitudes of the Repugs and their homeschool base (I really wonder what those parents think is going to happen to those kids when they go to look for jobs). But on the specific point about robots I think it is possible, that at least (after decades of this being a possibility, but never realized) that robotics may be the problem. One consequence of the anti-terror response in the U.S. (just as the space race of the 60s as response to the commies) is the move toward robotics. I perceive that more progress has been made since 9/11 than in all the time before and that’s mostly just due to spending. That progress is bound to “trickle down” into manufacturing and so continue big productivity gains that coupled with the global economy just further reduce job prospects. And that will produce more political instability it that it will further diminish the role of uneducated white males in the job force and they’ll respond with even more testosterone based fury at anyone they can blame (except themselves, or even the rich/bosses). But disappointingly Paul didn’t say much to move this conversation forward.
Nate weighs in on immigration reform: Despite the much-acclaimed discussion of reasonability by the Repugs in Congress that is really only the Senate (and then only a little bit and for entirely cynical reasons) The House, OTOH, remains as crazy as ever. So figure gun control, that’s DOA in the House, but what about immigration. 538 does a good job of showing why this is really an uphill battle because the Repug gerrymandering has put most House members out of the reach of worrying about appealing to anyone except the crazies. So a Senator, like McCain, might worry about winning a statewide race is a rapidly browning state, the white racists from most of the Congressional districts could care less and will undoubtedly give in to the nativists.