As a Brit I have always been confused by what Americans regard as 'right' and 'left'. Having followed politics closely in this country since the late 90's, I understand that in America Bill Clinton is considered liberal while George W. Bush is considered conservative.
In Britain, Bill Clinton would be considered very conservative, particularly in regards to the economy (think NAFTA, welfare reform and the deregulation of the financial industry). George Bush would be considered so far right as to be borderline insane, and he would most likely barred from entering the political system for fear of him collapsing the country.
In relation to the rest of the industrialized world, Britain is regarded as being a very conservative country, so one can imagine what, say, your average Swede would think of America.
The election of Barack Obama however, appears to have set the right in America on an even more bizarre, fanatical course as the likes of Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio have emerged as genuine prospects for Presidential consideration, and become the major spokespeople for Republican values.
More bizarrely, Marco Rubio is now regarded as a moderate Republican that the establishment can rally around and propel into a major election. As Paul Krugman points out, several years ago, Rubio would have been considered a "fringe crank", particularly due to his fanatical belief in free markets and gigantic tax cuts for big business and the rich. Here was Krugman's analysis of Rubio's terrifying economic proposals for the country:
You probably know that Mr. Rubio is proposing big tax cuts, and may know that among other things he proposes completely eliminating taxes oninvestment income — which would mean, for example, that Mitt Romney would end up owing precisely zero in federal taxes.
What you may not know is that Mr. Rubio’s tax cuts would be almost twice as big as George W. Bush’s as a percentage of gross domestic product — despite the fact that federal debt is much higher than it was 15 years ago, and Republicans have spent the Obama years warning incessantly that budget deficits will destroy America, any day now.
But not to worry: Mr. Rubio insists that his tax cuts would pay for themselves, by unleashing incredible economic growth. Never mind the complete absence of any evidence for this claim — in fact, the last two Democratic presidents, both of whom raised taxes on the rich, both presided over better private-sector job growth than Mr. Bush did (and that’s even if you leave out the catastrophe of Mr. Bush’s last year in office).
Then there’s Mr. Rubio’s call for a balanced-budget amendment, which, aside from making no sense at the same time he is calling for budget-busting tax cuts, would have been catastrophic during the Great Recession.
Finally, there’s monetary policy. Republicans have spent years inveighing against the Fed’s efforts to stave off economic disaster, warning again and again that runaway inflation is just around the corner — and being wrong all the way. But Mr. Rubio hasn’t changed his monetary tune at all, declaring a few days ago that it’s “not the Fed’s job to stimulate the economy” (although the law says that it is).
In short, Mr. Rubio is peddling crank economics.
Again, Rubio's crank economics are regarded as being moderate in today's political climate -- a truly appalling revelation that should inspire every true moderate conservative to switch party immediately. The country has only just barely recovered from the catastrophic Bush years, when fantasy economics reigned and reality regarded as a political inconvenience. A single term of a Rubio presidency could send the country back into an economic death spiral, undoing the work Obama and his team of actual grownups have put in over the past 7 years -- a prospect no intelligent person should even begin to entertain.