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Paul Krugman compares the Right’s nonsensical arguments against global warming and economic inequality:
Think about climate change. You have various right-wingers simultaneously (a) denying that global warming is happening (b) denying that anyone denies that global warming is happening, but denying that humans are responsible (c) denying that anyone denies that humans are causing global warming, insisting that the real argument is about the appropriate response.
I’m not sure there are three levels (yet) on inequality, but we definitely have (a) right-wingers denying that inequality is rising and (b) denying that anyone is denying the rise in inequality, but attacking any proposal to limit that rise.
Obsfucation is the name of the game here – the Republicans say alot of different things according to their audience and hope that no one calls them out on their blindingly obvious contradictions. In the 24/7 news media age, this is pretty easy to do. The public doesn’t really pay attention to what politicians are saying, they pay attention to how they are saying it. As long as Rick Perry appears Presidential and has his hair in the right place, it doesn’t really matter what comes out of his mouth.
This means that policy plays a secondary role in politics, and when you don’t have any policy, you make up for it with over the top rhetoric and acting. This is the primary reason candidates like Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry have made it so far in the Republican primaries. They are caricatures of politicians – so over the top and ridiculous that you couldn’t invent them – and the reason why uneducated middle Americans who have been subjected relentless Fox News propaganda buy into them.
It’s hard to know what to do to counter this dangerous trend. Do you argue with facts, or attempt to beat them at their own game? The latter might work in the short run, but I don’t think it can be a long term strategy to combat the GOP’s descent into utter madness.
One hopes that truth will prevail. We might just have to wait a while for it to work.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.