End of Conservative Ascendency

David Brooks Hammers Bobby Jindal & Mike Pence Says Crazy Things

Via Ben Smith, this clip of conservative pundit David Brooks laying into Bobby Jindal's speech last night is pretty astounding-- he calls the speech "stale," "insane," and "a disaster for the Republican Party:"

But he's right, of course. The people of Louisiana (who have perhaps benefitted more than the people of any other state from government spending in recent years) should be very concerned that their governor is liable to turn down funds from the stimulus package, or turn off the flow of other money coming from Washington.

These hackneyed old ideas about government spending being the problem are not only wrong-- in an economic climate like this, they're dangerous. Here's Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana making the same argument Jindal made, asking congress to "freeze federal spending."

If this were only one crazy congressman, I wouldn't be concerned, but these are the standard talking points of the right-- Jindal was saying essentially the same things last night.  It's alarming that the Republican Party is so obviously out of ideas that they've fallen back on suggesting we shut down the government to combat a recession.

UPDATE: Paul Krugman explains pretty well why this argument is so crazy. It's because there are, you know, things the government needs to do.  And then, at the end:

And leaving aside the chutzpah of casting the failure of his own party’s governance as proof that government can’t work, does he really think that the response to natural disasters like Katrina is best undertaken by uncoordinated private action? Hey, why bother having an army? Let’s just rely on self-defense by armed citizens.

The intellectual incoherence is stunning. Basically, the political philosophy of the GOP right now seems to consist of snickering at stuff that they think sounds funny. The party of ideas has become the party of Beavis and Butthead.

Whip Yo House

The Republican minority in the House got whipped last week-- and not just by the Democrats. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (a latter-day Gingrich, according to the NY Times) is celebrating his flawless defeat in a new video, boasting of absolute fealty to the Republican line in the ARRA vote: 

The total lack of "Yea" votes from House Republicans says one of two things.  Either the GOP is settling comfortably into the role of irrelevant opposition ("furniture," in Politico's construction) wherein not a single House Republican will play the role of compromiser that Snowe, Collins and Specter are playing in the Senate-- either that, or Eric Cantor threatened to get literal in his role as Whip, Aerosmith-style. Which is it, dear reader?

Rush-Watch, Part II

Yesterday, I wrote about how Rush Limbaugh's anachronistic racial views could be his ticket to irrelevance. Today, I came across three radio ads put out by Americans United for Change, a grassroots progressive organization, that set Limbaugh up as a foil to Barack Obama.

The ads urge voters to call their Senators and tell them to vote for the stimulus bill-- "to reject the partisanship and failed economic policies of the past"-- vote against Rush Limbaugh, and side with President Obama. It's a tough position for Rush-- I wouldn't want to be pitted against Obama in any battle right now.

The ads will run starting tomorrow in Pennsylvania, Nevada, and Ohio. Jonathan Martin at Politico has an article on the ads.

I have no doubt Limbaugh will continue to discredit himself with racist and otherwise insane remarks. Sooner or later, a leading Republican will have the courage to to denounce him, and then the dominos will begin to fall for Rush.

Is the Race Breaking to Obama?

Diving into the morning news cloud, you can discern an emerging thread threatening to become conventional wisdom - the election appears to be breaking toward Obama now. As we've reported on this blog over the last few days, there is all sorts of evidence coming from the McCain camp that they see the Electoral College slipping away. Early voting numbers show significant advantages for the Democrats, even in vital swing states. After trending toward McCain a bit late last week, the national polls are now trending Obama, and surprisingly the movement is two way - toward Barack and away from McCain. 

Increasingly, we will start to hear quiet talk of realignment, blowout, rout, coattails, new political era. For if the trends continue, we are headed toward a true blowout with the top of the Democratic ticket getting its highest vote share since 1964, Democrats having more ideological control of Washington since the mid 1960s and Democrats having the makings of a new very 21st century majority coalition they could ride for the next 30-40 years of politics. 

Their opposition, the conservatives and Republicans, have become intellectually exhausted, politically discredited and temperamentally reactionary and angry. This is a movement and party that prospered in the 20th century but now seems lost, adrift and resistant to the new politics of the 21st. In these last few weeks in particular, the GOP looks like a party that could be out of power for a very long time. 

For those on the American center-left, these are heady political times. But they are also sober and serious times, as the Democrats begin to confront the enormity of the governing challenges facing the next Congress and President.    

As is custom now, DemFromCT has an excellent analysis on all these new polling trends this morning over at Daily Kos.

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