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Paul Krugman: Tea Parties Reflect U.S. History of 'Paranoid' Politics

5 years ago
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In Monday's New York Times, Paul Krugman argues that Tea Party protests in Washington represent the mainstream of the Republican Party and are part of a long history of paranoid politics in the United States.
The state of mind visible at recent right-wing demonstrations is nothing new. Back in 1964 the historian Richard Hofstadter published an essay titled, "The Paranoid Style in American Politics," which reads as if it were based on today's headlines: Americans on the far right, he wrote, feel that "America has been largely taken away from them and their kind, though they are determined to try to repossess it and to prevent the final destructive act of subversion." Sound familiar?
Krugman says that conservatives have believed since the Reagan presidency that right-wing ideas would make a comeback, and are now reacting to the realization that their hopes were in vain. And their anger, he writes, could have serious effects on national policy.
If Tea Party Republicans do win big next year, what has already happened in California could happen at the national level. In California, the GOP has essentially shrunk down to a rump party with no interest in actually governing -- but that rump remains big enough to prevent anyone else from dealing with the state's fiscal crisis. If this happens to America as a whole, as it all too easily could, the country could become effectively ungovernable in the midst of an ongoing economic disaster.
That, Krugman writes, would be "very bad for America."
Filed Under: Media, Liberals

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