Thursday, December 28, 2006

Paul Krugman: A Failed Revolution

[Republcan] apologists have settled on a story line that sounds just like Marxist explanations for the failure of the Soviet Union.... [T]he noble ideals of the Republican revolution of 1994 were undermined by Washington’s corrupting ways.... [D]efeat was a good thing, because it will force a return to the true conservative path. But the truth is that the movement... was always based on a lie.... As long as people like Mr. Armey, Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay were out of power, they could run on promises to eliminate vast government waste that existed only in the public’s imagination — all those welfare queens driving Cadillacs. But once in power, they couldn’t deliver.... Unable to make good on its promises, the G.O.P., like other failed revolutionary movements, tried to maintain its grip by exploiting its position of power. Friends were rewarded with patronage: Jack Abramoff began building his web of corruption almost as soon as Republicans took control. Adversaries were harassed with smear campaigns.... Without 9/11, the Republican revolution would probably have petered out quietly... Instead, the atrocity created ... four extra years gained by drowning out unfavorable news with terror alerts, starting a gratuitous war, and accusing Democrats of being weak on national security.... In the end, Republicans didn’t shrink the government. But they did degrade it.... Is that the end for the radical right? Probably not.... Still, the Republican revolution of 1994 is over. And not a moment too soon.

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