On ABC’s This Week, Paul Krugman perfectly described the Republicans as people who are ignorant on policy who don’t understand anything.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But isn’t a shakedown going to backfire?
KRISTOL: Not necessarily if it’s a day or two or three. There have been shutdowns throughout the last 25 years. As you know, they don’t always backfire.
It’s a little delicate. But look, it’s why not delay at least parts of Obamacare for a year?
KRUGMAN: Because it’s the signature achievement. Its funny–
KRISTOL: Is that a good reason? A political reason like that?
KRUGMAN: It’s a good thing. It happens in fact to be a very good law. One of the things I think that’s going on here is just a failure on the part of the Republican caucus to actually understand anything about this thing. That they, you know, not they, they haven’t done the policy. They haven’t understood.
In fact almost all of the substantive news about Obamacare over the last couple of months has been good. The premiums are coming in well below expectations. Healthcare costs are moderating. Probably there will be some technical glitches with computer systems. But those are not fundamental. So actually people who support this law are looking forward, they’re actually almost hearing, I think, the preliminary results.
So the odds are that this is going to do a lot of good for a lot of people. Why not put it into effect now?
KRISTOL: Should the president delay the employer mandate?
KRUGMAN: The employer mandate was–
KRISTOL: Wait should he? Yes or no?
KRUGMAN: Yeah actually because–
KRISTOL: But not the individual mandate.
KRUGMAN: They are completely different–
KRISTOL: Business gets the delay but individuals don’t.
KRUGMAN: That’s what I’m talking about, this policy ignorance. Not understanding. That the employer mandate is basically a trivial add-on to the law. While the individual mandate is essential to that. You don’t understand that. You don’t understand–
Paul Krugman was being gentle by describing the Republican problem as policy ignorance. It is true that Republicans are ignorant about most policies that they disagree with, but that ignorance is intentional and fostered by culture that is out to oppose President Obama at all costs.
As far as the ACA is concerned, Republicans got their talking point that the bill was 2,000 pages long and too hard to read, so they campaigned against it without ever reading it. In Republican lore, the size of the bill keeps growing. Last night on the House floor a Republican congressman described the bill as 2,500 pages long. If this keeps up, the ACA should hit 3,000 pages in the Republican mind by early 2014.
Republicans are policy ignorant because they don’t care about policy. For them, everything is about denying Obama a “win.” The downside of their behavior is that they continually insist on infecting the rest of the country with their ignorance. They aren’t content to just behave as a caucus of stupid. Republicans constantly feel the need to spread their anti-intellectual disease.
Ignorance is being used as a tool of opposition. The GOP’s anti-Obamacare efforts are all about keeping people misinformed and ignorant. In part this is a political means to an end, but it also represents the anti-intellectualism within the conservative movement. Today’s Republicans aren’t thinkers. They’re believers, and for them ignorance truly is bliss.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association