This column has reiterated, ad nauseam, that no matter how extreme GOP frontrunner Donald Trump appears, he clearly epitomizes all Republicans. Now, a Nobel prize-winning economist is saying the exact same thing with an addendum. In his column yesterday, Paul Krugman said that despite the apparent GOP establishment’s horror at Trump’s openly extremist positions on everything, the party is quietly thanking Trump for doing the Republican Party a huge service.
With all his nasty speech and intolerance for anyone not white and not Christian, Trump is successfully distracting mainstream voters from the radical extremism rampant among the GOP establishment. It is particularly true of the contenders for the Republican nomination to run for the presidency who Krugman asserts are monumentally more of a threat than George W. Bush because every Republican presidential candidate intends to take Bush’s economic and foreign policy abominations to “a dangerously radical extreme.”
Krugman said the pundits and press are missing the GOP establishment’s lurch toward “radicalism,” but that is questionable. That is, unless the bonehead pundits and press are so mesmerized by Trump that it drove them blind and deaf to the economic and foreign policy extremism rampant among the other Republicans running for the presidency. Or, it is another effect of Bush’s “dumbing down” crusade that affected pundits and the press alike. Whatever happened since Trump’s ascension, it is mainstream voters who likely imagine that any Republican not talking like Trump is an altruistic moderate. There is no such thing in either the establishment or fringe GOP and that was the crux of Krugman’s opinion piece.
Despite the catastrophic failures of all Bush policies, and losing the White House twice for pledging to repeat them, the GOP establishment “is instead doubling down with determination to take whatever didn’t work from 2001 to 2008 and do it again, in a more extreme form” according to Krugman.
It is not the kind of “agenda” that any Republican is ever going to campaign on or pledge to repeat with renewed intensity, but that it is precisely what every last Republican intends. Just ponder the devastation Republican governors in Kansas, Wisconsin, and Louisiana wrought on their states to prove “trickle down” works by doubling down on Bush’s tax-cuts for the rich policies.
For example, so-called “moderate” establishment Republicans like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush are proposing “more insane” tax cuts for the wealthy elite than W. Bush imagined he could get away with and still stay in office. In fact, one study of Jeb Bush’s tax plan shows his largesse toward the filthy rich is more aggressively tilted against the poor and middle class than anything his brother did, or would dare propose as remotely reasonable. Pundits and the press could not possibly ignore these radical proposals without “the Donald” dominating the daily news with hate-speech targeting Muslims, Mexicans, and moms.
Krugman also noted that no matter how extreme the Bush “administration’s determination to dismantle any and all restraints on banks,” including an event where a top Bush official took a chain saw to several stacks of regulations, the current GOP is much more extreme. Apparently, because Republicans successfully convinced conservatives that the banking regulations Bush could not abolish actually caused the Great Recession, a “thoroughly debunked” concept, the GOP candidates joined the establishment in demanding an immediate repeal of the pathetically insufficient Dodd-Frank financial regulations; those meant to prevent another unregulated financial industry catastrophe to eviscerate the economy.
Then there is every Republican candidate’s intent to repeat the Bush’s Iraq debacle. If it is not calls for a massive invasion across the Middle East, or “carpet bombing” ISIS and civilians alike, or wondering why America is not employing its nuclear arsenal, it is Jeb Bush hiring the Iraq war architects as foreign policy advisors. The other Republican candidates may not have hired Bush’s warmongers like Jeb!, they have all proposed exerting America’s military might as the only foreign policy this country will employ.
Look, Donald Trump is a mean-spirited bigot, but so are the rest of the GOP candidates for the presidency; they just keep their radicalism away from the press. However, they are not being quiet about their opinions that the singular problem with George W. Bush’s catastrophic economic and foreign policies was that they were not extreme enough.
Without the punditry and press focusing on Trump’s nativist and racial hate agenda, the entire nation would know that supporting any Republican is supporting a return to Bush’s disasters to serve no-one but the rich, banks, big oil, and the military industrial complex. And for that the GOP establishment is secretly thanking their deity for sending Donald Trump to divert the public’s attention from the so-called “moderate” Republicans’ extremism.