Petard Hoisting in the GOP

Krugman is having a morbid chuckle, as many of us are, at the Rove strategy…

…this story is all about the G.O.P. First came the southern strategy, in which the Republican elite cynically exploited racial backlash to promote economic goals, mainly low taxes for rich people and deregulation. Over time, this gradually morphed into what we might call the crazy strategy, in which the elite turned to exploiting the paranoia that has always been a factor in American politics — Hillary killed Vince Foster! Obama was born in Kenya! Death panels! — to promote the same goals.

But now we’re in a third stage, where the elite has lost control of the Frankenstein-like monster it created.

So now we get to witness the hilarious spectacle of Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal, pleading with Republicans to recognize the reality that Obamacare can’t be defunded. Why hilarious? Because Mr. Rove and his colleagues have spent decades trying to ensure that the Republican base lives in an alternate reality defined by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Can we say “hoist with their own petard”?

Of course, the coming confrontations are likely to damage America as a whole, not just the Republican brand. But, you know, this political moment of truth was going to happen sooner or later. We might as well have it now.

I would just say that the roots of this are deeper than the Southern Strategy of Nixon.  He and his advisers picked up and approved of behavior that was already obtuse and provocative in the same regions of the country, only then those who practiced it called themselves Democrats.  Look into the budget hostage example of Harry Byrd in the 1960s.  The Southern Strategy was simply to say, you can keep behaving the way you are, just come on over to my house.

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