One of the many dangers of having an 18-month primary season (the earliest presidential candidates joined the fray in the first months of 2015) but barely a 4-month general election season is that there’s so much party in-fighting you might get used to Republican crazy or even take it for granted. Sure, Bernie is a huge distraction that should exit this race sooner than later, but it’s important to remember there’s no kind of crazy like Republican crazy.
My fear is that we’ve seen them on TV for so long, saying the same lies for so long, proposing the same ruinous “solutions” to fight the same straw-man enemies for so long, that we may now have become immune to their crazy. As I pointed out earlier in the week, Trump’s comments that Saudia Arabia should have nuclear weapons—said enthusiastically and without blinking an eye or skipping a beat—barely raised an eyebrow in the media. For all the think pieces on the “evils” of Corey Lewandowski grabbing a reporter’s arm or of Trump just being generally offensive, there seemed to be shocking little coverage of a stunningly bad policy decision. Although maybe there have just been so many, it’s hard to keep up.
Likewise, you get the sense that whenever Ted Cruz speaks, the poor fact checker for that speech has to be hospitalized for exhaustion soon after it’s over. He lies like most people breathe, yet we’ve grown so used to it that people now view rebuttals of his lies as “the other side” or an equally substantial counter-argument. John Kasich has been able to successfully pass himself off as a moderate because we’ve all been so absorbed by “GOP Stockholm Syndrome” that anything short of executing IRS agents or an open endorsement of torturing EPA officials looks moderate now.
We’ve all heard Trump’s…uhhh…”interesting” ideas about how to protect America from illegals, trade, terrorists, political correctness, Rosie O’Donnell, etc. but what gets less attention are Ted Cruz’s equally absurd proposals to get rid of income taxes and institute a higher sales tax. This kind of policy is universally panned as regressive and likely to hurt poor people while not stimulating the economy at all as Reagonomics has only failed to work every time ever. Yet Kasich says roughly the same lie about “cutting taxes” and “balancing the budget.”
It is not possible to cut taxes and the deficit at the same time. I cannot believe I still have to say this after we’ve seen almost every state that’s gone head-over-heels for Reaganomics have a bad economy. And the lie about how they pay for these tax cuts—cut government spending, i.e. government jobs—almost never works either as these federal costs just get passed on to the states or a private contractor (that is more expensive) is hired to do the same job at more cost to the government.
Cruz’s ideas about getting rid of the IRS are ridiculous. Trump’s ideas about getting rid of the Department of Education is ridiculous. Kasich’s more general ideas about getting rid of federal jobs—though he does mention Transportation and the EPA—and letting states pick those jobs up is utter nonsense as a lot of states already have budget deficits they are a lot less likely to be able to make up than the federal government.
Their ideas are garbage. The fact that you rarely hear this by “moderates” or “independents” or people desperately trying to look “fair” just shows that we’ve been listening to this bull so long that we’ve been a bit brainwashed by it. When a guy like Kasich can merely say Republicans should meet with Merrick Garland—what used to be simply called “doing their job”—and look radical doing it, we’re living inside a psychological kidnapping situation, and it’s our sense of reality that’s being ransomed.