The irony is that, on the issues that large portions of the Republican and Democratic voting bases have traditionally cared most about, each side is losing. Defeated in the culture war, conservatives are supposed to take solace in lower marginal tax rates for the rich. Meanwhile progressives have won a string of battles over identity politics, while continually losing the fundamental fight for economic justice that, historically speaking, has been at the core of liberal and left-wing political movements in America. (None of this is meant to deny, of course, that cultural conservatives care about economic justice as they envision it, or that many liberals and leftists care passionately about culture war issues.)Locally, PNR takes a similar tone:
There are differences - real differences - between the parties, but the fact that both are venal and short-sighted blurs that difference. Whether it's protecting favored businesses from competition (which is what killing this bill does), subsidizing pet projects run by buddies, or directing public funds to private industries, the only real difference is which buddies, which businesses, and which industries get the bennies.Then there is this John Chait piece with some trenchant commentary about Paul Ryan's defense of his budget:
Meanwhile, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities has a longer list of the errors, distortions, and omissions in Ryan’s report. Even libertarian economist Tyler Cowen concludes that Ryan’s report presents “only a marginal command of the scholarly literature, and it is a good example of how the conservative movement is still allowing the poverty issue to defeat it and tie it up in knots.”
Ryan is very good at marshaling faux scholarship churned out by ideologues in the service of talking points, and at convincing reporters that he is an actual policy wonk. Unfortunately, he seems to have convinced himself and undertaken the ambitious goal of reconciling his policies with the work of real researchers. That was a bad, bad move.Finally, in response to Ryan's claims that the Keystone Pipeline is key to solving the crisis in Ukraine, there's this retort:
There’s no question that the one thing that will cower Putin is if Obama decides to pipe some Canadian fossil fuels through Nebraska to Gulf Coast posts. It’s hard to see how his Crimean policy can stand up to that bravery.