Paul Krugman has a must-read column today about how the thirty years of poisonous bait-and-switch politics is destroying the GOP:
How did American conservatism end up so detached from, indeed at odds with, facts and rationality? For it was not always thus. After all, that health reform Mr. Romney wants us to forget followed a blueprint originally laid out at the Heritage Foundation!
My short answer is that the long-running con game of economic conservatives and the wealthy supporters they serve finally went bad. For decades the G.O.P. has won elections by appealing to social and racial divisions, only to turn after each victory to deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy—a process that reached its epitome when George W. Bush won re-election by posing as America’s defender against gay married terrorists, then announced that he had a mandate to privatize Social Security.
Over time, however, this strategy created a base that really believed in all the hokum—and now the party elite has lost control.
And a personal thanks to Krugman for both his restrained acknowledgment of the new definition of "santorum" and for correctly identifying what inspired the new definition:
Rick Santorum [is] the clear current favorite among usual Republican primary voters, running 15 points ahead of Mr. Romney. Anyone with an Internet connection is aware that Mr. Santorum is best known for 2003 remarks about homosexuality, incest and bestiality. But his strangeness runs deeper than that.
The effort to redefine "santorum" was not, as some have asserted, inspired by Rick Santorum's opposition to gay marriage. It was always about—it was in response to—Santorum's infamous 2003 interview with the AP. In that interview Santorum compared same-sex relationships to child rape and dog fucking. The goal was to make sure that no one would ever forget those remarks—"This episode will never be forgotten!", wrote the "Savage Love" reader who proposed the contest to redefine "santorum"—and here we are, eight years later, and Santorum is still answering for that interview.