Jonathan Chait

Nazi monetary policy fan Matthew Yglesias reviews the exploits of Hjalmar Schacht: FDR’s first move was to devalue the dollar relative to gold. Hitler’s parallel move was devised by the very clever Hjalmar Schacht who (as you can read in his Nuremberg Trials indictment) essentially introduced a parallel currency called “Mefo bills” by setting up a government-backed shell company that issued scrip. FDR’s second move was to have people panic that Hitler was going to conquer them and shift their gold to the USA.

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-- Why Iowa and New Hampshire have undue power. -- Jon Huntsman "believe[s] in evolution and trust[s] scientists on global warming. Call [him] crazy." -- Only 10 percent of people know about CTRL-F. -- Rick Perry isn't necessarily a great campaigner. -- It turns out people don't actually mind spending on public programs.

Today In Crazy

I've already covered Rick Santorum arguing that gay marriage helped cause the economic crisis. Since then Rick Perry, recently having expressed skepticism of climate science, is also expressing skepticism toward evolution.

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Rick Santorum draws the connection: Letting the family break down and in fact encouraging it and inciting more breakdown through this whole redefinition of marriage debate, and not supporting strong nuclear families and not supporting and standing up for the dignity of human life.

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Here is Rick Perry, as governor, being presented with the contrast between Texas's abstinence-only sex education program which he supports, and the state's very high teen pregnancy rate. watch him grapple with the question: Perry appears completely unable not only to answer the question but even to think in empirical terms. This speaks a bit to the point I made earlier about conservative identity politics. Liberals frequently believe that Republican leaders -- George W. Bush, Sarah Palin -- lack analytical intelligence.

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The Truman Show

A couple days ago, Norman Ornstein wrote a piece for TNR suggesting that Harry Truman's 1948 campaign offers a historic parallel for President Obama. Truman had seen Republicans sweep to power in the midterm elections two years before, and proceed to advocate a radical anti-government ideology that alienated large swaths of the electorate, allowing Truman to counterpose himself against them. Conservative pundit Michael Barone writes a column objecting to the parallel: There are in fact major differences between Truman’s standing in 1947–48 and Obama’s standing today.

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If Rick Perry wins the Republican nomination, or even the presidency, one of the less significant but more annoying ramifications will be the return of conservative identity politics. The Bush years saw the full flowering of this branch of right-wingery, which is devoted to exploring and nurturing the cultural grievances endured by white people in the "Heartland" at the hands of cultural elites. National Review editor Rich Lowry has a column, pegged to Perry, reviving the trope.

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Block Party

In 2006, Democrats won a landslide victory at the polls, sweeping to majorities in both houses of Congress. And then, the Democrats proceeded to do … hardly anything at all. Their agenda consisted mainly of halting George W. Bush’s domestic agenda. Even on the Iraq war, the unpopularity of which fueled the Democratic wave, the party did not make a serious effort to defund the campaign. Ultimately, Democrats funded a troop surge. The rough equivalent would be if Republicans this year wound up expanding the Affordable Care Act to cover illegal immigrants.

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-- A good example of why people don't like the Fed.  -- And here are several prominent conservatives who have no nice things to say about Ben Bernanke. -- If you're looking for a left-wing way to interpret Texas's admittedly impressive job growth, here it is.  -- Rick Perry's New Hampshire debut.  -- One of Bachmann's key Iowa organizers was arrested in Uganda on terrorism charges  in 2006. 

Paul Ryan explains why there won't be a Grand Bargain on the deficit: “I don’t think this committee is going to achieve a full fix to our problems, because Democrats have never wanted to put their health care bill on the table,” Representative Paul D. Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who leads the House Budget Committee and studiously avoided assignment to the new panel, said in a recent interview on “Fox News Sunday.” Of course, the Affordable Care Act reduces the deficit by a substantial amount over the long term.

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