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The American Right Wing Does Not Live in the Real World

And it hasn't for some time. As former Bush-administration staffer and longtime conservative David Frum points out, the Republican right has lost its way. It is a party of fanatics who demonize their Democrat rivals and obstruct necessary policy changes at the risk of bankrupting their country. Brainless and incoherent, their mad posturing is hurting America.

America desperately needs a responsible and compassionate alternative to the Obama administration’s path of bigger government at higher cost. And yet: This past summer, the GOP nearly forced America to the verge of default just to score a point in a budget debate. In the throes of the worst economic crisis since the Depression, Republican politicians demand massive budget cuts and shrug off the concerns of the unemployed. In the face of evidence of dwindling upward mobility and long-stagnating middle-class wages, my party’s economic ideas sometimes seem to have shrunk to just one: more tax cuts for the very highest earners. When I entered Republican politics, during an earlier period of malaise, in the late seventies and early eighties, the movement got most of the big questions—crime, inflation, the Cold War—right. This time, the party is getting the big questions disastrously wrong.

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