What more is there to say about about the topic of the week, Paul Ryan's "Path to Prosperity?" Its novelty, as it were, is a complete fiction. Anybody who has paid the slightest bit of attention to American politics over the last century knows that Republicans are opposed to funding a welfare state. Anybody paying attention to American politics over the last 30 years knows that slashing income taxes, capital gains taxes, estate taxes, or any tax falling on the richest Americans has been the top priority of the Republican Party. And anyone paying attention to American politics over the last 15 years knows that Republicans have only intensified in these views and have begun to punish apostates across the board.
Richard Florida has a post in The Atlantic that sees the number of people who self-identify as conservative state by state as evidence that "America is an increasingly conservative nation, by ideology and by political affiliation." Let's leave aside the obvious point that Americans telling us they are "conservative" is essentially meaningless in terms of sussing out the ideological bent -- if any -- of the country. Florida asks a more interesting question, which is why some states are becoming more conservative, looking at a variety of possible correlating data.
As I've written before, to call public furor thus started "astroturf" or phony misses the point; people can try to make an idea catch fire, but it only does so if it genuinely meets the emotional or political needs of a mass; and the need to pretend that the only reason anyone is against public unions, taxes, and spending is that evil oil billionaires are paying them or manipulating them is mighty strong out in the rank and file as well as among progressive leadership, in government or the foundations.
Conor Friedersdorfcalls on the right to police their media outlets and call out slander and lies, but rightfully notes that critics fail to realize how fundamental a shift this would be for conservatives: