Are you watching Up With Chris Hayes? It’s really good. There was a discussion last week about what the GOP will do if the economy speeds up its recovery. It was a good discussion of the bind that the Republicans face. Chris and others suggested that the GOP could declare victory, saying something like “we faced down the President during the debt ceiling fight and put the breaks on his runaway agenda, and now the job creators can get to work.”
However the entire campaign rhetoric so far is either about the deficit, which stands in for how out-of-control Obama is supposed to have been, or about policies that go to benefit the “job creators” – dismantling Dodd-Frank, stopping the enforcement of environmental and labor regulations, cutting corporate taxes, etc. If the job creators are doing ok as a result of the GOP events of 2011, then that removes their main argument, which is that Obama’s administration has stalled the recovery and a policy agenda further to the Right needs to be put into place.
I still think its a mistake to believe that the latest focus on “culture war” issues are the result of confusion by the GOP of how to message the economy – the issues are real, and have been developing in shock battles at the state level for some time.
With that in mind, three recommended readings on what has been happening. Here are the New Republic editors on the latest resurgence of the culture war: “Taken together, they start to look like a disturbing trend. Increasingly, what we are seeing from the right when it comes to women’s issues is not conservatism but radicalism: a bid to roll back the gains and freedoms that feminism has managed to earn for women.” Irin Carmon asks what are Republicans thinking? “Most of all, Republicans seem intent on proving that pro-choicers are correct when they accuse them of being more obsessed with policing women’s sex lives than any actual policymaking.” And here’s Andrew Hartman on how the culture wars never went away.