New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is a Major Award-winning economist. (No, he is not a Perry Street Palace Major Award™ winning economist — he apparently won some other obscure, and far less highly-coveted prize, which was bequeathed to him by a d00d named Noble, or Noehbell, or somesuch…whatever. It’s not important.) We at the Palace absolutely adore him because he is (a) a liberal, (b) not a conservative, (c) actually a liberal, and (d) pretty much always right about matters economic (and probably about a lot of other matters, too). We also love Paul Krugman because he is a flaming, flat-out, motherfucking LIB-ER-AL.
When we saw the headline of his most recent Times Op-Ed, we did a double-take: it read “Severe Conservative Syndrome.” Now, I know what you are thinking. You’re thinking that it’s about time the mainstream media paid some goddamn attention to the groundbreaking research the Palace has been doing on the menace that is Conservative Personality Disorder. Unfortunately, since the entire mainstream media has been infected with a particularly malignant and virulent strain of CPD, it is extremely unlikely that we will ever see any recognition of our cutting-edge work in their pages, websites, radio shows, Twitter feeds, or cable broadcasts — at least not until after the revolution.
This is precisely why we were overcome with emotion when we read the title of Krugman’s piece. “Severe Conservative Syndrome” is so obviously a slyly coded shout-out to the Palace — and to its beloved loyal readership as well, which apparently includes Paul fucking Krugman OMFG! — that I fell to my knees and wept right then and there, on the spot. You see, whenever I step foot out of the West Village, it becomes painfully clear to me that we are all living in a zombie apocalypse movie. And then it occurs to me that the people reading this blog might be the only humans left on the planet who have not been infected with the CPD zombie virus. (And sometimes the zombies even invade here, too!) What a delight it was, then, to read the rest of Mr. Krugman’s Op-Ed and learn that we are not the only people left on the planet to recognize right-wing conservatism as the brain-liquefying epidemic it so self-evidently is.
Here are some choice excerpts from the Op-Ed, ones that had us dancing and jumping around the Palace for joy, screaming Yes! Yes!:
Mitt Romney has a gift for words — self-destructive words. On Friday he did it again, telling the Conservative Political Action Conference that he was a “severely conservative governor.”
As Molly Ball of The Atlantic pointed out, Mr. Romney “described conservatism as if it were a disease.” Indeed. Mark Liberman, a linguistics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, provided a list of words that most commonly follow the adverb “severely”; the top five, in frequency of use, are disabled, depressed, ill, limited and injured.
Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes!
[T]infoil hats have become a common, if not mandatory, G.O.P. fashion accessory.
Hahaha! +10 for mockery!
How did American conservatism end up so detached from, indeed at odds with, facts and rationality?
Rest assured, Mr. Krugman: the Palace is on the case! Why, we have entire armies of scientists, researchers, theorists and statisticians working in the Palace Lab 24/7/365, trying to answer that very question! If we can find the disease vector, we have every hope of halting this deadly disease in its tracks. Mr. Krugman himself even proposes an explanation for the genesis of the phenomenon:
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.
It is a compelling hypothesis, and one that is not unique to Krugman of course. As everyone with a functioning cerebral cortex knows, Karl Rove does not give the smallest shit about
abortions birth control or gay marriage or Jeezus — but he and his ilk sure are quite adept at manipulating the dumbasses who do give a shit into storming the polls to vote for Republicans. Given that Paul Krugman is a Major Award-winning economist, it should not surprise us that his answer is grounded in the recent economic catastrophe and framed through that lens accordingly. And the Teabaggers understand the causes of their dismal economic predicament about as well as my neighbor’s goldfish does — but they sure do love to stick it to those dirty sluts and faggots and hippies and smarty-pants inteeleckshuls and godless heathens, amirite? (Of course I’m right. That was a rhetorical question.)
But Krugman’s explanation ignores something quite important: conservatives have always been “detached from, indeed at odds with, facts and rationality.” This is true by definition. They hang their hats firmly on unexamined dogma, familiar routines and self-serving traditions, no matter how counterproductive or destructive these have proven to be time and time again. Conservatives cling just as tightly to their delusions during boom times (because Jeezus loves America! Fuck yeah!) as they do when economic devastation roils the land (because Jeezus is punishing all of us for allowing
abortions birth control and gay marriage!). In the face of overwhelming evidence and facts to the contrary, conservatives cling to their delusions even more tightly. (Q: “Are you gonna believe Karl Rove, or your own lyin’ eyes!” A: Karl Rove! He’s a Real American!)
The proposition that economic conservative elites created this scary monster and have now lost control of it fails to take into account two key factors. First, this narrative gives Republican elites way too much credit: that monster has always been with us. It certainly predates my lifetime. From Joseph McCarthy to George Wallace to Phyllis Schlafly, the reactionary right fueled the opposition to the greatest liberal battles of our time: secularism, civil rights, feminism, and anything else that even remotely called into question their own (entirely unwarranted) sense of superiority. Theocrats, Vietnam war hawks, anti-feminists — these people are nothing new, no matter what slick and shiny new masks they may wear today. The slavish complicity of the media is a new and dangerous development: witness the rebranding of the same old, knuckle-dragging, Bush-following, hard-right Christian Republicans as the “Tea Party,” as if this were some important new grassroots phenomenon. If Krugman is really saying that cynical economic conservatives have exacerbated right-wing populism by deliberately stoking the wingnut id, that is one thing, and he will get no argument from me. But that’s not how I read him. It’s quite another thing entirely to posit that they were designed and created out of nothing, like some drooling Frankenstein with a pitchfork.
The second factor missing in Krugman’s analysis is that the wingnut base is very easily manipulated. They wear their lizard brains right there on their sleeves, where anyone with a 3-digit IQ, a Republican haircut, a flag pin and/or a bible can easily give them a nice quick stroke or two to get ’em stoked up. True, they may never really come around to Mitt Romney, but their hatred for Obama and the dirty libruls knows no depths.
Despite these small missteps, Mr. Krugman obviously gets the gist of the Palace’s CPD paradigm:
The point is that today’s dismal G.O.P. field — is there anyone who doesn’t consider it dismal? — is no accident. [Wait – you mean it’s not supposed to be hilarious? STFU. -Ed.] Economic conservatives played a cynical game, and now they’re facing the blowback, a party that suffers from “severe” conservatism in the worst way. And the malady may take many years to cure.
I think I can speak for all of us here at the Palace when I say that we look forward to keeping Mr. Krugman — and all of our other loyal readers! — up to date on our efforts to combat the scourge of Conservative Personality Disorder.