The New York Times has not one, but two K.O. punches for the Republican presidential campaign and the Summer of Donald. First Krugman:
…Go back to the politics of 2009, when the new Obama administration was trying to cope with the most terrifying crisis since the 1930s. The outgoing Bush administration had already engineered a bank bailout, but the Obama team reinforced this effort with a temporary program of deficit spending, while the Federal Reserve sought to bolster the economy by buying lots of assets.
And Republicans, across the board, predicted disaster. Deficit spending, they insisted, would cause soaring interest rates and bankruptcy; the Fed’s efforts would “debase the dollar” and produce runaway inflation.
None of it happened. Interest rates stayed very low, as did inflation. But the G.O.P. never acknowledged, after six full years of being wrong about everything, that the bad things it predicted failed to take place, or showed any willingness to rethink the doctrines that led to those bad predictions. Instead, the party’s leading figures kept talking, year after year, as if the disasters they had predicted were actually happening.
…How would the men and women who would be president respond if crisis struck on their watch?
And the answer, on the Republican side at least, seems to be: with bluster and China-bashing. Nowhere is there a hint that any of the G.O.P. candidates understand the problem, or the steps that might be needed if the world economy hits another pothole.
And then there is this, from Timothy Egan:
In a few weeks, Pope Francis will visit our fair land, a fitting pivot from the Summer of Trump, closing out a gluttonous episode of narcissism, rudeness, frivolity and xenophobia. For all that the orangutan-haired vulgarian has done to elevate the worst human traits a public figure can have, Francis is the anti-Trump. He has more power, media magnetism and authenticity in his lone functioning lung than Donald Trump has in his entire empire of ego.
…But for saying things that the darker elements of the Republican Party believe, but rarely voice, Trump is their clear front-runner — a dangerous moment for a troubled party. He’s drawn praise from ex-Klansmen like David Duke. The Daily Storm, a neo-Nazi website, urged its followers “to vote for the first time in our lives for the one man who actually represents us.”
Egan is no doubt correct that the Pope’s visit will certainly set a stark contrast to the Summer of Donald, reminding the American public of the dignity that is now sorely lacking among Republican leaders. That’s what it has come to — a once great political party reduced to groveling for any kind of media coverage while their ring-master hogs the limelight with increasingly lame pronouncements. The Democratic Party has its problems, but it can’t be denied that the modern GOP sets a matchless standard for well-earned ridicule.