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Parallel universe collapsing?

May 22nd, 2012

Over the last few months, a string of seemingly solid pillars of the rightwing ideological establishment have crashed, or at least wobbled. The typical case has been one of over-reach followed by public exposure and then a rush of sponsors and other supporters for the exit. Examples include

* Rush Limbaugh’s attack on Sandra Fluke and subsequent abandonment by sponsors

* The failed attempt by rightwing operatives at the Komen Foundation to blacklist Planned Parenthood

* The exposure of ALEC’s responsibility for the “stand your ground” laws that played a critical role in the Trayvon Martin case

* Most recently, the  Heartland Institute has seen sponsors bail and its entire Washington team (mostly focused on insurance issues) decamp, promising that their new operation will have nothing to do with climate “scepticism”

In addition to this, but arguably sui generis are

* the attempt (which looks like succeeding) by the Koch Brothers to take control of Cato, easily the most credible thinktank on the right of politics

* the denunciation of the Republican party by Norman Ornstein, long presented as the intellectually respectable face of the American Enterprise Institute

It’s striking that these things are happening at a time when Mitt Romney is running neck and neck with Obama and there is a serious chance that the Repubs will control all three branches of government. So, the intellectual apparatus of the Republican seems to be collapsing of its own accord, rather than because the poltiical tide is running against it.

I don’t have a fully satisfactory analysis of this, but the simple proposition that “truth will out” seems to be working at some level. As long as things are going well, these organizations and pundits benefit from the reflexive assumptions of balance, two sides to every story and so on. But they’ve lied so often and so blatantly that this requires a lot of cognitive dissonance. When they overreach and screw up in the process, the cognitive dissonance is resolved against them. And (subject to the same cognitive dissonance) people now understand that the whole Repub apparatus is like this, so that the obscurity of a group like ALEC isn’t much of a defence when they are caught redhanded.

That’s probably overoptimistic, but its good to have a few wins on this front, after years of successful Swiftboating by the other side.

Posted via email from John’s posterous

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  1. J-D
    May 25th, 2012 at 14:51 | #1

    Alan :
    @Jack Strocchi
    … No-one has ever formed a federal government without winning a majority of seats in NSW …

    False. The Coalition has formed a Federal government on three occasions (1951, 1954, and 1961) without a majority of seats in NSW. (This information is reasonably accessible on the Web for anybody who really wants to find it.)

    This kind of pattern doesn’t prove anything anyway. At any time before 1980 it would have been accurate to say that the Coalition had never formed a Federal government without a majority of seats in Victoria. Then in 1980 it did for the first time (and it has again since, more than once). Anything can happen for the first time.

  2. Alan
    May 25th, 2012 at 18:05 | #2

    I stand corrected with the proviso that it remains true that Labor has never formed a government federally without winning a majority of seats in NSW.

  3. Jim Rose
    May 25th, 2012 at 19:12 | #3

    queensland will overtake Vic in population and seats in the 2020s. trends can change

    when that happens, there will be 3 months of official mourning

  4. Jim Rose
    May 26th, 2012 at 16:20 | #4

    John, is the following the typical actions of a worse that a AEI hack? a tea party hack?

    Rand Paul press release:

    Today the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (S.3187), which included language inserted by Sen. Rand Paul.

    This language would force the FDA to accept data from clinical investigations conducted outside the United States, including the European Union, to speed the process of getting life-saving drugs on the market by the FDA.

    “Innovation in clinical drug trials should not be confined to the data received from trials in the United States. Findings from countries that incorporate the same rigorous requirements as we do when developing life-saving drugs and devices should be accepted by the FDA as well,” Sen. Paul said.

    HT: link from marginal revolution blog

  5. Fran Barlow
    June 2nd, 2012 at 08:01 | #5

    More from the post-truth world:

    North Carolina has come up with a novel way of dealing with the problems projected sea level rise over the next 100 years or so of 1–>1.5 metres have for those proposing to develop coastal property — legislation. If you don’t like science in North Carolina, if it gives you the wrong answers, if it is (oh the humanity!) “anti-business and development”, you just know there has to be a law against it

    North Carolina considers making Sea Level Rise Illegal

    It does lend a rather interesting addition to the examples in which climate change deniers project their own ethical and intellectual flaws onto their enemies. Here, group think to serve a policy agenda is to become the law. A panel with a brief to protect those with a financial stake in coastal property are to be the sole interpreters of the science underpinning their ostensible work. They are making self-deception an ethical virtue. Most amazingly, nobody had to hack into some university system’s server to add the suffix “gate” to what they found. They just have to pay attention to what really happens when the loopier sections of the boss class have untramelled control of public policy.

  6. Fran Barlow
    June 2nd, 2012 at 08:07 | #6

    This recalls a fun piece I read a while back in The Onion:

    Christian Right Lobbies to Overturn 2ns Law of Thermodynamics

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