First, we've talked sometimes about Paul Krugman here. Finally, we have proof that he has absolutely lost his mind and become a radical economist in this interview:
They're much more organized and the funding has increased to a level that wasn't there before. Basically there's a lot more money behind it, there's a lot more organized fanaticism. The strength of the hard religious right — even though the numbers are probably smaller than they were in the 80s — is higher because the fanaticism of those who remain is much greater.
And of course September 11th, which gave them the ability to turn national security into a club with which to dash down opposition to this radical agenda, has made it much more severe than it was. Basically, they just got better at it. The "compassionate conservative" front is something that they learned their lessons about. They learned not to run people like Steve Forbes, but to run people who could talk a better game while actually doing the same stuff.
The current complaint is that Bush is a deceiver, misleading the country into a war, after which there turned out to be no weapons of mass destruction. But it is hard to credit the deception charge when every intelligence agency on the planet thought Iraq had these weapons and, indeed, when the weapons there still remain unaccounted for. Moreover, this is a post-facto rationale. Sure, the aftermath of the Iraq war has made it easier to frontally attack Bush. But the loathing long predates it. It started in Florida and has been deepening ever since Bush seized the post-9/11 moment to change the direction of the country and make himself a President of note.
Which is why the Democratic candidates are scrambling desperately to out-Dean Dean. Their constituency is seized with a fever, and will nominate whichever candidate feeds it best. Political fevers are a dangerous thing, however. The Democrats last came down with one in 1972--and lost 49 states.
ARGH! I am getting seriously tired of the "if the Dems nominate Dean it'll be McGovern or Mondale a 49-1 debacle again." I don't care who the Dems run, this will be a tight race unless something very out of the ordinary happens in the coming year. Okay, well maybe not if Sharpton, Kucinich, or Mosely-Braun get it, but among candidates with more than 1% support there is no one who will not make this a tight race.
The word last fall was that Edwards didn't have much of a chance in his state's Senate race. Polls (http://www.jomc.unc.edu/carolinacommunicator/archives/winter2003/carolinapoll.html) showed him losing support before he left the race to run for president....