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Tea-Party Radicalism, Bill Clinton Style



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The latest installment in my series, Jon Chait Can’t Read:

Jon Chait’s [*SEE CORRECTION] list of items purporting to demonstrate Republican/tea-party radicalism includes policies that range “from renewed military aggression in the Middle East, to major changes in Social Security and Medicare, to abandonment of a federal role in environmental protection and education, to destruction of progressive taxation, to maintenance of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and continued assaults on abortion rights.”

This is the flavor of right-wing radicalism that (allowing for the usual Chaitian overstatement) could be endorsed by Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton, Bill Clinton, and, before he got presidential ambitions, Bill Clinton.

I know it sounds awfully conservative to say, but they just don’t make radical right-wingers like they used to.

I am not sure how accurate this list is, at any rate. I am pretty sure that Sharron Angle does not harbor any nefarious ideas about Social Security (inasmuch as I am sure that she does not harbor any ideas about Social Security at all, having given little serious attention to entitlement reform) or that Rand Paul is super-eager to invade Syria.

It is true that Christine O’Donnell believes there should be strict limitations on abortion — as do 39 percent of Americans. Another 23 percent of Americans believe abortion should be illegal in all circumstances. Chris Coons strongly supports not only an unrestricted right to abortion, but also having the government use taxpayer dollars to pay for abortion — something opposed by a solid majority of Americans. So who is the radical in the race? Add polls to the list of things Jon Chait can’t read.

*This should be headlined: Kevin Williamson Can’t Read Bylines; Chait linked to the blog post in question but did not write it. The author was Ed Kilgore.



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