Remember the way the real estate bubble and subsequent financial crash went down? There were clear warning signs — unprecedented growth in housing prices, rampant speculation in some housing markets, mortgage-backed securities that were rated AAA yet were clearly vulnerable to increases in foreclosure rates, too many homeowners using home equity loans as piggy banks — but in the short term there was no reason not to laissez les bons temps rouler. The bankers were making a fortune selling mortgage-backed crap, flipping houses was profitable, and the maestro Alan Greenspan was giving the whole enterprise his seal of approval. And when it all went Pete Tong, you blame it on the strapping young bucks buying mcmansions with their CRA dollars.
The same thing is happening with the market for wingnuttery. There are clear warning signs — a demographic time bomb that will destroy xenophobes politically, widespread public support for Medicare and Social Security, a new generation of voters that voted Democrat two-to-one in 2008. In the meantime, though, suicidal budgetary fantasies are applauded by the entire Village, snubbing Latinos earns cheers from the base, and everyone’s getting rich peddling snake oil on Fox, on the radio, at think tanks, and with book sales. The serious people at the Pulitzer prize committee have now given it all their seal of approval. Why rock the boat? There’s simply no short-term incentive for anyone on the right to do anything other than spew the craziest right-wing nonsense they can think of.
When the bubble bursts, they can blame it on strapping young bucks speaking Spanish. The bankers got bail-outs and bonuses; elite wingers will get think tank gigs.
Make no mistake, the bubble will eventually burst.