I noticed a segment on Fareed Zakaria’s GPS in which Naomi Klein, Eliot Spitzer, David Frum, and Stephen Dubner discuss financial regulation in the aftermath of the worst recession in over 70 years.  After Klein and Spitzer had a chance to give their views on the need for financial regulation to prevent another disaster like we experienced in 2008-09, Dubner steps in, saying

“…government right now in Washington is at this bizarre place where, if it’s not paralyzed or broken, it’s pretty darn close.  It’s really hard to…it’s really hard for me, as someone who doesn’t really traffic in the political realm willingly or all that often to see where’s a good outcome here from a political perspective because I don’t see it.”

Zakaria then goes on to agree with him:  “…on any issue if you look at…immigration, energy, it’s just paralyzed in general.”  Then Frum adds “The US government doesn’t govern well, we’ll concede that, but the American private sector does deliver unbelievable things and we are sitting here at the end of an extraordinary innovation…”

I’m pretty much done with trying to figure out if conservatives and neoconservatives actually believe that an unhinged, unfettered marketplace would yield beneficial results or are just saying so because their jobs depend on them not understanding the adverse effects of such deregulation.  The fact is that on a range of issues, from energy to healthcare to financial regulation, Republicans in Congress have blocked efforts at reform, choosing to side with their corporate paymasters who benefit financially from the status quo.  When Republicans control the executive branch, they appoint hacks to head government agencies about which they are ideologically opposed, while de-funding and under staffing those same agencies.  And then when Democrats have control, conservatives say, gee, look at how bad the government works while they block reform.

Thomas Frank was on PBS’ Bill Moyers Journal recently and discussed this stupefying phenomenon.

The analogy that works for me is that Republicans are the lead elephant on the back of our collective airplane and we are trying to take off before we reach the end of the runway, but it is a very heavy elephant.  And on issues such as climate change, the whole world is on board.