"Treating same-sex partnerships differently from husband-wife marriages only serves to divide and antagonize those who ought to be working together." - David Frum, explaining why he signed the Republican brief supporting gay marriage.
[Photo: Ben Margot/AP]
In 1980, the U.S. and its core allies produced half the planet’s output. As things are going, that group of democracies will do well to produce even one third in the 2020s. Back then, the U.S. was threatened by a great military adversary. In the 21st century, the U.S. faces an economic and technological rival for the first time since 1917.
In 1980, the gap between rich and poor had only just begun to widen from its narrowest point of the whole 20th century. Today, the typical worker earns less than his counterpart of 1980, middle-class incomes are stagnating, and wealth and power have concentrated to a degree that would startle even the Astors and the Vanderbilts.
In 1980, presidential elections were publicly financed, and post-Watergate reforms tightly governed congressional elections. Today, the post-Watergate reforms have collapsed, and presidential elections are increasingly financed by small numbers of extremely wealthy individuals who can bend the political system to their will.
In 1980, middle-class Americans regarded economic progress as the norm, and tough times as the exception. Today, a plurality of non-college-educated whites say they expect their children to be no better off than they are themselves.
In 1980, this was still an overwhelmingly white country. Today, a majority of the population under age 18 traces its origins to Latin America, Africa, or Asia. Back then, America remained a relatively young country, with a median age of exactly 30 years. Today, over-80 is the fastest-growing age cohort, and the median age has surpassed 37.
In 1980, young women had only just recently entered the workforce in large numbers. Today, our leading labor-market worry is the number of young men who are exiting.
In 1980, marriage remained the norm among heterosexuals and unimaginable for homosexuals. Today, a majority of American women are unmarried, and same-sex marriage is on its way to becoming the law of the land.
In 1980, our top environmental concerns involved risks to the health of individual human beings. Today, after 30 years of progress toward cleaner air and water, we must now worry about the health of the whole planetary climate system.
In 1980, 79 percent of Americans under age 65 were covered by employer-provided health-insurance plans, a level that had held constant since the mid-1960s. Back then, health-care costs accounted for only about one 10th of the federal budget. Since 1980, private health coverage has shriveled, leaving some 45 million people uninsured. Health care now consumes one quarter of all federal dollars, rapidly rising toward one third—and that’s without considering the costs of Obamacare.
How the GOP Got Stuck in the Past, Newsweek
Illustration by Mark Weaver. Source Photo: David Goldman / AP (Romney)
Unfortunate Sign Placement or Acknowledgement?
UPDATE: FSJ, this is fake!
Kathleen Parker says GOP men are ruining the Republican Party (this is in the magazine this week).
Conservative trust in science just keeps going down, and down, and down, and down.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell withdraws his support for a bill that would have forced women seeking abortions to undergo medically unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds. On the site, Michelle Goldberg writes that Republicans may be finally noticing that their crusade against reproductive rights is hurting them.
What is going on with the contraceptive debate in the GOP!?
Until quite recently, conservatives knew better than to take on reproductive rights so directly. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, remember, the right focused its attack on so-called partial-birth abortion, a late-term procedure that even many pro-choice advocates find disturbing, if sometimes tragically necessary. The strategy then was to erode abortion rights around the edges, without alarming women in the center. Now several Republican presidential candidates proclaim a desire to ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and we’re having a nationwide argument about whether women deserve contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans.
This argument shows no signs of abating. At a hearing on Thursday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) assembled an all-male panel to discuss the birth-control mandate, leaving many women apoplectic. (Then he sent a tweet comparing his witnesses to Martin Luther King Jr., apparently unaware that the civil-rights hero was once a member of a Planned Parenthood committee, or that he described a “striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts.”)
The same day, in a now-infamous MSNBC appearance, Foster Friess, the wealthy patron of the pro-Rick Santorum super PAC, dismissed the idea that birth-control coverage matters. “On this contraceptive thing, my gosh it’s such [sic] inexpensive,” he said. “You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.” His message was clear: ladies, keep your legs closed!
[Photo: Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images]
Herman Cain, he the one-time frontrunner of the GOP primary campaign, tells us about the role he thinks sexual behavior ought to play in evaluating candidates for public office.