Ross Douthat argues in a New York Times column that President Obama should follow the Texas model, and abandon "liberal" economic policies. According to Douthat, conservative Texas is thriving, while liberal California is failing. Ergo liberalism is bad, while conservatism is good. Wow, if life really operated so simplistically, we could take a perpetual vacation from thinking.
Ezra Klein has obliterated Douthat's utterly sloppy analysis in a Washington Post column. Earlier this year, I went after a similar assault on California and liberalism. See: Has the Left Destroyed California? Um, No! Last month, Douthat published another sci-fi column in the New York Times, which provoked a substantial response from Dissenting Justice. See: Racial Exhaustion in the New York Times. Thanks, Klein for disposing of Douthat's recent article and for allowing me to take a break.
Nate Silver of 538.Com also makes good points.
Princeton economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman makes the absolutely obvious -- but ignored -- point that Texas is not the only red state and that other red states are experiencing painful economic decline.
And over at The Atlantic, Derek Thompson demonstrates the cost of the Texas-style economy. The state ranks last or near the bottom with respect to many important measures of social health. While Douthat would likely argue that these are costly liberal policies, the majority of Americans support public education and medical care for indigent children. On these issues, Texas is indeed another country.
Zandar Versus the Stupid (great blog title) makes this interesting (and brutally sarcastic - just the way I like it) contribution to the discussion: Blind Squirrel Still Unable To Locate Nuts.