Ill winds blow through America. Extremists, for whom freedom means the enforcement of their beliefs on everyone else and for whom the idea of America is not constitutional democracy but rather the triumph of their tribe, are untethered to reality or restraint:
Real power in the party rests, instead, with the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin (who at this point is more a media figure than a conventional politician). Because these people aren’t interested in actually governing, they feed the base’s frenzy instead of trying to curb or channel it. So all the old restraints are gone.Republicans are now more than willing to huff like schoolchildren. It's not even that they'll take their ball and go home. They would prefer to ruin the game rather than allow it to go on without them.
The more worrying parallel is not Krugman's to California. It's Weimar Germany, where a fetid sepsis of resentment and poverty boiled over into evil that an ineffectual democratic government could not contain.