Long-time liberal journalist Jonathan Alter on Tuesday declared himself an arbiter of conservatism and that all the Republican candidates at the presidential debate are failing his test. The man who has assailed “vile” conservatives appeared on MSNBC and lectured, “...It's really kind of crazy that we call this a conservative political party. There's nothing conservative about it, big-c conservative, small-c conservative.”
Speaking of Republicans, Alter sneered, “They shouldn't be called conservatives anymore. They are radicals who want, you know, radical change in the American system.” The candidates’s crime? Calling for more tax cuts. The former Newsweek editor mocked the Fox Business event: "It was much calmer than in the CNBC debate. It was more substantive, but they were living in cloud cuckoo-cuckoo land when you actually look at the economics.”
He assailed, “It's right-wing coo-coo economics.”
Earlier this year, Alter slammed the GOP for creating Trump “Frankenstein monster.”
10:01 PM EST
LAWRENCE O’DONNELL: It is halftime at this debate in Milwaukee. We're going to get the score cards from Jonathan Alter, Stuart Stevens and Steve Jarding. Jonathan Alter, what do you make of that first hour?
JONATHAN ALTER: Well, you know, it was much calmer than in the CNBC debate. It was more substantive, but they were living in cloud cuckoo-cuckoo land when you actually look at the economics. They're talking about trillions of dollars in tax cuts. Just a few minutes ago, Ted Cruz was talking dynamic scoring. Now the translation of that is — it’s made up. Basically, he’s saying that it won’t blow a trillion, two trillion dollar hole in the deficit because of some kind of magic— It's not even supply side economics. It's right-wing cuckoo-cuckoo economics. And they’re all essentially talking about economics in ways that are out of touch, not only with political reality, but with what would happen with this country if their plans were enacted. We would have massive deficits, as far as the eye could see. The moderators are trying to bring some of that sanity into the debate without much success.
ALTER: Ben Carson twice mentioned 1913. That's when the Federal Reserve was created, when the federal income tax was put in and he wants to turn the clock back to pre-1913. Not just pre-New Deal, but pre-federal income tax. And it struck me that it's really kind of crazy that we call this a conservative political party. There's nothing conservative about it. Big-c conservative, small-c conservative. They shouldn't be called conservatives anymore. They are radicals who want, you know, radical change in the American system. And I wish that the press and the public would see this more for what it is.