Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tactical Radicalism And The End Of The GOP Establishment.

I spoke the other day about the crisis which I think the Republicans have found themselves in by caving to their lunatic base to such an extent that Palin and Bachmann are now seriously being spoken of as possible Republican presidential nominees.

Now Jonathan Chait describes just what this is doing to the party.

One interesting sidelight of the current election cycle is that there are several races in which the Republican establishment has either lost control of the race or lost any sense of its own partisan self-interest. The Nevada Senate race is a prime example. Harry Reid, once a dead man walking, is now sitting on a nice lead because Republicans nominated a lunatic to oppose him. "A total f*** up by the state and national Republicans to allow Angle to get nominated," a source notes to Ben Smith.

But of course there are numerous such fuckups. In Kentucky, Republicans turned a rock-solid safe seat into a toss up by nominating ultra-radical Rand Paul over party hack Trey Grayson. In Pennsylvania, they turned a relatively safe seat in Arlen Specter, who had been almost completely housebroken by the right since 2004, into another toss-up. (More importantly, they drove Specter from the party and made him the 60th Senate seat, allowing the passage of health care reform.)
Of course, the last thing the Tea Party protesters will ever admit is that they enabled the passage of healthcare reform by hounding Specter.

Chait looks at the mindset which drives these nutcases.

Obviously the conservative movement is intoxicated with hubris right now. Part of this hubris is their belief that the American people are truly and deeply on their side and that the last two elections were either a fluke or the product of a GOP that was too centrist. It's a tactical radicalism, a belief that ideological purity carries no electoral cost whatsoever. Right-wing tactical radicalism has an old pedigree, and of course there is an equivalent (though less influential) tactical radicalism on the left-wing of the Democratic Party. Tactical radicalism is not the same thing as ideological radicalism. Tactical radicals are a subset of ideological radicals; some ideological radicals have clear-eyed of the pragmatic steps needed to advance their goals incrementally.

In the past, the Republican Party has always managed to hold in check the tactical radicalism of its base. It's starting to run wild. In past elections, I would have totally discounted the possibility that the party might nominate a figure like Sarah Palin, because the party establishment has always been strong enough to push aside candidates who were not strong electoral vehicles for conservatism. I'm no longer sure they have that power anymore.

He is saying that they might just be insane enough to actually nominate a Palin or a Bachmann.

Prepare, if they do, for yet another car crash election.

I still think that the Republican party would resemble lemmings racing off a cliff were they to go down that path, but it does highlight my point that it is the Republicans who are in crisis that we are even discussing this. Surely it's time for Palin to refudiate this nonsense?

Click here for full article.

No comments: