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The Donnybrook
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Alienating the Middle

By firing up the base. Some Republicans, like Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, see the problems that can cause and are reacting:

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R) of South Carolina said party leaders need to call out “birthers” and other conspiracy theorists on the right. “Say, ‘You’re crazy.’

“Those familiar with McCain’s thinking say he has expressed serious concern about the direction of the party and is actively seeking out and supporting candidates who can broaden the party’s reach. In McCain’s case, that means backing conservative pragmatists and moderates.”
David Brooks, Republican columnist with the NYT notes that “The rise of Beck, Hannity, Bill O’Reilly and the rest has correlated almost perfectly with the decline of the GOP. But it’s not because the talk jocks have real power. It’s because they have illusory power, because Republicans hear the media mythology and fall for it every time.”

I don't think, however, that a critical mass of Republicans will reject the populist birther-teabagging-Palin-Beck-Limbaugh wing anytime soon. 2010 will likely bring more Repubs to the House - unless the 2010 elections defy historical trends in a big way. That will be seen a progress for the nutbag right and will make it hard for more moderate Repubs like McCain, Graham, Collins, and Snow to sway the party as a whole.


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