If the GOP is pandering to right-wing extremists, why isn’t my phone ringing?

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs:

This turn toward the extreme right on the part of Fox News is troubling, and will achieve nothing in the long run except further marginalization of the GOP — unless people start behaving like adults instead of angry kids throwing tantrums and ranting about conspiracies and revolution.

Christopher Orr of The New Republic:

I was trying to think of a framework that captured the no-enemies-on-the-right dynamic that seems to be pushing the GOP further and further into the political wilderness. . . .
Everyone tries to outflank everyone else to the right–zero votes on any Obama-supported bill! a hyperconservative budget with no numbers! a hyperconservative budget with made-up numbers!–because there’s no obvious, non-heretical way to establish yourself as a player otherwise. Denied the opportunity to govern (by their own intransigence as much as by the size of the Democratic majority), they have nothing to do but campaign 24/7.

So there seems to be a certain sort of bipartisan consensus that the GOP is now fully committed to pandering to Buchananites, Birchers, goldbugs, gun nuts, Paulistas and sundry fringe types, and yet . . . I dunno. I’m not feeling the love here.

Do any of my fellow right-wing extremists share this perception? You there — reloading your 7.62 ammo in the Idaho cabin while listening to the short-wave militia broadcast — do you feel as if you’re now part of the woof and weave of the GOP tapestry?

How is it that Charles Johnson and Christopher Orr both think Glenn Beck (whose Fox show I’ve never watched, BTW) represents the camel’s nose in the tent, a dangerous intrusion of crackpottery into the Republican mainstream, while the genuine wingnuts still feel as ostracized and alienated as ever? Is this a consensus or . . . a conspiracy?

Are Johnson and Orr just mouthpieces for the Council on Foreign Relations, the WTO and the Bavarian Illuminati?

I’m just askin’ questions. BTW, does this tinfoil hat make my butt look big?

UPDATE: Linked by Dan Collins at PW Pub and by Jimmie Bise at Sundries Shack, who supplies the quote of the day: “Dude, it ain’t the hat.”

UDATE II: Memeorandum has a thread, Donald Douglas has related thoughts, and Pam Geller is not a fan of the LGF “CounterJihad of One.” What we’re dealing with here is a basic problem of organizational dynamics in coalition politics. Absent strong leadership and mission-focused cohesion, schisms are inevitable, and you will always have self-appointed hall monitors who take it upon themselves to say to otherwise enthusiastic coalition supporters, “We don’t need your help!”

A successful movement cannot be built by a process of subtraction, and this “urge to purge” inevitably weakens the movement. There will always be grassroots elements whose motivations and beliefs would be embarrassing to discuss on “Meet the Press.” Yet the Democratic Party never bothers to apologize for the support they receive from, inter alia, MALDEF or Code Pink, while there are always Republicans denouncing and repudiating some grassroots constituency of their party.

I attended both the LGBT Caucus and the Women’s Caucus at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, and those kooks were by no means ready for prime-time. Yet the Democrats pander to them shamelessly, while the GOP is always snubbing its kook caucuses. Am I the only one who sees this difference as indicative of a want of confidence among some Republicans?

Don’t let your enemy define who you are. Kooks and wingnuts can vote, too, ya know.

As Ronald Reagan once said, for the Republican Party to win, it must have the full support of both its right wing and its far-right wing.

UPDATE III: Paleo Pat likes the big butt joke. (My wife liked it, too.) As I said in “How to Get a Million Hits,” the Right has to try to avoid become humorless assholes like those Democratic Underground moonbats.

Humor wins, and laughter is never so powerful as when you’re laughing in the face of disaster. It’s like Gen. McAuliffe replying to the German demand for surrender at Bastogne: “Nuts.”

Everybody in the GOP nowadays invokes Reagan, but none of them seems to have his knack for using humor to deflect charges of extremism. Reagan knew who he was. He knew he wasn’t a kook or a hatemonger, and so he always had confident good cheer when the smear merchants came after him. During the 1966 California governor’s race, there was some fringe group that endorsed Reagan, and the Democrats tried to make that an issue, but when the press asked Reagan about it, he just smiled and said, “They endorsed me. I didn’t endorse them.” Scandal over.

If Republicans would stop acting so defensive and guilty, like they’ve got something to hide, the “ransom note” hooligans wouldn’t be able to roll them like they rolled George Allen in 2006. Nobody ever credibly asserted — or ever could credibly assert — that Allen hated Indian-Americans. And yet his campaign manager, Dick Wadhams, hit the panic button and next thing you know, Allen’s on an “apology tour,” begging forgiveness from people who’d never even heard of a “macaca” before. (Final irony: Leading members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans actively campaigned for Democrat Jim Webb, who was far more “neo-Confederate” than Allen ever was.)

Sometimes I think that the real problem with some Republicans is that they’re just not right with God. They’ve got a guilty conscience and that naturally makes them cowards. “Ask and it shall be given you.” Pray for courage, pray for wisdom and, above all, pray for faith. Even a tiny mustard seed of faith can move mountains.

BTW, how about some tip-jar hitters out there? My wife’s worried because the phone bill is past due. She’s a praying woman, but she’s also a worrying woman. She’s got lots of faith in God, but a little less in me.


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