There’s a side of me that thinks the GOP will move to the center over the next few years because their far-right positioning will become politically untenable. But the truth is there is no rational reason to believe this will happen. Michael Tomasky:
What the party needs is not simply a new candidate. It needs someone with the courage to stand up and say that the GOP has gone completely off the deep end—and that the party could run an amalgam of Ronald Reagan and Mahatma Gandhi and he wouldn’t win as long as the party’s inflamed base keeps with its current attitudes. But it lacks such a person utterly. It’s a party made up of on the one hand unprincipled cowards, and on the other of people devoted to principles so extreme that they’d have serious trouble attracting more than about 42 percent of the vote.
Elites are aware that more is at stake this year than ideology. In that way, the emergence of Santorum or Gingrich as the front-runner might provoke the establishment, in a fit of self-preservation, to back an alternative candidate, much as the threat of Goldwater’s nomination stimulated a challenge from Pennsylvania governor William Scranton in 1964. Conservative activists would undoubtedly cry foul, sparking a subsequent round of intraparty enmity and recriminations. But liberals would be blithe to assume that the ensuing crack-up would move the party in a more moderate direction, since, unlike in 1964, there are so few moderates left to take up the mantle.
The Republican party will put up a presidential candidate who espouses extreme right-wing positions. There’s not a damn thing Joe Scarborough and Tom Friedman can do about it.