We’re getting to the end of the conservative movement that really kicked into gear with the election of Ronald Reagan, and now we’re seeing the inevitable final stages, as the loons on the far right start reeking havoc on the Republican Party.
Future historians tracing the crackup of the Republican Party may well look to May 8, 2010, as an inflection point.
That was the day, as is now well known, that Sen. Robert Bennett, who took the conservative position 84 percent of the time over his career, was deemed not conservative enough by fellow Utah Republicans and booted out of the primary.
Less well known, but equally ominous, is what happened that same day, 2,500 miles east in Maine. There, the state Republican Party chucked its platform — a sensible New England mix of free-market economics and conservation — and adopted a manifesto of insanity: abolishing the Federal Reserve, calling global warming a “myth,” sealing the border, and, as a final plank, fighting “efforts to create a one world government.”
You can read the rest of the article for some of Glenn Beck’s greatest hits.
What’s left of the conservative movement and the Republican Party?
We have the Reagan worshipers who have become so dogmatic that they think tax cuts solve everything at every time in history, regardless of the circumstances. These folks seem to forget that George W. Bush enacted huge tax cuts that would be followed by the greatest economic collapse in 80 years. These folks also turn on former allies like Bruce Bartlett and David Frum who dare top open a debate on how conservatives might adapt to the changing circumstances of today’s economy.
Then we have the religious right, who’s leaders keep getting caught up in sex scandals. All these folks who preach morality can’t keep it in their own pants. Most of the public has tuned out these self-righteous fools at this point.
We also have moderate Republicans who would like to see the government spend less and who also tend to be social liberals. These reasonable folks abandoned the party and the conservative movement long ago.
And finally we have the Tea Party clowns. Many of these folks are angry as hell – some are angry at everybody, while others don’t know why they’re angry. As noted above, they can be a force at times, and they may be the GOP’s not-so-secret weapon in the fall as anti-incumbent fever hits new highs.
Or, they may just turn off everyone else with their peculiar brand of crazy. Nuts like Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and and Michelle Bachman can rile up these nut jobs, but they may end up giving the Democrats a lifeline as well.
Most people don’t like the crazies. The GOP did a great job for years of exploiting the loony left and painting the Democrats with a broad brush, and now the tables are turned, and the Tea Party folks are giving Democrats some good talking points for the fall.
We’ll see how it plays out.