There used to be Rockefeller Republicans. There used to be Republicans who had grudgingly made their peace with the pillars of the American welfare state. There used to be Republicans who, on the most crucial domestic issue axis (the economy, and government’s regulatory and redistributive role therein) could be trusted to act with a modicum of responsibility. I don’t see those around anymore. I do see a political environment where people like Michelle Bachmann and Rick Perry dominate the conversation in a way Pat Robertson never managed to do. That really does represent a further shift toward the “extreme.” It’s not just something political consultants have made up.
Andrew Sullivan continues: No, it isn’t. For me, the most clarifying moment was the universal rejection of a debt deal that would be 10 – 1 spending cuts to tax increases. There seems to be no actual counter-weight to the pull and pull of the far right. Because the GOP is now a church with doctrines, not a party with policies to address contingent, actual problems.