Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Howard Kurtz notes conflict among conservative media figures over the direction of the GOP following the election in The Daily Beast.

Just two years ago, the GOP captured the House, the Tea Party was ascendant, and the rank and file had every reason to believe that Obama would be a one-termer. Now the reelected president, having vanquished Mitt Romney, is all but dictating terms on averting the fiscal cliff. No wonder the right seems to be undergoing a collective nervous breakdown.

MSNBC's Joe Scarborough and William Kristol of the Weekly Standard point to the role played by right-wing media.
Scarborough’s analysis on Morning Joe: “You have a lot of people running around, saying harsh things that sell books and push ratings and lose elections.” And those who try to promote a more compassionate brand of conservatism, says the former Florida congressman, are “thrown to the side because they don’t sound enough like Glenn Beck or a blogger.” He described these adversaries as “cowards” and “bullies” who won’t back off unless “you punch them in the face.”

Kristol, who has committed the apostasy of saying the GOP should stop protecting a bunch of millionaires from tax hikes, describes the conservative movement as being “in deep disarray.”“It may be that major parts of American conservatism have become such a racket that a kind of refounding of the movement as a cause is necessary.”

In addition to taxes, disagreement extends to issues such as immigration and gay marriage. 

Rush Limbaugh, one of the most powerful voices on the right, is also perturbed. In his monologue Monday, posted under the heading “The Comical Floundering of the GOP,” El Rushbo describes the theory that “the Republican Party has been doing new Coke, but gradually. We have been caving on the things that identify us.” In case anyone missed the point, he adds: “The Republican Party, nobody knows what it is anymore. Whatever it used to be, it’s changing the formula.”

The Democrats went through a similar time of self-examination and redefinition after it allowed its extremists to take over the party in the 70's and 80's resulting in election losses in 1972, 1980, 1984 and 1988.  The Republicans now face a similar task.

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