The one irrefutably bright spot in this wretchedly dimwitted election season is the GOP's collapse of its Senate hopes. As Politico notes, presently "Insiders in both parties put the chances of a GOP Senate takeover at less than 50-50," which may sound like a roughly proper coin toss in any two-party system but in fact represents far, far lower expectations than those which blossomed among the party establishment after 2010--a botched senatorial year that the party's elders had hoped was behind them.
But oh how wrong they were.
There’s a legion of reasons why Republican fortunes are darker than most objective analysts projected, but the overarching explanation is that its leaders can’t control their base.
In the party once famous for its crisp organization and top-down herding, anarchy reigns. The base is always the party, and the party is usually the base, but increasingly in the Republican Party the base is a centripretally tightening core of ideological extremists who are, practically speaking, opposed to the chief objective of the party, which is to win elections. The party's ideologues prefer to shoot their mouths off, to support in the primary a fellow extremist, to insist on never compromising--and their crowning specialty is hate ... which condemns their own party to obscurity, as Karl Rove conceded the other night. "If we do with Latinos what we did with African-Americans, Republicans and conservatives will be doomed," said Rove at Arkansas' Harding University.
If there's any humor to be found in the Politico story, it's that of the immensely outsized influence of "Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Erick Erickson — [whose] voices all resonate in the halls of the Capitol."
Former Rep. Chris Shays recalled GOP caucus meetings that devoted a considerable amount of time to whatever rhetorical bomb talk was launched that day.
"Whenever Rush said something, we heard about it. [He] didn’t like what we were doing and it would be discussed in our caucus that we had failed because Rush Limbaugh didn’t like us," he said.
Does the GOP need a bigger boat? Sure. But it also desperately needs another skipper. The sick, dark comedy of a Mosaic Rush Limbaugh leading the Republican Party to some imagined promised land is that Limbaugh knows absolutely nothing about politics or government or history or economics. He does, however, know absolutely everything about promoting Rush Limbaugh. And that the party--and here I include its base--can't figure out that there lies a fundamental conflict between Limbaugh's interests and the interests of the Republican Party is just another indication of how lost in the desert they all are.