Peter Wallsten writes for the Los Angeles Times, “Some fear GOP is being carried to the extreme“:
Some are pressuring the Republican National Committee and other mainstream GOP groups to cut ties with WorldNetDaily.com, which reports some of the allegations. Its articles are cited by websites and pundits on the right. More than any other group, critics say, WorldNetDaily sets the conservative fringe agenda.
In one symbolic development, organizers of next year’s Conservative Political Action Conference — the country’s biggest annual meeting of activists on the right — said last week that they had rejected a request to schedule a panel on whether Obama was a native-born U.S. citizen.
“It would fill a room,” said event director Lisa De Pasquale. “But so would a two-headed monkey. There really are so many more important issues, and it’s only a three-day conference.”
On the other hand, other “Somes” do not fear being painted as the party of whackjobs.
Michael Goldfarb, a spokesman for John McCain’s GOP presidential candidacy last year, likened the conservative fringe to liberal activists during the Bush years. The antiwar group Code Pink drew headlines, for example, when a protester with fake blood on her hands accosted then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — but Democrats still won elections later.
“Do we look crackpot? Yes,” Goldfarb said. “But that’s how the left looked to me in 2004, and in 2006 they took back Congress. Then they started marginalizing the lunatics.”
However, there are some differences in the way the Dems related to progressive activists during most of the Bush years and the way the GOP is relating to its, um, activists. Democratic politicians always stayed at more than arms’ length –more like football-field length — of Code Pink and other of the more flamboyant elements of the anti-Bush leftie pushback. Indeed, Code Pink targeted Nancy Pelosi for a time, you might remember. The Republican Party, however, is both cultivating and catering to the crazies.
Some are predicting the GOP could gain House seats next year:
Insiders’ criticisms have been dismissed by some conservative leaders, who argue that the party needs an energized base — even if it’s extreme — to gain in future elections. Some analysts think that conservatives’ summer revolt against Obama’s healthcare agenda helped erode public approval of Democratic leadership enough that the GOP could pick up as many as 30 House seats next year.
The 30 House seats may be rightie wishful thinking, but I suspect that once there is a bill, the sky does not fall and jack-booted storm troopers do not appear in the streets, all but the hard-core whackjob fringe will calm down about it all. In particular, once people figure out that the reforms will put an end to the “pre-existing condition” scam, the mushy middle will look upon reform more favorably.
However, the message to Dems in Congress needs to be — don’t let the GOP drag this out. Getting a health care reform bill passed asap is more important to you, politically, than continuing to dawdle in the hopes of getting one or two Republican votes.