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The Republican Party’s fundamental problem: Too many loonies and too many cowards

Analysis of the Republican Party’s troubles these days has become a cottage industry of sorts. Inside the party and outside it, pundits of the left, right and center have offered all manner of slants on the difficulties the GOP faces as the race for its presidential nomination increasingly becomes a national joke.

Michael Tomasky has come up with perhaps the best take yet on all of this, as he DEFTLY DISTILLS the dilemma facing the Grand Old Party:

If Mitt Romney fails to win Michigan next Tuesday, a few high-powered Republicans have started saying, the party needs to go back to square one and recruit a new candidate. Yes, maybe it does. But what will that fix? Not much. What the party needs is not simply a new candidate. It needs someone with the courage to stand up and say that the GOP has gone completely off the deep end—and that the party could run an amalgam of Ronald Reagan and Mahatma Gandhi and he wouldn’t win as long as the party’s inflamed base keeps with its current attitudes. But it lacks such a person utterly. It’s a party made up of on the one hand unprincipled cowards, and on the other of people devoted to principles so extreme that they’d have serious trouble attracting more than about 42 percent of the vote.

(Snip)

[T]here is no one who can satisfy the base of the GOP—a cohort so drunk on ideology and resentment that they cheer electrocutions and boo a soldier—and be elected president of the United States. Period. The standard journalistic trope the past few months has been to say that the Republican establishment would step in at some point and not let things get too out of hand. But that’s mostly nonsense. This GOP establishment is barely less loopy than the base. If the base is driving the party into a ditch, the establishment is riding shotgun holding a shovel.

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