Level-headed folks are upset that numerous death threats and acts of violence targeting Democratic politicians have received little to no condemnation from Republican leaders--some of whom have been tacitly encouraging this kind of behavior from right-wing nutjobs--in the wake of the passing of the health care reform bill this week. On the surface, this one's a no-brainer, right? Political acts of violence are deplored by all kinds of folks. And you won't win any points with reasonable, independent voters. So, what's the problem?
Well, according to recent polls, 45% of Republicans believe Barack Obama was not born in the US and therefore, is an illegitimate president; 38% compare his agenda to that of Adolf Hitler; and 1 in 4 think he is the Anti-Christ. That's a sizable chunk of the GOP base and if those numbers are among the people you are counting on to get elected, it's no surprise that Republican politicians are reticent to forcefully oppose such absurd views. And those who do--as we've seen with the parade of apologetic Republicans begging for Rush Limbaugh's forgiveness, or the recent dismissal of former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum, from a conservative think tank, ostensibly for his criticism of the GOP's tactics in the health care reform debate--more often than not, end up walking the plank.
So, the Republican dilemma becomes the following: do they let the hard-right lunatics exemplified by the Tear Partiers, cast out moderate GOPers and grab hold of the party? Do the cooler heads strike back or just bide their time until the bottom falls out of the crazy brigade? One thing is certain: if these reactionary hijackers manage to sway enough people to decide elections in their favor, moderate Republicans won't be the only one's fucked. So will the rest of us.