CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hard-right tea party beliefs, almost nutty in their bizarreness, have dragged the Republican Party away from America's mainstream. Every day, extreme websites and emails accuse President Obama of being a secret Kenyan, a secret Muslim, a secret communist, even a secret instrument of the Anti-Christ.
The Tea Party News regularly demands impeachment of President Obama for "murder and treason." The conservative group says "the rat in the White House" must be removed. It adds: "We are going to fight, no matter how bloody it gets."
Recently, it added: "Get ready. They're coming for your guns .... You see, the global communist dream is to disarm America so We the People can't fight back when they finish annihilating our rights. ... Obama is getting worried that he can't deliver on his global communist promises to his liberal progressive masters regarding the disarmament of America."
Also, Fox News posted a commentary about "America's coming civil war" against liberal government policies.
Crackpot views like this have infiltrated the GOP base so much that moderate, reasonable Republicans hardly can win nomination in party primaries. Only far-right hardliners are chosen for general election ballots. Major columnist Thomas Friedman wrote:
"Political obsessions of the Republican base -- from denying global warming, to defending assault weapons, to opposing any tax increases under any conditions, to resisting any immigration reform -- are making it impossible to be a Republican moderate. ...
"If Republicans continue to be led around by, and live in fear of, a base that denies global warming after Hurricane Sandy and refuses to ban assault weapons after Sandy Hook -- a base that would rather see every American's taxes rise rather than increase taxes on millionaires -- the party has no future. It can't win with a base that is at war with math, physics, human biology, economics and commonsense gun laws all at the same time."
A quarter-century ago, Democrats had become too entwined with minorities, unions and far-left views, causing them to lose national elections. Bill Clinton formed the Democratic Leadership Council to pull the party back to the mainstream, which enraged extreme liberals.
"That fractured the party and produced Ralph Nader, which cost Al Gore the 2000 election," Friedman wrote. "But after losing that election ... Democrats came together around a moderate-left core and did not engage in dysfunctional primaries. Republicans need to go through a similar process."Zealots on Fox News have made the GOP seem ugly and unappetizing. Americans generally vote for reasonable, middle-of-the-road candidates willing to compromise for the nation's benefit. How long will it take before Republicans nominate leaders of that sort?