Teabaggers are complicating GOP comeback efforts

The GOP empowered the true Internet fringe, and they got something out of it – they certainly scared Democrats away from President Obama’s health care reform promises he made during the campaign – but now, there’s a problem. Frankenstein won’t go away, and he’s scaring the villagers.

But these newly energized conservatives present GOP leaders with a potential problem: The party’s strategy for attracting moderate voters risks alienating activists who are demanding ideological purity, who may then gravitate to other candidates or stay at home. It’s a classic dilemma faced by parties in the minority — tension between those who want a return to the party’s ideological roots and those who want candidates most likely to win in their districts.

“The potential that the Republican Party puts up candidates that fail to excite the support of this movement is very real,” says Lawrence Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance, University of Minnesota.

It’s far more than that. The Teabaggers aren’t simply conservatives who want to return to the party’s roots. They’re actually a little bit nutty, as we saw from the videos and photos of their various marchers. The Democratic Netroots, for example, would like Democrats to stand up for Democratic principles, but, in contrast to the Teabaggers, we do not run around with signs depicting Republican leaders as Hitler, we don’t call for armed revolution to overthrow the government, we never favored a coup d’etat, and we don’t bring guns to our rallies. The folks on the right are an entirely other animal completely. They’re not just ideological purists, they’re extremists. And there’s a difference.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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