Did the 2012 election put a stake in the heart of GOP extremism?

As delightful as it would be to no longer see the American Taliban as a political force, that’s not likely going to happen any time soon.  Fortunately, though, their influence does seem to have peaked.

This year provided a number of strong victories for the left, including huge victories on gay rights, the first openly gay senator, the defeat of two extremist anti-abortion Senate candidates, and two other nutjobs, Allen West and Joe Walsh, as well as the approval of marijuana laws in three states and one city.

Keep in mind that leading up to the election, there were concerns over the number of religious leaders (a whopping 1600 of them, in fact) who chose to ignore tradition and promote candidates from the pulpit. What may have surprised the US religious right is that on Wednesday, the sun still popped up and people carried on living normally — the end was not nigh.

While the US has a much stronger bond with organized religion than most other modern, industrialized countries, stepping back into the Stone Age no longer seems as attractive an option as it was before, even for religious Americans. At the current pace, the extremist religious right and the GOP will continue doing well with the older, white crowd, but long term that’s not a great option for obvious reasons.

And as Gaius noted earlier this morning, America’s Taliban extends beyond the religious right, but fortunately some Republicans are finally starting to stand up to them.  Here’s GOP consultant and pundit Steve Schmidt, who was a senior adviser to McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign:

“It’s gotta be shut down, it needs to be repudiated by serious leaders in the party.  Look, conservatism is a serious governing philosophy…. Conservatism shouldn’t be defined by fidelity to all of these crazy statements by talk-radio personalities, or by reality show hosts who go out and say outrageous things. And when you have these reality show hosts, like Donald Trump, who are hanging around with our presidential candidates, they are, by virtue of that, given some platform for seriousness, and they call for “revolution” on their Twitter accounts, after the president has been legitimately re-elected by the American people. It’s gotta be shut down by serious leaders in the Republican party.”

From his lips…

More from CNN on the weakening of the American Taliban.

“The historic nature of these results are hard to overstate,” Jones said. “Given the strong support of younger Americans for same-sex marriage, it is unlikely this issue will reappear as a major national wedge issue.”

Some conservative evangelical leaders echoed that line. Albert Mohler, who heads the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said on Twitter that votes for same-sex marriage suggested that “we are witnessing a fundamental moral realignment of the country.”

A Tuesday ballot measure to legalize same-sex marriage in Washington state is still pending. In Minnesota, voters rejected a Tuesday measure that would have banned same-sex marriage there.

There’s reason to be hopeful for the future and that the knuckle-dragging, Stone Age-loving religious, and political, extremists will become less relevant each election cycle. Personally, I won’t miss them one bit and welcome their complete collapse.

Now, for the schadenfruede of it, here are Donald Trump’s “Obama wins!” tweets one more time:

Donald Trump's election night tweets


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • Papa Bear

    If it did, President Obama will bring it back to life……..again….

  • rmthunter

    It was always about contraception. They’ve just come out of the closet about it.

  • rmthunter

    I suspect the 1% may not be so firmly locked into the teabaggers and Christianists as all that: for most of them, if they’re going to spend money, they want results. Losing doesn’t count. They see the aforementioned loud, obnoxious fringe elements as tools and nothing more. The tools failed this time — Tony Perkins and Karl Rove didn’t deliver the presidency, or even a majority of the Senate, and Brian Brown couldn’t even remove one judge in Iowa. Except for a few nutjobs, like Dan Cathy and whoever is funding NOM (if there are, in fact, any individual donors at all), I suspect most of them are going to look for more moderate-seeming tools because that has a better chance of getting them what they want.

    The fringe elements will retreat back to the dark corners for awhile — although I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon, since the MSM is so anxious to validate them — and then come back when the pendulum begins to swing again. Remember, history is a series of reactions. What we’re seeing now is the reaction to the last thirty years of right-wing dominance,

  • hippysuperstar

    OMG, it’s all sooooooo delicious

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

    Probably because his closet was sound proof.

  • Ford Prefect

    The beauty of their campaign is while they keep losing elections, the Dems keep moving ever more rightward to legitimize them. In that sense, they won’t have the WH until 2016 (which they’ll win, be sure of that) and Obama can hand them the keys to a massive, shiny police state.

    So they’re still winning, as far as that goes. The real winner of this election was the Duopoly.

  • Black Doug

    It’s not a stake in the heart, but it is a nice, big kick in the crotch.

  • judybrowni

    Remember their fight against abortion?

    Well, it escalated to contraception.

    I’m sure they’ll find some other accepted modern day practice to demonize.

  • judybrowni

    If only.

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    Seriously, how more extreme can these religious nut jobs possibly become?

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    I read somewhere that hate is the strongest emotion.

    These religious nut jobs distribute it on steroids.

    Without it,what else could they peddle… certainly not love thy neighbor…

  • Hatfield

    Sadly you are correct. Sure it was a great win but the bigots still have billions to spend and now they’re trying to figure out how to fine tune their appeal for 2014. They aren’t going to moderate anything. 2012 was historic but not big enough.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    The end of GOP extremism? Um, no. Not even close. Remember the old saw about the conservative cause: As an ideology, conservatism cannot fail, it can only be failed. Their narrative is already solidifying around the meme that Mitt Romney lost because he wasn’t a genuine conservative. It’s the same reason why George W Bush did not appear at the GOP convention and wasn’t seen at all out on the campaign trail — he has become an UnPerson / UnPresident to them.

    The current crop of GOP extremists, the ones who happily declare their allegiance to the Tea Party cause, is well-funded and totally committed to a scorched-earth policy for anyone and anything that does not adhere 100% to Tea Party dogma. (A dogma, I might add, that has grown more radical and extreme with each passing year. Seriously — rape babies? No such thing as medically necessary abortion or contraception? Obama is stealing your guns and has already raised your taxes to levels never seen before in history? Climate change is a hoax?) They would rather lose elections than to budge an inch from their strict and increasingly reality-denying dogmas.

    The Tea Baggers’ response to losing an election in large part because their radical ideas were found repulsive by large segments of the electorate? “We weren’t extreme enough. And we failed to tell people exactly what we would do to enact our agenda.”

    “Um, no. You guys were perfectly clear. Your guys ran on the asserted positive aspects of rape. That’s why you lost.”

    “Not at all. Now let’s talk about our latest perfectly sensible and necessary proposals to repeal the 19th and 14th Amendments, which we’re not gonna compromise on.”

    Although the billionaires continue to fund these crazies, their direct control over them is tenuous at best. The billionaires continue to feed the monster, but the FrankenBagger horde has been unleashed. I have doubts that the “adults” in the Republican party and conservative movement — the ones who were there before the billionaires started their overt coup — will have the means or the numbers to take their party back.

    We’re in uncharted territory here, not having had an actual lasting party schism in many generations. The closest analogy in recent history was the Dixiecrats — but they were essentially absorbed into the then moribund GOP. Now we have one center-right party that wants to run the country according to neo-liberal principles (the Dems, obviously), and another one that’s been fractured into squabbling factions, but so far in terms of remaining a monolithic No-On-Everything voting coalition, I’m not seeing that as being likely to change going into the next Congressional session.

    Unless the Dems are willing and committed to telling their GOP counterparts, “Fine, you don’t want to help us govern? We’ll go ahead and do it without you.” — the GOPers have no incentive not to dig in. After all, it’s how they got nearly everything they wanted during the last few years, because the Dems always capitulate, often preemptively.

  • Indigo

    I doubt it. The fresh talking point that I’ve already heard is “Well, we can live with this but you know, I don’t like how the Democrats go around hating the Republicans. That’s not fair.” That’s what they’re saying in Florid’oh, anyhow.They’re innocents, you see, and it’s just wrong how Democrats are so hateful to them. Just wrong.

  • sunmusing

    As long as there is money and power they will not quit…they will not concede…the Bible tells them they are right and everyone else is not…

  • HolyMoly

    About the excuse that Romney was “not conservative enough”: If that was true, then voters would have elected the “conservative, but not conservative enough” Romney over the “liberal” Obama. I welcome their delusion, though, because it means they’ll continue to get more and more extremist, further alienating the electorate.

  • http://firefeeder.blogspot.com/ Stratplayer

     Well, whatever.  Good guy or not, Schmidt’s advice to the Republican leadership to jettison the nutbags ASAP is very sound.  Not gonna happen, of course.

  • Rob538

    I like that word -“christianist”

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     And dig their own graves in their zombie phase.

  • http://adgitadiaries.blog-city.com karmanot

     Steve Schmidt is not a good guy. In spite of Republican extremism he suspends what ever moral values he has for the bucks. His presence on MSNBC is a joke.

  • drdick52

    No, it did not.  I strongly expect that, just as they have done after every other loss for the past 30 years, they will double down on the crazy.  They just were not conservative and extreme enough!

  • http://twitter.com/ColumbusNYC Lisa M

    I doubt it. My guess is that the GOP will double-down on their extremism. They will say that Moderate Mitt was too liberal and that the GOP would have won had they been even more extreme. The GOP crazies are like cockroaches – very hard to eradicate. 

  • http://firefeeder.blogspot.com/ Stratplayer

    Did The Donald not notice that Obama also won the popular vote by a healthy margin?  Steve Schmidt has a whole lot of work to do if he has any hope of restoring his party to sanity.  He’s a good guy and I wish him the best of luck.

  • Ford Prefect

    Since the extremism is being massively funded by billionaires with lots of money to burn (more comes in every day!), this election does nothing to stop it.

    What’s worse is the way the Democrats bend over backwards to legitimize the RW fanaticism by constantly selling out to them. As long as the Dems keep giving them 90% of what they want and keep legitimizing their “arguments” in public (as Obama does all the time), then there is no reason for them to stop, much less moderate their positions.

  • Naja pallida

    This is going to depend entirely on people like John Boehner and Mitch McConnell. If they decide to do their job of representing the people, instead of feeding the beast of failure, it could turn the party around… but I won’t hold my breath. Fox Noise has already been finding everyone they can to go on the air and start spouting about how they lost because they obviously were not “conservative” enough, and that it was entirely Obama’s divisive policies that drove the election. Introspection is not their strong suit.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Klad-InVermont/691140423 Klad InVermont

    I can’t remember which far-rightie said this, but I heard one of them yesterday yammering on about bringing a “national ban on gay marriage” to the people.
    Obviously, this guy didn’t get the message. 

  • jomicur

    I’m a big film buff, and I’ve seen too many of the old Universal horror movies to ever let myself believe any monster has been killed once and for all.  Dracula, the Frankenstein monster, the Wolfman, the Mummy, and even down to minor monsters like Paula the Ape-Girl and the Creeper…   They’d get killed off “once and for all” at the end of the movie, then show up alive and kicking in the next one.

    The religious/tea party right is our modern, real-world equivalent of those monsters.  They’re handed loss after loss but keep rising from the grave to harass decent people.  They lost on abortion forty years ago, but they’re still clawing and scratching at the body politic.  They’ve made it clear they’ll do the same on gay rights, particularly marriage. 

    The people who own this country, the 1%, have no conceivable incentive to stop reviving the monster they created. No silver bullet or stake through the heart I can imagine will ever make them stop.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001426939279 Carl Kerstann

    If they had any brains they would read the writting on the wall, but being consumed by hate and the sense that they alone own this country they continue down the road to self destruction.

  • S1AMER

    TBD, I’d say. There are few (if any) parts of the country where Republicans can win without heavy turnout (and contributing, and volunteering) by the christianists. The GOP might want to reject these crazies (who will stay home if they’re not satisfied with GOP candidates), but they can’t win elections without them.
     

  • Guest

    Yes.  But the victims of the Republican circular firing squad can pay for their own medical treatment.

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