As Dick Morris and Sarah Palin find themselves without a cable-news home, and Karl Rove launches a controversial initiative to keep the most ridiculous Republicans from winning primaries, a subtle pattern seems to be emerging. Indeed, Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen reported overnight, "Republicans and Fox News are moving to purge the controversial political creatures they created."
One high-profile Republican strategist, who refused to be named in order to avoid inflaming the very segments of the party he wants to silence, said there is a deliberate effort by party leaders to "marginalize the cranks, haters and bigots -- there's a lot of underbrush that has to be cleaned out."
It led Jon Chait to raise an excellent point: "In order to purge a party of crankish and bigoted sentiments, you would need to identify what those sentiments are."
Quite right. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), for example, is labeled on the new cover of Time magazine as the Republican Party's "savior." It comes a day after his party tapped the young Floridian to give the GOP's response to President Obama's State of the Union address, and against the backdrop of assumptions that Rubio will seek national office at the next available opportunity.
If there's a party-wide initiative to clean out the party's ugly "underbrush" and "marginalize the cranks, haters and bigots," presumably it would be part of an effort to clear the way for rising-star leaders like Marco Rubio.
Indeed, the Politico report makes it sound as if the party and its allied cable news network somehow intend to moderate -- silence the crazies in the hopes that the Republican mainstream can start to reassert some meaningful authority.
Maybe now would be a good time to note the blurred line between GOP "cranks, haters and bigots" and the rest of the party? Let's use Rubio, the Republican "savior," as an example.
Rubio doesn't accept climate science, thinks the age of the planet is a theological question, and opposes marriage equality. Remember the Blunt Amendment that would have empowered employers to deny birth-control coverage to their employers? It was originally known as the "Blunt-Rubio Amendment."
Rubio tells teleprompter jokes while reading from teleprompters, has been caught lying about the basics of Republican budget policy, has suggested TARP recipients shouldn't have to repay bailout money, and in 2011, argued programs like Medicare and Social Security have "actually weakened us as a people."
It's a subjective question, of course, but if the party wants to "marginalize the cranks, haters and bigots," shouldn't they start with someone who's anti-gay, anti-contraception, anti-science, anti-VAWA, and anti-Social Security?
On the surface, if Republicans intend to "marginalize the cranks, haters and bigots," that would be a positive development for a radicalized party dominated by extremists. But what happens when the party realizes it doesn't have a moderate wing and its cranks and rising stars believe in roughly the same far-right ideology?