Via Steve Benen, I see that Paul Krugman's column today addresses a particular concern of this blog over the last few months, the long-term consequences of a GOP "taken over by the people it used to exploit":
In the short run, this may help Democrats, as it did in that New York race. But maybe not: elections aren’t necessarily won by the candidate with the most rational argument. They’re often determined, instead, by events and economic conditions.That a radicalized GOP will degrade to permanent minority status but still retain enough power to obstruct constructive legislation is certainly a concern. But the bigger concern, as I've written a few times before, is that eventually the Democrats will have bad luck and the logic of the two party system will propel the Palinized Republicans back into power—at which time the lunatics really will be in charge of the asylum.
In fact, the party of Limbaugh and Beck could well make major gains in the midterm elections. The Obama administration’s job-creation efforts have fallen short, so that unemployment is likely to stay disastrously high through next year and beyond. The banker-friendly bailout of Wall Street has angered voters, and might even let Republicans claim the mantle of economic populism. Conservatives may not have better ideas, but voters might support them out of sheer frustration.
And if Tea Party Republicans do win big next year, what has already happened in California could happen at the national level. In California, the G.O.P. has essentially shrunk down to a rump party with no interest in actually governing — but that rump remains big enough to prevent anyone else from dealing with the state’s fiscal crisis. If this happens to America as a whole, as it all too easily could, the country could become effectively ungovernable in the midst of an ongoing economic disaster.
The point is that the takeover of the Republican Party by the irrational right is no laughing matter. Something unprecedented is happening here — and it’s very bad for America.