The conventional "wisdom" of today's right wing is that they are all but guaranteed big gains next year. I think it is a fool's errand to predict such outcomes when so many things are in such a state of flux. Not the least of which is the apparent internal schisms that seem to be growing by the day for the Republican Party. While the party big wigs were surly delighted at the sight of angry Beck watching tea bagging mobs disrupting public forums, they must be second guessing things right now. Consider some of the following:
- A Washington Post poll the other day showed that the only thing that most Republicans agree on is that they oppose President Obama. Other than that, the poll reveals "deep dissatisfaction among GOP voters with the party's leadership as well as ideological and generational differences." Fewer than half of Republicans (and GOP-leaning independents) approve of the direction that the party is going in today. This same poll found that there is no real consensus on GOP leadership, with 18% naming Sarah Palin, 13% saying John McCain, and 8% saying that "no one" is the leader.
- In a 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll released on Sunday, it seems that a majority of conservatives name nonelected officials and hate jocks like Limbaugh and Beck as the leaders of the conservative movement. The poll goes further in revealing an even wider rift between the fringe dwelling tea bagging-types and the few remaining moderates that want to broaden their party. It seems that the more radicalized new GOP base is winning the battle with the recent talk of a "purity test" for their candidates.
- Republicans already lost a reliable seat in New York because of the fringe's demand for extreme right wing purity. Now, as Think Progress has detailed, there appears more and more "New York's" in the making all across the country.
I don't pretend to know what is going to happen after voters go to the polls next year, but I can't imagine that being this disorganized, disgruntled and radicalized puts Republicans in the position that many on the right hope to occupy next year.
The Republican Party of Wisconsin has long been radicalized, having very few traditional Republicans or moderates left. From Leah Vukmir's card carrying membership in the "tenther movement" to Glenn Grothman's obsession with race and his war against equal pay – it seems that the RPW went off the cliff a few years ago. That being said, it will still be interesting to watch a few of their primaries in the state.
- Assuming that Mark Neumann actually starts acting like a real candidate, will he and Walker have a race to the fringe?
- Will Wisconsin Republicans back their pumpkin farmer
establishment candidate for U.S. Senate Terrance Wall or will they opt for the true believer, Dave Westlake?
- And what about that 7 candidate GOP primary in the 8th Congressional District? Are the teabaggers going to demand the most ideologically pure? Whoever does win the primary, will the "independent" that is running split the right wing vote?
Both nationally and in the state, these events will certainly be very interesting to watch. We will eventually find out who is actually driving the GOP bus and if it is indeed the crowd that plans on driving it directly off a right wing cliff.