In that sense, Republicans and their Tea Party masters have succeeded in transforming American politics from rational choices among human beings into litmus tests for wall-to-wall prejudice.
Those with old-fashioned sensibilities may see a difference between Scott Brown and Todd Akin in the Senate next year. Indeed Brown has called for Akin to quit his race, but Brown’s opponent Elizabeth Warren makes a hard-to-dispute point:
“What he [Akin] said was dangerously and deliberately ignorant. But it did not fall out of the sky.
“There’s a large Republican agenda here that has to do with access to birth control, with access to health care screening, to the ability of women to determine control over their bodies, to the definition of rape.
“He [Brown] is part of that agenda. He is working to get Republicans in control of the United States Senate so they can pursue that agenda.”
Warren’s contention gets instant credibility from the Republican Platform Committee’s stand against abortion even in cases of rape and incest or to save the life of the mother. Even if he disagrees, reelection of Scott Brown will be another vote to give such people control of the Senate.
As we reach that point this election year, it is the saddest commentary of all on the state of American democracy.
Update: To confirm the dilemma, Tom Friedman muses over what might happen if “conservatives” retook the Republican Party from Tea Party “radicals” and started real debate on policy.
His “conservatives” include Sen. Tom Coburn on fiscal policy, along with NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Rupert Murdoch on immigration.
In this world, there are no centrists.