Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen of Politico report:
Republicans and Fox News are moving to purge the controversial political creatures they created.We then read about supposed signs of a GOP return to sanity -- the banishment of Sarah Palin and Dick Morris from Fox News, Karl Rove's plans to go after candidates in GOP primaries who can't win, and so on.
Both were damaged badly in 2012 by loud, partisan voices that stoked the base -- but that scared the hell out of many voters. Now, the GOP, with its dismal image, and Fox News, with its depressed ratings in January, are scrambling to dim those voices.
Over at Digby's place, David Atkins thinks it won't work, in part because, as one GOP operative notes in the Politico piece, the party is still full of "suicide conservatives, who would rather lose elections than win seats with moderates," as well as "groups on the hard right that depend on direct mail fundraising that requires a high degree of audacity, and borderline shrillness."
The Republicans are stuck. The establishment GOP ship knows it's headed for a demographic iceberg and needs to change or die. But they're tethered to Fox News and its audience, which won't let them change course. And Fox News itself also realizes it's headed for the same iceberg to a certain degree, but Roger Ailes is tied to the Breitbarts and Newsmaxes that won't let them budge, either.But meanwhile, the mainstream media, having just lived through four years of Obama and with four years yet to go, is bored. Mainstream journalists want a new story. And that story is a GOP comeback -- starting now and (they hope) reaching its climax in 2016, when a Republican Obama (young, Kennedyesque in his vigor, quite possibly brown-skinned) takes the White House.
They've been creating this monster of ugly profiteering and rabid resentment for decades. They can't just make it go away now. The base has too much invested, and the con artists aren't done bilking their marks.
For years, mainstream journalists have steadfastly resisted to acknowledge that the Republican Party is insane. (Remember how two deeply establishmentarian political observers, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, couldn't get booked on TV news shows when they wrote a book blaming Republican craziness for the sorry state of American governance?) Now, however -- see the Politico story -- it's apparently OK to say that the GOP has been crazy, but only in the context of saying that it's ceasing to be crazy. (Whether or not that's true.)
So Politico and other news sources become fanzines for Bobby Jindal. Time gives Marco Rubio a profile that's pure hagiography ("the charismatic conservative often hailed as the Tea Party’s answer to Barack Obama has emerged as the most influential voice in the national debate over immigration reform"), accompanied by a cover image describing him as "The Republican Savior." And on and on.
Republicans don't have to reform their party too much. Check the MSM -- the fix is in.