Frank Rich thinks we're stuck with crazies, who, he believes, have been with us all along, and are not just a sliver of the GOP:
... we keep assuming the anti-government right has been vanquished after its recurrent setbacks, whether after the Clinton-impeachment implosion or the Barry Goldwater debacle of 1964 or the surrender at Appomattox. A Democratic victory in the 1982 midterms was all it took for David Broder, then the "dean" of Beltway pundits, to write off Reaganism as "a one-year phenomenon." When polls showed a decline in support for the tea-party brand last year, it prompted another round of premature obituaries....There are more crazies than we think, Rich writes, and merely hoping that they'll go away -- a hope shared by Democrats and non-crazy Republicans alike -- is not a plan:
That last stand has been going on for almost 200 years.
Some Democrats ... cling to the hope that electoral Armageddon will purge the GOP of its radicals, a wish that is far less likely to be fulfilled now than it was after Goldwater's landslide defeat, when liberalism was still enjoying the last sunny days of its postwar idyll. This was also the liberal hope after Gingrich's political demise of 1998. But his revolution, whatever its embarrassments, hypocrisies, and failures, did nudge the country toward the right....Rich is right: someone actually has to take the fight to the crazies.
Dwindling coastal Republicans of the nearly extinct George H.W. Bush persuasion like Peter King nonetheless keep hoping that the extremists will by some unspecified alchemy lose out to the adults in their party. Tune in to Morning Joe, that echo chamber of Northeast-corridor greenroom centrism hosted by Joe Scarborough, a chastened former firebrand of the Gingrich revolution, and you'll hear the ultimate version of this fantasy: Somehow Chris Christie will parlay his popularity in the blue state of New Jersey into leading the national party back to sanity and perhaps even into the White House.
To believe this you not only have to believe in miracles, but you also have to talk yourself into buying the prevailing bipartisan canard, endorsed by King and Obama alike, that the radicals are just a rump within the GOP ("one faction of one party in one house of Congress," in the president's reckoning). In reality, the one third of the Republican House caucus in rebel hands and the electorate it represents are no more likely to surrender at this point than the third of the states that seceded from the Union for much the same ideological reasons in 1860–61.
Unless and until the other two thirds of the GOP summons the guts to actually fight and win the civil war that is raging in its own camp, the rest of us, and the health of our democracy, will continue to be held hostage.It's not likely to happen. The people we now think of as non-crazy Republicans have been been filibustering, demonizing, nullifying SOBs for a long time; the new crazies just take it a little further. The so-called non-crazies won't fight the crazies because they like a certain amount of craziness, too; they get elected as culture warriors for the "real America." So I think we're stuck with the uber-crazies indefinitely.