A reader writes:
The hysteria among the members of the conservative base is the central issue now, even more than jobs, Afghanistan, or health care. And it's a good issue for the President, both because those folks are so hysterical that hanging that tag on them should be pretty easy, and also because it's an issue that can serve as a container which holds almost all of the other issues.
If the President can win over the middle on the hysteria issue, the other side becomes marginalized more or less across the board.
There's another point that ought to be made about this craziness. There have always been a lot of people with crazy political opinions in our country. It's not the existence of these folks that's different now. The difference is the deal with the devil one of the major parties has made by embracing them.
I'm not sure why they've done it, because it seems like a losing strategy to me, and beyond that, it seems like a strategy that could only be embraced by someone who is utterly and completely devoid of patriotism. The only real explanation that I can come up with is that the interests of "movement conservatism, the business" trumps patriotic conservatism as a political philosophy in the GOP.
The power of the conservative industrial complex - utterly cynical enterprises like Eagle Publishing and Fox News, for example - is real and has done a huge amount to destroy an uncynical and constructive conservatism. But again, until someone in the party who has authority takes them on, until we get a GOP Sistah Souljah moment against the Malkins and Coulters and Becks and Hannitys, the cancer will keep spreading. If you think Mitt Romney is capable of this, dream on.