"The devotees of the party out of power are insane.”

James Joyner hasn't given up on the GOP yet:

Are the inmates running the asylum in the Republican Party?   I don’t think we’re there yet, although there are days when I have my doubts.  But right now I’m willing to chalk it up to a combination of a political climate that’s been hyper-polarized for years, making the out party seem insane.  (Recall Jane’s Law: “The devotees of the party in power are smug and arrogant. The devotees of the party out of power are insane.”)  Add to that dire economic times and a 24/7/365 Twitter environment where crazy thoughts can get amplified and seem more prevalent than they are, and you have a recipe for this sort of thing.

My sense is that things will swing back in the other direction fairly soon because that’s what has always happened in the past.  But, while I don’t think it’ll happen, it’s not entirely inconceivable that Sarah Palin will be the 2012 Republican nominee.  In which case, I’ll look for other options.  Until then, the only thing I can do is point out the crazies and argue for a saner path.

The pattern with these things, I'm afraid, is that they don't swing back soon. They swing back in the end - but only after the delusions of the ideologues have been destroyed the only way they truly can be, by repeated drubbings at the polls. Yes, what happened to the Labour party in the 1980s and the Tory party after 1997 are my most vivid examples of this - it took both parties more than a decade and several leaders before they became capable of governing again. Or think of the Democrats in the 1970s and 1980s.

My fear is that the combination of an insane party, a very populist and potentially economically disastrous few years, and deepening polarization could lead to a very alarming outcome. Resentment is a powerful force; and Palin is nuts enough to ride it.