How Many Defeats Will It Take?

by Patrick Appel

Drum suspects that the Republicans will mellow eventually:

Parties rarely move to the center immediately after a big defeat. Usually it takes two or three before they finally get the message, and on that metric Republicans aren't due for a move to the center until sometime after 2012. As for the tea parties, they're nothing new. We've seen similar conservative movements flower like clockwork during previous Democratic administrations, and they always burn themselves out after a few years.

My greatest fear is that the economy implodes again in 2011 or 2012 and Palin or a Palinesque Republican squeaks into office because of structural forces. Such an outcome would effectively short-curcuit reform of the right for a decade. The other possibility is Republicans over-interpret their gains in the midterms, decide the nation wants True ConservativesTM, the Tea Parties completely take over the Republican establishment, and the GOP gets bashed against the rocks due to its own hubris come 2012.