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Republicans Need to Take Their Party Back
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The morning after, Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist turned MSNBC commentator, minced no words: "We have given away five U.S. Senate seats over two election cycles by nominating loons. I mean, people who are fundamentally, manifestly unqualified to be in the United States Senate."
Lest we forget, Republicans put out some very strange senatorial candidates two years ago. In Delaware, Christine ("I'm not a witch") O'Donnell lost to the Democrat--after defeating the revered Republican Rep. Mike Castle in the primary. In Nevada, Sharron Angle ("Sharia law" has taken over Dearborn, Mich.) lost to a struggling Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
So entranced was the right wing by its own propaganda that it persisted in framing Republican Sen. Scott Brown's surprising 2010 win in Massachusetts as local hostility to Obamacare. Brown got away with promising to help defeat the Affordable Care Act only because the electorate already had a state version of it. His luck ran out on Tuesday.
In olden days, when moderate Republicans freely roamed New England, Brown would have enjoyed stronger odds for re-election. And in nearby Maine, Republican survivor Olympia Snowe would have probably gone back to the Senate had she not retired, exhausted by attacks from the right.
The Tea Party didn't build this alone. It had help from the punditry-industrial-complex--the radio mouths and book-peddling professionals who make a fine living telling the troops that they're always right and they're always winning.
Republican analyst Schmidt also said on Wednesday that the likes of Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh need to be "shut down." What he undoubtedly means is that mature Republican leaders should stop trying to ingratiate themselves with the publicity bottom-feeders.
Conscientious Republicans do want their party back. May they get it.
Froma Harrop is a columnist