…to Charlie Pierce:

Part of it is the preposterous way that the GOP set up its primary calendar, and the utter inability of the Republican National Committee to keep their state committees from banjaxing the whole thing in a scramble for the influence that comes from being early on the schedule. Part of it was the long time it took to clear out the deadwood from the field; Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann never should have been in the campaign long enough to be “frontrunners” even for one day. But the great responsibility lies with the fact that, for more than 30 years, the Republicans have been sucking around for a campaign just like this one. They knew full well that their “base” was heading into the wild places, and they did nothing to stop them. They did nothing to arrest the spread of abject wingnuttery in the various state houses, from which came the generation of young Republicans stalwarts who won in 2010. They played footsie in the South with the Council Of Conservative Citizens, and in the West with the more polite fringes of the militia movement. For mean and temporary political advantages, they allowed more and more of the fringes into power in the party until, finally, there was no “Republican establishment” any more. And now, too many respectable conservatives are wandering around, blinking, and wondering how it all happened that their party has lost its mind. You were there, kids. You just didn’t care.

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