Monday, April 15, 2013

The GOP's Rightward Spiral

From Daily Beast
...It’s not just that states that are now bright blue once elected moderate Republicans to the Senate. Conservative states used to elect Republican moderates too. The other four Republicans who backed the assault-weapons ban were Missouri’s John Danforth, Kansas’s Nancy Kassebaum, and Richard Lugar and Dan Coats from Indiana. What happened to each is instructive. Danforth soon left the Senate, and later condemned his party’s “fixation on a religious agenda.” He called last year’s Republican primary debates “embarrassing.” For her part, Kassebaum endorsed Chuck Hagel’s nomination to be Defense secretary, a nomination that most current Senate Republicans not only opposed but filibustered. A year ago, a Tea Party challenger defeated Lugar in the GOP primary. In his concession statement, Lugar warned that if the kind of ideological zealotry that defeated him “expands in the Republican Party, we will be relegated to minority status.” Six months later, a Democrat claimed Lugar’s seat. Of the four, only Coats remains in the Senate. (Actually, he left and returned.) But he now opposes any new limitations on gun ownership, despite having voted for them repeatedly in the 1990s. 
Today, according to the Pew Research Center, Americans are 4 points more likely to support “gun control” than “gun rights.” That’s almost identical to where Republicans were in 1993, when they favored gun control over gun rights by 2 points. The problem? Republicans now favor gun rights over gun control by 50 points. Which is to say: the party has gone off a cliff...

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