Pat Wynne has an insightful opinion here about a topic that comes up regularly, whether the hard right can topple the GOP:
The Right Wing of the Republican Party, who gained control after the death of Eisenhower and the resignation under threat of impeachment of President Nixon saw the party near extinction, made a deal with the majority of the southern Democrats.
Most of them were also part of a movement of white fundamentalist Christians opposed to the civil rights movement, legal abortion or gay rights, and any restrictions on gun ownership. They joined the Republicans, adding approximately an additional 30 %, enough to allow the GOP to continue as a viable political entity.
This faction became stronger with Ronald Reagan and the elder Bush, and with the eight years of the Bush/Cheney Administration, after defeating moderate Republicans headed by John McCain, was firmly in control until the economic disaster in 2008 revealed the errors which had come out of their leadership.
For the 2008 Presidential election, control returned to the moderates in the GOP, McCain was the candidate, though a relatively unknown Sarah Palin was chosen as his running mate to satisfy the Right Wing.
After McCain and the GOP lost to Obama and a majority Democratic Congress, the Right Wing, with poster girl Palin, simply morphed into the Tea Party movement and set out to regain control of the GOP, a struggle which is still ongoing.
In my honest opinion, the rhetoric of hate, the lethal weapon imagery being practiced by some leaders with or allied with the Tea Party movement, and I will cite Sarah Palin as an example, is aimed at regaining the power they lost with the defeat of Bush/Cheney, even if fomenting armed rebellion against existing governments at present led by Democrats and moderate Republicans is the only way they can win.
I think these people are dangerous in the influence they have and the support and public forums being provided for them by people with tremendous wealth and power such as Rupert Murdoch, the Koch Bros., and many others.
It is up to those who have political power, be they Democrat or the moderate Republican establishment, to try to work together for their common good, and to control this faction. They are loose cannons who answer only to themselves and those who give them funding.
This is what I got from the President’s great speech and the tremendous reception given to it by the people of Tucson.
If I had any doubts as to Tucson Tea Party influence in the Arizona shootings, they left after I read comments made by Tea Party candidate Kelly, who had opposed the Congresswoman in a recent election, and by the resignation of the 4 GOP Congressmen out of fear of Tea Party violence.
People like our local Hard Right bloggers and some of the nuts they attract are also feeding the flames. They should not be encouraged.