Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A new study shows a big rift in the right -- between paranoid Tea Partiers and establishment conservatives. Before you conclude that's good news, read

Rift in the Right: Many Conservatives Reject the Tea Party's Paranoid Views

So when we speak today of the conservative movement, we're essentially talking about the GOP -- which means that a rupture in the conservative movement, as revealed in the University of Washington data, could signal a rift in the Republican Party not unlike the one that launched the presidential candidacy of Sen. Barry Goldwater, R-Ariz., in 1964. While the result of that single race was disastrous for the G.O.P., it set the stage for Reagan's ascent 16 years later. And given the speed with which the Tea Party movement sprang in response to the election of the nation's first African-American president, if that acceleration maintains its momentum, could the G.O.P. become the Grand New Tea Party in four or eight years' time?