TIME Magazine: "GOP DOA?"

Hat tip to Left in Aboite for the following story: Republicans in Distress: Is the Party Over? - TIME
These days, Republicans have the desperate aura of an endangered species. They lost Congress, then the White House; more recently, they lost a slam-dunk House election in a conservative New York district, then Senator Arlen Specter.
As the party has shrunk to its base, it has catered even more to its base's biases, insisting that the New Deal made the Depression worse, carbon emissions are fine for the environment and tax cuts actually boost revenues — even though the vast majority of historians, scientists and economists disagree. The RNC is about to vote on a kindergartenish resolution to change the name of its opponent to the Democrat Socialist Party. This plays well with hard-core culture warriors and tea-party activists convinced that a dictator-President is plotting to seize their guns, choose their doctors and put ACORN in charge of the Census, but it ultimately produces even more shrinkage, which gives the base even more influence — and the death spiral continues. "We're excluding the young, minorities, environmentalists, pro-choice — the list goes on," says Olympia Snowe of Maine, one of two moderate Republicans left in the Senate after Specter's switch. "Ideological purity is not the ticket to the promised land."
When even the august and solidly conservative TIME Magazine, child of Hadden and Luce, is declaring that the GOP may well be in its final throes, even I have to admit that things are looking grim for them. This is not out of some level of concern for the GOP itself, or its more strident followers, but for those caught in the middle - the middle-of-the-road conservatives and the centrists who lean Republican. They don't dare tread onto our side, either out of extremist-implanted fear of liberalism as a whole, or because they don't think they'll find a place.

If they band together, and build a new party apart from the decaying remains of the old, they may yet be able to keep conservatism going. If they don't and they fail to join, or they let themselves be pushed farther into conservatism and into the dangerously extreme territory being currently occupied by the "mainstream" Republicans, then they are assuredly doomed.

The modern, Reagan/Bush/Bush Jr./RushSeanBillGlenn brand of extreme conservatism, the kind that gave Reagan room to declare government the enemy, gave Bush I the drive to invade in the Middle East to protect our oil interests, and gave Bush II the means to dismantle America from its center outward while we cowered in fear, is dying. There are no two ways about it. They will either splinter into multiple groups, each working for its own goals, or they will realize their mistakes and return from the brink of madness.

Santayana said, "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your effort when you have forgotten your aim." One wonders whether the realization of their forgotten aim will dawn on the GOP's fanatics before or after they've lost all the moderates.