The former Reagan economic adviser Bruce Bartlett predicts, indeed, that the Republican primaries will turn into a Palin/Gingrich steel-cage death match (from his lips to God’s ears, I say). But history suggests that the rebuilding of the party, whether that means a rejuvenation of conservatism or its root-and-branch reformation, will take much longer than a single election cycle.I have to, cynically and selfishly, agree on the "from your lips to God's ears" element (I try generally to be conciliatory to the everyday Republicans one may meet, or have a reasonable debate with on the internet, and I certainly hate it when they proclaim glee at the Dems internecine warfare). On the other hand, I wonder where this guy was in 2004. That is, after the 2nd Bush win (aka the first time Bush was at least arguably elected, and at least got the popular vote). Democrats were said to be in the woods then, in search of direction, turned against themselves, between centrists and, I guess, my people on the "far left" (which seems, if nothing else, to have a more flexible meaning than "far right," which most, I think, take to be hard core libertarians, survivalists, and theocrats, whereas far left includes everyone from Olbermann and MoveOn and Kucinich to people like the younger William Ayers who would use violence against the system). More accurately, I suppose, it was centrists vs. staunch anti-war progressives, for the most part. But the party didn't figure out its complete incoherence; it just found a charismatic centrist to bring all back into the fold. (Partly, I have to say, by somehow conning a huge amount of my friends and other progressives into the idea that he truly is a Progressive, just in hiding for politics' sake -- this from the guy who won't come out for gay marriage, advocates attacking Iran and Pakistan if necessary, voted for FISA wiretapping, and said he agreed with striking down the DC gun ban and disagreed with the Supremes ruling out executing child rapists, without giving a clear rationale for the last.) In any case, I would hardly say that the Dems had their act together at ALL, as the primaries and PUMA-peeps should show, not to mention the continued silencing of Kucinich-types.
Anyway, all that is to say that I wonder if the Republicans a) will have an intra-party Celebrity Deathmatch (after McCain's loss!), b) will remain out of power for more than one election cycle (i.e. past 2010, impossible to know from here), and c) will actually reconcile, stronger for the experience, into a new Modern Synthesis (if you will), rather than, as the Dems seem to have done, kicking the can down the road.
It should be interesting times in both parties, I suppose.