GOP struggles with ‘two-headed monkey’ anti-Obama fringe

Dave Weigel, writing for the Washington Independent, has been doggedly covering the right-wing fringe this past year, including the forever undead birther movement. This morning he highlights a quote from an LA Times piece, where Peter Wallsten asks Lisa De Pasquale, the director of the Conservative Political Action Conference — the largest annual meeting of activists on the right — why she declined requests from WorldNetDaily to schedule a panel for next year on President Obama’s birth certificate.

It would fill a room. But so would a two-headed monkey.

Wallsten reports that the Republican establishment, having gained traction and looking to the 2010 elections, is now hoping cooler heads on the right prevail over the anti-Obama conservative base.

Amid a rebirth of conservative activism that could help Republicans win elections next year, some party insiders now fear that extreme rhetoric and conspiracy theories coming from the angry reaches of the conservative base are undermining the GOP’s broader credibility and casting it as the party of the paranoid.

Such insiders point to theories running rampant on the Internet, such as the idea that Barack Obama was born in Kenya and is thus ineligible to be president, or that he is a communist, or that his allies want to set up Nazi-like detention camps for political opponents. Those theories, the insiders say, have stoked the GOP base and have created a “purist” climate in which a figure such as Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) is lionized for his “You lie!” outburst last week when Obama addressed Congress.

They are “wild accusations and the paranoid delusions coming from the fever swamps,” said David Frum, a conservative author and speechwriter for President George W. Bush who is among the more vocal critics of the party base and of the conservative talk show hosts helping to fan the unrest.

Can the GOP tame the dragon? Key to any success, of course, would be for mainstream GOP politicians to stop pandering to the loonies. Note to U.S. Fourth District Republican candidate and state Rep. Cory Gardner: leave the two-headed monkey at home.

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