Mark Kleiman hopes extremism among Republicans becomes repulsive: "the key question is whether the public comes to identify the Teabaggers as a lunatic-fringe group, to the point where Republican office-seekers are afraid to be associated with them."
Ah, yes, the public.
Kleiman recalls how LBJ was able to tar Goldwater as an extremist, and win a massive landslide election.
Of course, Goldwater was an extremist, even if he did distance himself from, say, the John Birch Society. That helps.
But, LBJ also had Walter Cronkite and Huntley and Brinkley and a great Middle, which could recall World War II, and took politics seriously enough to actually worry about the lunacy of the extreme Right.
Our current dysfunction is not at the extremes, but in the Middle, among the professional non-partisans in the ranks of celebrity journalism and punditry, and among the apathetic, mis-informed mass of Americans, who take their cues from the corporate propaganda machine, which is cable news, radio talk, and failing newspapers.