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Gentlemen, start your engines.

Despite recent events widely seen as setbacks for and reasons to be doubtful of the GOP’s seemingly-inevitable and hopefully-inexorable Bataan death march toward positive change and a new amiable condition with certain majorities of the citizenry, and continuing an equally-improbable recent trend in good ideas coming from unlikely sources, Karl Rove, of all people, has had a good idea, and has done something very necessary that will better his party. This comes with many, um, caveats, of course. I’m sure he’s not doing it for the betterment of his party – he’s likely hedging his bets, so that he doesn’t get so thoroughly trounced again as he did in 2012, with his reported one percent return on investment outraging his American Crossroads donors – and it’s far from certain to work as planned. One potential downfall would be the new organization, the American Victory Project, turning into or being co-opted by the ultra-conservative fringe they’re trying to stop – or in some places, usurp. (If I was on the other side, that’s what I’d do.) Another is the likely amount of general trouble this will create, in the chaos of the GOP doing battle with itself. The civil war is beginning. Brother against brother. At least, I hope.

As reported by The Guardian:

Republican donors are setting up a multimillion-dollar war chest to help protect electable party candidates from primary challenges from “undisciplined” candidates from the fringe right.

The Conservative Victory Project, set up by the Karl Rove-backed Super Pac American Crossroads, seeks to become a bulwark against the kind of extreme views that have seen the party lose Senate seats in recent contests.

The people behind the idea said it is a push against indiscipline rather than any particular ideology. But it comes as the Republican party seeks to define itself after November’s presidential defeat amid an apparent battle for the heart of the party.

It is also being framed by some as a push against the influence of the Tea party, the likes of which have seen the GOP dragged to the right in recent years.

This move is purportedly more a reaction to the un-electability of the finge candidates and the new logistics of electoral politics that we saw in 2012 – Todd Akin, for instance, was supposed to be a shoo-in for his Missouri seat until he opened his mouth about rape – rather than a pushback against any specific ideology. And actually, if that turns out to be true, I think that’s good. It gives the GOP mainstream a practical, pragmatic reason to take action towards thwarting the extremists and against their primary candidacies, and a clearly defined goal to shoot for that everyone can get behind – nominating an electable conservative candidate with broad appeal – which gives the Project itself a likely broad base of support. It is a good first step, strategically, to bringing the party back toward electability if not common sensibility.

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I’m always on the lookout for someone to explain to me – and I say this with a completely straight face, and no hint of irony – why I voted for Barack Obama. I don’t mean that cynically. I know why I voted for him, but I should say I’m always on the lookout for anyone who can explain why I voted for Barack Obama better than I can. And, in a more general sense, I’m always looking out for anyone who can articulate beliefs similar to mine – as I’ve mentioned before, I’m still searching for a coherent and comprehensive worldview, since some of my beliefs, if followed to their logical conclusions, can tend to be contradictory. I know what I believe, and I know what’s right when I hear it, but I’m always interested in anyone who can explain it better than I can. As an aspiring writer, you can imagine that this takes a certain amount of humility…which are two other things that may seem contradictory – aspiring writer and humility – but are not mutually exclusive.

Anyway, this has all been a long way around to the fact that the good folks at Esquire, specifically one Tom Junod, have once again articulated what is in my head better than I can (emphasis mine):

I watched the inauguration on Fox News. I admit there was some perversity involved — I wanted both to tremble with outrage and to gloat. I also wanted to remember why I liked Barack Obama, and there is no better way of liking Barack Obama than watching him on a network that pays people to hate him. His first term was questionable in many ways, but one thing was certain — he wasn’t them. He wasn’t Brit and Megyn and Brett and Chris, with their grievances and their grudges and their hurt feelings, and he wasn’t the man they were still half-heartedly defending, Mitt Romney.

On any list of Obama’s best qualities, this should be at or near the top. It is certainly one of the best arguments in favor of him.

The article is a brilliant piece about how extensively Fox News has marginalized itself, and is very much worth reading in its entirety. Junod continues:

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A fanatic is someone who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.

-Winston Churchill

A post I’ve discovered on Daily Kos, from almost exactly a year ago, has gotten to the heart of the problem, more succinctly and concisely than I have yet to put it. One needn’t even look past the title to find its insight: “An open letter to the people who hate Obama more than they love America.” This is the bone-deep problem with the extremist elements on the right, and a trait by which those known as “extremist” can be defined: their hatred for Obama and what he represents takes precedent over anything and everything, including the well-being of the nation, the economy, the health of the citizenry, and on, and on. This is the root of their obstructionism, from which stems all the actions they’ve taken, and even seems at times to be obstructionism for its own sake – they oppose whatever Obama does and says simply by virtue of him doing or saying it. Opposing him is what they stand for, is what defines them, and is their overwhelming and superseding goal.

And they have just about said as much. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is a big player in the Republican party, is widely quoted as having said, two years into Obama’s first term, “my number one priority is making sure president Obama’s a one-term president.”

Number one priority.

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