GOP Base


07.31.13 6:35 PM ET

There are polls and there are polls, people, but this new poll just out from Pew contains The Most Astonishing Findings I Have Ever Seen. Got it? Check it out.

It's a poll of Republicans, taking their temperature on what their party needs to do and how the rank-and-file sees things. It starts out normal, with two-thirds saying the party needs "to address major problems" (that is, within itself, not within the country) and 59 percent saying the party "also needs to reconsider some positions."

So from that, you think, oh okay, this looks healthy, so these majorities want the party to turn toward the middle at least a little bit. Well--you would be wrong. Pew:

Move in a more conservative or moderate direction on policy? By 54% to 40%, Republican and Republican-leaning voters want the party’s leaders to move further to the right. Not surprisingly, conservatives and those who agree with the Tea Party overwhelmingly favor moving in a more conservative direction, while moderates and liberals would like to see the party take more centrist positions. Yet the more moderate wing of the party is a minority generally, and makes up an even smaller share of the likely primary electorate.

Has the GOP compromised too much, or not enough? Republican voters are divided: 35% say the party has compromised too much with Democrats, 27% say not enough, while 32% say party leaders have handled this about right. On this tactical question the Tea Party stands apart: about half (53%) think party leaders have already compromised too much with Democrats, compared with just 22% of non-Tea Party Republicans.

So as not to cry, one can only laugh. Compromised on what? Well...they named a post office for a black person somewhere, probably. They let that Martin Luther King memorial go up. They haven't impeached Obama yet. Bunch of squishes.

Honestly. If you read me regularly, you know that I'm not exactly shy about discussing Republican extremism, the nuttiness of the base, etc. I follow it pretty closely and feel like I have a sense of the pulse. But this shocked even me. Check out the immigration answer. A slight majority believes the party's immigration position is off base. And among that majority, twice as many think the party's position is not conservative enough as think it's too conservative. What would be more conservative? Round 'em up and throw 'em the fuck out, I guess.

These people really have created an out-of-control Frankenstein in this base. Although now that I think about it I'm not wild about that analogy, because doesn't Frankenstein kill the doctor or something? Doesn't bode well for the body politic. In any case, unbelievable.