As president, Ronald Reagan issued his 11th commandment that Republicans should not speak ill of other members of the party. But the edict has languished, and it won’t be restored unless the GOP ends its internecine warfare over what is more important: winning elections or being philosophically pure.
It is not difficult to foresee a time when the ultras break entirely from the moderates and bring about an upheaval, forming a permanent minority that stays true to its ideology but can’t further it. That already has started.
Anyone with the least bit of interest in politics knows that bad candidates may find enough support to defeat good ones in primary elections but certainly not to win the election that counts.
That happened in the past two elections. Unless the Republican mainstreamers can somehow pitch the tea party movement overboard, it’s likely to recur two years from now. Republican candidates had a chance of gaining dramatically in the Senate last time out but nominated candidates whose wild, embarrassing ideas cost them the election.