Are All Republicans Limbaugh Lunatics, the Cantor Crazies, and Tea Party Extremists?

The Republican Party has shifted so far to the right that Richard Lugar – the six-term Senator from Indiana who just lost a primary race to a Tea Party candidate – is considered a voice of reason. This explains why media pundits and even his Democratic colleagues have been heaping praise on the 80-year old Lugar. In fact, Lugar is quite conservative, as his voting record on labor, environment, reproductive freedom, gay rights, and other issues shows. But these days the battle within the Republican Party is between conservatives and ultra-conservatives, so Lugar looks OK in comparison to the Tea Party wing-nuts. Back in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, there was a power struggle within the GOP between conservatives and moderates. In my Huffington Post column, “Are There Any Responsible Republicans Out There?” I ask: Where are the responsible Republicans — former office-holders, corporate CEOs, university presidents, or clergy – who will stand up publicly to the Tea Party, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, Dick Armey, the Koch brothers, the Heritage Foundation, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, and the Religious Right? Why hasn’t someone like Colin Powell pulled together a group of such high-profile Republicans — conservatives but not crazies – to try to rescue the GOP from the extremists who are moving the party further and further away from mainstream America?

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