This country is in a world of hurt if the likes of Michele Bachmann or Rick Perry wins the next election. It might be in greater trouble if Barack Obama does.
I can take no credit — or blame — for that analysis. It originated with one of my colleagues, a veteran political reporter, and he shared it one day not long ago as we were chatting in the office. It troubles me for one simple reason: it makes sense.
So here is how his thinking goes. The genteel, pragmatic Republicanism of the past has been supplanted by a pitchforks and torches mentality, a funhouse mirror distortion of traditional conservatism. Meaning, of course, the tea party.