Maybe. But my take is that the hermetic nature of movement conservatism — its loyalty tests, its closed intellectual world where you get all your alleged facts from Fox News and the Heritage Foundation, the “wingnut welfare” that ensures that defeated politicians always have a cushy job waiting at a think tank somewhere, always made it vulnerable to this kind of spin into policy craziness. The Bush debacle undermined the control once exercised by the establishment, which tried to keep up the appearance of reasonableness; and now people like Pawlenty and Romney need to sound crazy even if they (possibly) aren’t.
The 2010 election may, in retrospect, turn out to have been a disaster for the GOP: it empowered the extremists, leading them to believe that they could go the whole way and keep winning elections. I guess we’ll see.
More importantly, though, even the most casual glance at the entire Rethug establishment provides instant verification of what Bill Maher said about politics over recent decades: "The Democrats have moved to the right, and the Republicans have moved to the insane asylum." For all that this is a smart-ass jab, Maher absolutely nails it. The litmus tests for Rethugs are now such that a sane person must totally abandon all reason and integrity to succeed as a Rethug.
Here, Lawrence O'Donnell, draws the truth out of Grover Norquist, the Repugnicant behind the curtain.
This is the real tragedy of modern American politics.