I called Gartenstein-Ross to ask whether he sees a connection between today's pumped-up GOP and his experience in radical Islam. Islamic extremists, he told me, "declare people with more moderate views of Islam to be not Muslim at all." The Republican Party doesn't advocate violence toward apostates, he replied, and liberal groups such as MoveOn.org also push the edge of the envelope, but he saw a similarity: "You have the same element with this desire for purity."
Also, in an age when opinionators are competing for attention, shock talk draws the most attention. Palin trash-talked Christie's undergarments -- presto, she made Politico. Brewer berated the president in a most inhospitable manner -- and her book sales shot up.
Stanford's Fiorina told me that the Republican Party today reminds her "a lot of Democrats in the '70s. It took them four or five elections to figure out that the country wasn't going to elect them."
Fiorina looks at the GOP and sees "what happened to the Democrats." Now the GOP base is "anti-establishment." GOP factions "fight with each other more than the other side."
Then there's this rush to claim victimhood. On Thursday, Palin was on Fox Business claiming that "the establishment" was trying to "crucify" Gingrich. Crucify? How? By letting him talk? First party lemmings alienate everyone outside their little bubble, and then they blame the "establishment" because many voters do not trust them with power.