TEXAS REPUBLICANS REDUX….Based on a few emails I’ve gotten, I want to make one additional comment about my Texas Republican platform post from yesterday.

The Texas GOP represents a radical movement that has no place in American politics. Their goal, if they are allowed to reach it, is to completely dismantle the social safety net and impose a harsh and unrelenting theocratic regime regarding abortion, gender, divorce, and other social issues.

Most Republicans don’t share these goals. In fact, the real point of yesterday’s post was that while a large majority of Republicans find these attitudes absurd, most of them are in denial about what’s happening in their party and pretend that this is nothing more than a weird little fringe group to be ignored. They have somehow convinced themselves that Tom DeLay ? a man who rather clearly endorses the views of the Texas Republican party ? is some obscure backbencher, not the House majority leader and a man with real power and real influence.

Every party has extremist elements. I can live with that, especially since most extremist elements have little actual power. But some political movements are so odious that decent people need to take active measures to shun them. In the same way that Democrats purged their party of communists in the 40s and Jim Crow racists in the 60s, and the Republicans purged their party of the Buchananites in the 90s, Republicans need to purge the Texas strain of messianic intolerance currently growing on their right wing. It is not harmless, it is not small, and it is not a joke.

Consider this. Suppose that very serious, very miltant communists took over the New York State Democratic party and wrote a platform advocating, say, nationalization of key industries and confiscatory taxation of all income over $50,000. And suppose that one of these New York Democrats had enough support in the party to become House majority leader. And then, finally, suppose that as communist influence spread throughout New England and beyond, Democrats pretended that nothing was amiss. A few communists here and there are harmless. Most of them don’t really believe that stuff anyway, and we’re just compromising with them on a few minor issues. Honest.

Republicans would ? rightly ? be aghast and would refuse to accept bland assurances that nothing serious was going on. And what I want is for the vast majority of decent mainstream Republicans to understand that something very similar is happening to them, and to insist that their party marginalize and repudiate the Texas strain of social destruction currently growing like a cancer on their right wing. It’s been done before, and it can be done again.