THE EVER-GROWING ROOT-FOR-FAILURE CAUCUS…. The list just keeps getting bigger.

Over the last few days, Tom DeLay, Rick Santorum, and Michelle Malkin have joined the Limbaugh-inspired group of conservatives who are publicly hoping that President Obama fails. Yesterday afternoon, RedState’s Erick Erickson kept the ball rolling with an item headlined, “I Too Want Barack Obama to Fail,” encouraging other conservatives to rally behind the campaign to undermine the president.

Join the RedState Army of Activists and lets [sic] work to make sure Barack Obama fails at destroying liberty and freedom:

I want Barack Obama to fail and I want to help ensure he does.

If Barack Obama is successful in implementing his stated agenda, America will fail and the American dream will die for millions.

We already know Barack Obama’s economic policy will fail, but it will hurt millions of hard working Americans.

I will join the RedState Army of Activists and fight for freedom by working to undermine Barack Obama’s agenda and helping him fail.Thank [sic] you for your interest in the I WANT BARACK OBAMA TO FAIL.

Let’s put aside how ironic it is to hear those who believe they’re patriotic actively rooting against the nation’s elected leadership. And by all means, let’s certainly overlook the kind of response this would have elicited if, in the midst of multiple international crises, the left put together an organized campaign encouraging Americans to “help” George W. Bush “fail.”

Instead, let’s note the politics. Ben Smith, highlighting Erickson’s post, said, “[S]omewhere, Brad Woodhouse and Rahm Emanuel are smiling.”

Yep. If Democratic leaders were drawing up a plan to make the right appear ridiculous, their best case scenario would be one in which leading conservatives, consumed by anger just one month after Inauguration Day, started saying things like, “I want Barack Obama to fail and I want to help ensure he does,” in the midst of a global economic crisis and two wars.

In the drive to paint the right as unhinged, blind partisans, committed more to a right-wing ideology than American success, these guys are doing the Democrats’ work for them.

Better yet, by pushing this line so aggressively, the right is also putting elected Republican officials in an awkward position. When asked if they agree with the cries of the activist base, GOP policymakers have to decide whether to appear anti-American or denounce some of their loyal supporters.

Reiterating a point from Saturday, actor John Wayne, who was very conservative, was asked for his thoughts after JFK defeated Richard Nixon in 1960. “I didn’t vote for him,” Wayne said, “but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

It’s such a simple and obvious sentiment. That it eludes so many conservatives is a genuine shame.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.