THE ‘FATWA’ PARTY?…. It looks like much of the California Republican Party has given up on moderation altogether. (thanks to reader M.R. for the tip)

The California Republican Party has been pummeled by some tough body blows in recent years — and results at the ballot box have been just part of the pain.

Now, at a time when the national GOP is trying to find its voice and cultivate new candidates, California GOP activists have begun engaging in a new pastime: issuing “fatwas” to punish state Republican legislators deemed too moderate on tax issues.

This circular firing squad was on display last week at a “Tax Revolt” rally that drew 8,000 people to a Fullerton parking lot…. The raucous California tea party featured such dramatics as the spearing of a likeness of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s head, and the sledge-hammering of a pile of Schwarzenegger dolls, videos and movie memorabilia — even an action hero lunch box.

The radio hosts’ “fatwas” target a handful of moderate GOP legislators who sided with Democrats to end the state budget impasse. Their calls to recall those lawmakers have reverberated throughout the Republican grassroots.

Hmm. In 2003, far-right activists smashed the Dixie Chicks’ CDs. In 2009, they’ve graduated to Schwarzenegger lunch boxes.

Republican consultant Bill Whalen told the AP, “It’s becoming the fatwa party.”

Far be it for me to give a state Republican Party advice, but this doesn’t sound like a recipe for electoral success.

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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.