THE ALTERNATE REALITY…. By most measures, congressional Republicans have spent 2009 executing a scorched-earth strategy. The GOP has moved sharply to the right, has abandoned even the pretense of bipartisan cooperation, has embraced and elevated some of the more radical elements of the party’s coalition, and recommended policy proposals that even some conservatives described as “insane.”

And yet, there are still some Republican officials who are outraged by their party’s moderation.

Conservative Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) on Wednesday called out the leadership of the Republican Party for straying too far from conservative principles.

DeMint, in an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, also said that he is trying to recruit a new crop of GOP lawmakers to challenge the party establishment.

“The problem in the Republican Party is that the leadership has gone to the left,” he said. “I need some new Republicans.”

DeMint’s comments coincide with Rush Limbaugh lashing out at Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for — I hope you’re sitting down — the lack of obstructionism among Senate Republicans.

What’s more, the Gun Owners of America said the GOP leadership is helping advance the “ObamaCare legislation.” The Tea Party and the conservative Social Security Institute sent out 1.5 million email messages earlier this week that read, “Shame on Republican Senators! They are paving the way for ObamaCare to be enacted into law this year because they want to go on Christmas Vacation.” The email added that the GOP is “collaborating with the enemy.”

I wonder what the weather is like in their reality.

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.