How can Barack Obama, as this new NBC/Marist poll has it, be beating Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in South Carolina, of all places? The leads are narrow—it’s just 45-42 over Romney and 46-42 over Gingrich. But still, this is South Carolina, the home state of a senator (Lindsey Graham) who, just this past Sunday on Meet the Press, was talking nullification of federal laws in the shameful style that is his state’s benighted tradition. Is it conceivable that 10 months and three weeks from now, Obama could actually win the state? If it happens, we will know that the Republicans are headed off the cliff. And that is precisely where we should all hope they go.
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Everyone wants sanity and civility restored to our politics. Some moderate Democrats and a smattering of Republicans have this fantasy that a centrist third party will do it. Nonsense. As I’ve written before, all a centrist third party will accomplish is ensure the election of the right-wing candidate. The only thing that might bring back sanity and civility is the destruction of the current GOP. If Republicans wake up next Nov. 7 to see that their extremist-obstructionist posture of the last four years has only reelected a president who started the year below 50 percent (as he will) and whom they should have been able to beat, then they might finally return to earth.
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