Have you been following the huge wins the US military has been having in Afghanistan?
Prediction: President Obama will be able to neutralize the right-wing trope that he’s weak on terrorism and national security with 3 years of clear, consistent victories in Afghanistan and Iraq. This is one of the reasons why I don’t think that conservatives will be able to find a solid challenger for the presidency, at least not collectively. With that issue out of play potential conservative candidates will be crowded into an increasingly narrow set of issues that they can differentiate on and gain political traction with. There is a strong chance that the GOP will not be able to maintain internal coherence and will face Tea Party competition from a well-known political figure acting at least partially out of opportunism if not zeal. There are other policy advocacies that the President is sure to be considering that will further strain GOP coherence, particularly in areas where libertarians are at odds with social conservatives.
In this sense I’m not concerned that the Glenn Beck-style crazies on the right have taken over the conservative dialogue from the sane. I think that Democrat losses at other levels will be more because of the idiosyncrasies of the races and candidates and this is where the far right is likely to be more meaningful. I’m not concerned that Sarah Palin or a Glenn Beck-style thug will be within a heartbeat of the nuclear football.