|This guy could kick your ass|
SCHIEFFER: Do you think that the Republican candidates should have spoken up at that debate about [the booing]?
MCCAIN: Yeah, I do. But a lot of times when you’re in a debate you think about what you’re going to say, what the question is going to be. It’s hard to react sometimes. But I’m sure…I would bet that every Republican on that stage did not agree with that kind of behavior.
OK. But here's the thing. My first thought when I read that was "Horseshit. EVERY Republican on the stage agreed with that sentiment, whether or not they felt it was politically worthwhile to denounce it." Because a political movement has no choice but to own their key messaging. Sure, there can be ideological elements on which a given candidate can take a heterodox position, but a certain sort of tribal hatred has been such a core plank of the Republican platform, a key underpinning on which their entire worldview is constructed for so long that is has literally become part of the Party DNA. Whether it's hatred and intolerance for Gays, African-Americans, Women, Muslims or Hispanics, these kind of divisive tribal politics have exemplified the Republican message at least since Reagan.
So you wind up with a condition where a Huntsman or even a Romney can, with at least some credibility, accept the science on Global Warming or that an individual mandate exists to protect the interest of private insurers and is therefore part of a free-market belief system, but to allow a path to tolerance for Gay Americans, like a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens, is simply impossible. To question the tribal structure of the Republican constituency is to open the door just a crack to the possibility that their definition of "Real American" might be artificially narrow. And without a broad strategy of demonization, they would be left only with issues, which is distinctly unfavorable territory for them.