There’s little doubt Sarah Palin is poising herself to become the new voice of the Republican party. As she campaigns for McCain, going rogue has not only become her norm, it’s become her platform. Her pro-”redneck” America, her “real” America, is really code for white, rural America. And like in the late 60s, when the white supremacist George Wallace used thinly veiled hate speech so as to inoculate himself from claims of overt racism, Palin and her followers are gaining momentum by embracing fear and intolerance and using similarly coded language. In yesterday’s Op-Ed column in the New York Times, Paul Krugman predicted this new movement–led by the Palins and the Michele Bachmanns–will only get uglier and increasingly bigoted.
But the G.O.P.’s long transformation into the party of the unreasonable right, a haven for racists and reactionaries, seems likely to accelerate as a result of the impending defeat.
This will pose a dilemma for moderate conservatives. Many of them spent the Bush years in denial, closing their eyes to the administration’s dishonesty and contempt for the rule of law. Some of them have tried to maintain that denial through this year’s election season, even as the McCain-Palin campaign’s tactics have grown ever uglier. But one of these days they’re going to have to realize that the G.O.P. has become the party of intolerance.