The extremist faction is the Republican party (not whatever John Boehner or John McCain are supposed to stand for); the extremist faction is the ruling class's preferred direction for American politics in the near future, as unimaginable as it might seem today.
Simpson and Bowles and austerity's other sales people aren't really economic thinkers. They're paid to pitch a product. They didn't invent austerity any more than Alex Rodriguez invented Pepsi. But what they're peddling isn't a soft drink. It's a lot worse for you than that.
It is time to pass the torch from the extremism, division and obstruction of Republicans to the leadership of opportunity and aspiration that was ignited with the election of Obama -- and would be culminated by the election of President Hillary Clinton.
That Republicans failed to capitalize on such an advantageous political landscape, should be cause for honest reflection, not illogical scapegoating. Blaming the wrong thing will only guarantee similar failures in the future.
Missouri Republican Senate candidate Todd Akin has been appropriately pilloried over the past 24 hours for his amazing "legitimate rape" comments. But should we any longer be surprised? Isn't this what the Republican Party has come to?
Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann write that much of the blame for the dysfunction in Congress lies with the Republican Party. Sounds like fighting words to me, but the traditional press doesn't seem to want any part of this showdown.
It is not possible to understand fully why moderates are no longer welcome within the Republican Party -- indeed why for all practical purposes the Party has been completely taken over by extremists -- in conventional terms alone.