Republicans may have to do some world-class needle-threading to come up with a presidential nominee who can win in November. New York magazine's Kilgore believes that even if such a candidate exists, it’s not the “hammer-headed movement conservative” Ted Cruz.

“Unity candidates are reassuring and have a knack for making you see your own reflection in their soft and soulful eyes,” wrote Kilgore in a Monday post. “Cruz has the persona of someone who's been told by his crazy father a thousand times that God has chosen him to redeem America from its secular socialist captors…[He] does not represent a natural compromise between those who want to lower their marginal-tax rates and melt the polar caps and those who mainly want to ensure they'll never have to ‘press one for English’ or hold their tongues in the presence of women and minorities ever again.”



Since even some conservatives thought that Hillary Clinton won Thursday’s Benghazi hearing, it stands to reason that lefty bloggers would be happy with the way things turned out.

In fact, not all of them waited until the hearing was over. Early in the afternoon, when Clinton still had several hours of testimony before her, Talking Points Memo editor and publisher Josh Marshall observed that “Hillary…looks poised; [Republicans are] radiating spittle.” As the hearings rounded third and headed for home, Esquire’s Charles Pierce sniped, “This was a performance piece for the people residing within the conservative media bubble…who already are too smart to be fooled by the Hildebeast and her alleged facts because Mark Levin has told them that they are too smart to be so fooled."



Liberals and conservatives often differ over the concept of American exceptionalism, either on how to define it or whether there even is such a thing. Washington Monthly blogger Ed Kilgore recognizes a limited version of American exceptionalism, one which pretty much boils down to a mania for guns.

“America is mainly exceptional [italics in original] among advanced democratic nations not in our personal or economic liberty, but in our strange belief that letting everyone stockpile weapons is essential to the preservation of our freedom, and in the consequences of that strange belief,” wrote Kilgore in a Friday post that piggybacked on President Obama’s statement regarding the Oregon community-college shootings.



A few months ago, many liberals, including much of the bloggerati, were afraid that Walker had a good chance to win not only the Republican presidential nomination but also the presidency. Now that Walker’s out of the GOP race, several lefty pundits have weighed in on why.



On Friday, Washington Monthly's Ed Kilgore and Kevin Drum of Mother Jones contended that the conservative war on political correctness is a tempest in a teapot, and that being politically correct is pretty much synonymous with not being a bigoted jerk.



Several years ago, an episode of The Simpsons featured a Fox News helicopter emblazoned with a fictional slogan for the channel: “Not Racist, But #1 With Racists.” Washington Monthly blogger Ed Kilgore seems to think that those words fit the modern Republican party.

Kilgore acknowledged in a Wednesday post that “if you go back far enough the Democratic and Republican parties were very different beasts,” but argued that these days, “the ideological realignment of the two parties has left just about all the racists in the GOP. That doesn’t mean all Republicans are racists, but it does mean racism is the GOP’s problem at present.”



Monday was a big day for journalists to suggest similarities between mass murderers and Republicans. Newsweek writer Nina Burleigh claimed that certain of Timothy McVeigh’s “militia ideals have gone mainstream” in the GOP, but Esquire's Pierce really put the ideological pedal to the metal when he likened Dick Cheney to one of the all-time worst genocidal maniacs, opining that Cheney’s relatively high current political profile is akin to “giving Pol Pot a late-night TV gig.” (As a lead-in, Pierce also called Cheney “the most inexcusable American who ever lived.”)

Pierce’s item piggybacked on a Washington Monthly post by Ed Kilgore, whose tone toward Cheney was not much less harsh than Pierce’s. After quoting Reince Priebus’s remark that Cheney is “a top fundraising draw, in high demand,” Kilgore sniped, “I suppose this is an example of what the church calls the ‘glamor of evil’ in the Easter baptismal renewal vows."



New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait claims that for today’s GOP, “everything Reagan thought or did was presumptively correct, even the things that contradict the other things he did.” Specifically, “the Reagan cult is largely (though not entirely) a propaganda vehicle for the anti-tax movement,” even though “in reality, Reagan veered wildly out of step with anti-tax orthodoxy.” The Washington Monthly’s Ed Kilgore thinks the Cult of Reagan has been strengthened by its de facto alliance with a newer movement, the Tea Party.



Bush seems not to share what Ed Kilgore calls the “vengeful rage about the alleged persecution of good conservative Christian folk” and what Peter Beinart describes as “the sense of Christian victimhood and superiority that lurks just below the surface in today’s GOP.”



Kevin Drum of Mother Jones claims that Obama’s executive action was meant to “gain Latino support for Democrats and provoke an insane counterreaction from Republicans” and concludes that Obama “succeeded brilliantly on both counts.” Meanwhile, Ed Kilgore of the Washington Monthly notes that “the Republican Party was actually competitive among Latino voters a decade ago,” but adds, “Now that it’s obvious the party has chosen to…bow to the nativist impulses of the conservative ‘base,’ the question is how much worse can it get?”



Ed Kilgore comments that Walker may have an “especially seductive” appeal to the Republican base given that “he won over and over again in Wisconsin without compromising with conservatism’s enemies. Indeed, he behaved almost like a liberal caricature of a conservative villain…Walker tells [right-wingers that] they…can win by confrontation, not compromise or outreach, and his three victories are the proof.”



Ed Kilgore (at Talking Points Memo) and Mark Kleiman (at the Washington Monthly) agree that the Republican party has a serious racism problem but differ on what the GOP could or will do about it.