Pundits with conservative sympathies are starting to talk about the "L" word as they contemplate the utter collapse of Republican credibility and a probable scenario where Obama as President is backed by democratic majorities - even fillibuster-proof ones - in both Senate and House.
John McCain's campaign has already tacitly accepted the "landslide" scenario. It's latest tactic is to try to offer a McCain presidency to independents as a balance to Pelosi, something they wouldn't even contemplate if they thought that Republicans weren't going to take a major beating or if McCain had a chance of taking the White House under their own power.
They wouldn't be in such dire straits if the Bush Years hadn't been such a massive disaster in all ways both foreign and domestic, if McCain wasn't seen as just more of the same or if the GOP in general was seen as sensitive to the wants of voters rather than corporate giants and their lobbyists. It's their own damn fault and one of those generational adjustments that takes place whenever a polical party gets too used to idea of power (the permanent Republican majority), too incestuous with the big-money players (K Street Project revolving doors) or too hubristic about its ability to control the world around it (the neocon fantasy of "the end of history" and American hegemony). At some point in the future, it'll be the Democratic Party's turn again, although whether the GOP in its current form will still be around to witness that fall is beginning to be questioned too.
But hardline Republicans' reactions to their impending years in the wilderness are those of sullen and sore losers. They're turning to hate speech, false equivalences, myth-building to cover their own acts and myth-building to excuse their loss.
They're even setting up what Mark Steyn is already calling a "Cold Civil War". As my colleague Ron Beasley writes at Newshoggers:
the bile that will be heaped upon Obama after the election will make even the insanity of the Clinton years look tame in comparison ... the framing of it all being the fault of an illegitimate usurper who befriends terrorists and waves the white flag of surrender to America's enemies will likely find some powerful resonance. Scape-goating our problems always does, which is why we're entering such dangerous times, and it wouldn't surprise me to see Palin carrying the banner for all that insanity as she is now.
The GOP base loves her for it, and are already lining up to defend Palin from the consequences of her abusing power in Alaska, just as she'll be able to count on blaming McCain's "too honorable" campaign as the reason they lost. Get used to her. It's a safe bet you're looking at the future of the Republican Party.
Which is, by the by, why the Republican Party is going to become a whole lot smaller and perhaps even slip into the minor leagues, to be replaced by some new, saner center-right coalition with a new party name.
Still, I worry. The percentage of ultra-right diehards is likely to be enough to kick a few who are crazy enough to try make their long-promised insurrection or armed coup a possibility. Minority nutcases and to be labelled correctly as terrorists - but dangerous nonetheless.