Scarborough Retreats

Andrew Sullivan —  Mar 5 2012 @ 1:18pm

He scorned my Newsweek cover-essay on "How Obama Set a Contraception Trap for the Right" when I argued that the contraception contretemps would be the first wedge issue that would backfire on the GOP, especially after Obama's final compromise. Scarborough thought it would hurt the president. Now he thinks that the Republican over-reach on the issue has been brutally bad for them.

Here's where he got things wrong, I think. He didn't realize how deeply these sexual issues motivate the Christianist base. He forgot that these people would not relent:

"It was so obvious what they were gonna do!" Scarborough exclaimed. "They just weren't smart enough to pull back when they should've pulled back, and now the president is killing them in the polls." "This has been going on for a month," he continued. "I swear, what is wrong with these people?"

That is a question Joe might have asked a few years ago. You cannot ask religious fanatics to become restrained and canny overnight. And those in the GOP in denial about their fusion with fundamentalism need to wake up.