Timothy Noah

GOP Rank And File: Off-Message Again

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I'm liking rank-and-file Republicans better and better. Earlier this month we learned that they favor Obama's plan to tax the rich. Now we learn that a 55 percent majority of them think Wall Street bankers and brokers are "dishonest," 69 percent think they're "overpaid," and 72 percent think they're "greedy." Fewer than half (47 percent) have an unfavorable view of the Occupy Wall Street protests. Thirty-three percent either favor them or have no opinion, and 20 percent haven't heard of them. Also, a majority favor getting rid of the Electoral College and replacing it with a popular vote. After the 2000 election only 41 percent did. Now 53 percent do. How cool is that?

Every one of these positions puts the GOP rank-and-file at odds with their congressional leadership and field of presidential candidates.

We keep hearing that the Republican base is a bunch of animals who applaud executions and jeer at gay soldiers. But poll data tell me that isn't the base; it's the knuckle-dragging nut fringe. The Republican base looks increasingly like a bunch of reasonable conservatives whose political views now put them well to the left of the ideologues they're sending to Washington. Time for Mitch McConnell, Eric Cantor, Rick Perry, and Roger Ailes to dissolve it and elect another.

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