[T]he Republican playbook for 2012 should follow a simple plan:
1) Focus on the president’s record.
2) Do not allow the militant wing of the party to bind the whole party to election-losing issues.
3) Keep the kooks off the main stage.
And yet this simple plan is proving surprisingly hard to execute. …
Tea Party conservatives complain that Republicans who advocate restraint, responsibility and moderation do so in order to be nice to Obama. That’s utterly upside down. Restraint, responsibility and moderation are indispensable to the defeat of President Obama. It is Tea Party conservatism itself that is Obama’s last, best hope for a second term.
The Obama campaign can only redirect attention from the president’s own record to GOP kookiness if the GOP cooperates. The conclusion that you’d think would follow: don’t do it.