Friday night on "The Rachel Maddow Show," host Rachel Maddow discussed how the Republican Party appears to have taken all the wrong lessons from the drubbing it took in 2012. Even as the GOP feverishly tries to scrub away all signs of former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), she said, it is merely digging itself further and further into its extremist hole.
She began the segment with the tale of Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), who unofficially announced his retirement via a statement from Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal (R) on Friday. Chambliss was about to be primaried from the right by members of his own party for daring to work with Democrats on a budget deal earlier this year.
U.S. Rep. Paul "Lies Straight from the Pit of Hell" Broun (R-GA) has been mentioned as a possible contender for Chambliss' seat, as well as Rep. Phil Gingrey, who recently announced that Reps. Todd Akin (R-MO) and Richard Mourdock (R-IN) were "party right" that women can't become pregnant in cases of "legitimate rape." A third candidate would be disgraced Komen Foundation executive Karen Handel, former Georgia Secretary of State, who infamously tried to cut Komen's connections to Planned Parenthood, only to be rebuffed.
The Georgia race is just one example of how the Republican Party is refusing to accept that its far-right fringe is out of step with the U.S. public. Races all over the country have gone to Democrats because Republicans insisted on running the most rigid, ideologically blinkered candidates they could muster.
Nobody in the Republican Party wants to talk about Mitt Romney right now, Maddow said. The former presidential candidate has kept a low profile since November, not only not appearing at the presidential inauguration ceremonies, but announcing that he would not even be watching them on TV.
Meanwhile his party has been making a big show of "de-Romnifying themselves," Maddow said, "cleansing themselves of any references to the Romney presidential nomination." Strategists and party operatives have been declaiming to reporters that there is no "Romney faction" left in the Republican Party after November.
"Republicans want you to know that they're getting rid of everything Romney," she said. "They're taking a hot bleach shower. They're making a very public display of expunging all evidence of his candidacy because he, obviously, was the problem with the Republican Party."
She then welcomed former RNC chairman Michael Steele, who conceded that while there may not be a "Romney wing" to the Republican Party, he was the party's nominee in November.
"You can't whitewash that," said Steele. "You can't pretend it didn't exist. And that if we ignore it and pretend it never did, then everything else we do will be better. It's just silly and it's typical crap that these guys throw around and put the blame someplace else rather than looking at the internal processes that are much more focused on anything other than grassroots."
Maddow replied that having witnessed the failure of the Romney candidacy, she thought that the Republicans would figure out that their strategy of moving further to the right wasn't working for them. Instead, she said, it seems that the party is doubling down.
Watch the video, embedded via MSNBC, below: