Now that's three times you've posted that animation to me. I feel like you're trying to tell me something.
You're a kill-joy Oceander. I take back all the ambiguously nice things I said about you, and I don't know why my side is wearing a blue dress. Red goes so much better with pale skin and gold.
"avoided as much hyperbole and rhetoric as possible."
How the hell am I going to score points that way? Intellectually I know GOP infighting is counterproductive, but I don't know how you meet someone halfway when they are proud they do not compromise their principles in the search for solutions. My way or the highway doesn't leave a lot of wiggle room.
Sometimes I just get riled up enough. It wasn't aimed at you necessarily - certainly your name wasn't on it - but at both factions in general.
On the substance? I think you go hyperlocal and start finding out what is driving the ordinary individuals who at this point have been putting their support behind tea party politicians - at the very least, those who've made common cause with a politician who's going seriously out on the fringe - and start seriously engaging with them on that level. That doesn't mean simply catering or pandering to them - part of the reason they're mad is because they've been pandered to so often - and it doesn't mean talking electoral strategy with them - they're less interested in procedural strategy than they are in getting their wants heard by someone who'll take them seriously.
Basically, you start a conversation with them. And that doesn't mean that at the end of the day you're going to go along with specific policies they've proposed, or even that you try to fulfill their every wish; you do what everyone really needs from their friends in their ordinary, nonpolitical lives: you listen, you try to put what's legitimate into a broader context, and you respectfully explain why some of the things they want simply cannot be realized. On the latter, getting rid of abortion is an easy example: abortion will never go away, not as a practical matter and not as a legal/constitutional matter either. Abortion is here to stay, so as much as it may pain you to tell them, there is simply no point in wasting time and political capital trying to use the political/legislative process to get rid of abortion. However, not all is lost, you would tell them, it's legitimate to not want government to be facilitating or encouraging abortion, so that is a legitimate avenue to pursue, and - and this is where you bring in the bigger context - that should be undertaken as part of a larger process of reforming entitlements and all of the social spending/redistribution the government currently engages in.
You (I don't mean you personally, by "you" I'm referring to the hypothetical moderate politician) also need to pull your policies and views into a coherent overarching view of what America stands for and how those abstract principles are put into practice in real life. For example, it's very easy to talk about immigration reform - either to clamp down or to loosen up - but the devil is in the details and it can be devilishly hard to work out how to enforce certain types of immigration laws without trampling over other peoples' rights. Here again, part of the conversation is respectfully explaining why some of the things people want to do viz. immigration - here I'm thinking of the hard no-amnesty view - simply won't work and shouldn't be put into practice.
In terms of getting into practicalities and realities, I think you also need to have a serious discussion in plain English with them about the necessity of compromise with your opponents - for example, by giving a little historical background on how the Founders viewed compromise as a necessary tool of governance; for example, it was a compromise between the populists and those afraid of demagoguery that gave us the bicameral Congress with one chamber - the House - popularly elected, and in charge of initiating government spending, and the other chamber - the Senate - chosen by the states qua states, and intended to act as a balance and check on the populist excesses of the House. With that background, I think you then start talking about the art of the strategic compromise, and as part of that you lead off with the example of Ronald Reagan and how he was able to achieve many of his goals in the face of initially concerted resistance by artfully working out a compromise. The emphasis here should be on explaining/demonstrating that compromise is not an inherently dirty word, that it isn't the same thing as surrendering to your opponents, and that it works best when you achieve the most important of your goals, and that you exact a sufficient price for the things you do compromise on. Another part of this discussion has to entail, in my view, a discussion of why not all principles and goals are created equally, and that part of being a successful leader is prioritizing your principles and goals, from the absolutely crucial - which cannot be compromised to any great degree - down to the corollary and tertiary - those that can be readily compromised on without betraying your most vital principles - and then carefully thinking out what the price of compromise is for everything that you can safely compromise.
Compromise without a framework of principles, ordered in terms of their relative importance, and without an understanding of the price for each compromise, leads to apparently rudderless conduct, with compromises appearing to be arbitrary and without real reason, and without getting a fair price in exchange for such a compromise. It is this last part that I think makes many people frustrated with the moderates in the GOP: the appearance of random, arbitrary compromises apparently made for the sake of expediency, and made without getting anything of equal value in return.
I think that if moderates would (and could) do something like this, they would begin to peel away some of the support the more radical tea partiers have, making it easier to reach a more unified overall position for the party as a whole, but without internal bickering or suppression of dissent. Obviously, this process would not convince everyone: there are many people who are committed to their positions, including their refusal to compromise at all, and who simply will not take you seriously; but that's a brute fact of life in every endeavour - some people will just never like you no matter what you do - and should be accepted and not taken as some sort of an attack on you.
That's what I think moderates should be doing right now, not going on mainstream media shows and exposing republicans' internal dirty laundry to media personalities who are hostile to republicans as such and who take every opportunity to turn normal intra-party dissent into further evidence for why the republicans are evil people who cannot be trusted. When Mitch McConnell says that he's going to "crush" the tea partiers, that helps nobody except for the democrats. Not only does it give them ammunition they will gleefully use, it also gets tea partiers' hackles up and makes a rapprochement with them all that much harder.
Finally, I do think that it's the job of moderates to take the lead in this process. Moderates are the leaders of the party and have been for a while. In any organization it is the job of the leader to approach the dissenters and understand what makes them tick, why they're dissenting, and what they're dissenting from. It isn't the job of the dissent, who almost by definition are in the minority - else they wouldn't be the dissent - to take the lead in convincing themselves that their dissent really isn't effective and should be dropped.
To quote Hopper, the leader of the grasshopper gang in A Bug's Life
: First rule of leadership: everything
is your fault.
Of course in reality I do expect the dissent to act in good faith and to do their part to pursue a rapprochement, which will necessarily require that they, too, do some hard work on their own to figure out what they really want, why they want it, what parts they can comfortably compromise on, and what the price of any compromise will be. Acting in good faith requires that they do something more than sit there like prima donnas waiting for the boys to come to them; but they can't be expected to do all the heavy lifting and, in fact, can't be expected to do the lions' share of the heavy lifting, precisely because they're the minority, not the majority.