So let’s see now. The GOP has one U.S. Senate candidate who said there is “legitimate rape” that doesn't result in pregnancy and another who acknowledges rape can result in pregnancy, but that if it does, it is God's will.

The Republicans’ crazy uncles locked in the basement are starting to howl and it isn’t quite Halloween. The timing is terrible for Mitt Romney. Despite his distancing himself from both Todd Akin’s and Richard Mourdock’s statements, both men are reminders of a growing group within his party who have extreme views on social policy and are increasingly essential to the Republican base. (Why do you think a candidate like Rick Santorum lasted so long in the primaries?) This morning I argued Mitt Romney will acquiesce to these right-wingers as a trade-off for getting his economic and budget plans passed.

This group of lawmakers and candidates is burbling up from a small, but extremely vocal, political minority, that is fighting for power at all levels of government. They have had some successes and some excesses on issues like restricting access to birth control, requiring invasive ultra-sounds and requiring the teaching of creationism alongside the “theory” of evolution.

Make no mistake: This group of extremists is bent on taking over the Republican Party. The Republican establishment has cultivated them for years at election-time, locking them in the basement after the elections are over. But these forces are growing stronger and may haunt Republicans not just during this election but in many more to come.