In the pregame highlights for the next two years of Republican one-party rule, rightwing radicals dropped their towels and exposed themselves in all their naked ambition last week. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

Tom DeLay’s buddies voted to lower their Party’s ethical standards to protect their conflict-ridden leader over the objection of moderate stalwarts like Christopher Shay.

Arm-twisted behind his back, Arlen Specter cried “Uncle” and signed a White House loyalty oath before he was allowed to replace Orrin Hatch as Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a humiliation unprecedented in the history of our constitutional system of checks and balances.

Two Congressional staffers slipped a provision into the Omnibus spending bill giving two committee chairmen and their assistants access to every American citizen’s tax returns.

And in a Pacers vs. Piston-like brawl in the House Republican caucus, Defense Department patsies shot down the unarmed Intelligence Reform Bill, much to the shock and awe of Senate Republicans like Pat Roberts, Chuck Hagel and Susan Collins.

It would seem the only thing worse than being a Democrat these days is being a moderate Republican. One has to wonder: how long will they stand the humiliations, the slights, the powerlessness before they defect like Jim Jeffords?

At this rate, executive producer Karl Rove’s TV hit, The Permanent Republican Majority, may be cancelled sooner than anyone previously expected.