"by reaching out to those who might disagree with "establishment" Republican positions on such issues as gun control and abortion (which are indeed nutty to a lot of people), the movement not only generates enthusiasm, but also has the potential for greater inclusiveness."
Supporting the Second Amendment and the right to life are "nutty?" Perhaps to the architect of the Dukakis campaign, but not to most Americans.
"A record-low 44% of Americans say that the laws covering the sale of firearms should be made more strict..." (Oct. 9, 2009)
"Slightly more Americans call themselves "pro-life" than "pro-choice," 47% vs. 45%, according to a May 3-6 Gallup poll...While the two-percentage-point gap in current abortion views is not significant, it represents the third consecutive time Gallup has found more Americans taking the pro-life than pro-choice position on this measure since May 2009, suggesting a real change in public opinion." (May 14, 2010)
Liberals are not interested in public opinion because they view the public as their intellectual inferiors, incapable of self-governance and therefore burdening the morally and intellectually superor liberal with the responsibility of making decisons for them.
And that's where you get the view that the right to self-defense and the protection of defenseless humans is "nutty," when in fact it's the mainstream view. It's the liberal's view of themselves as the superman, with a duty to control others, that's "nutty."