Now, I don’t expect the Republican Party to heed the advice of a Democrat, but I will offer it anyway. It’s time for the Republican Party to undergo an ideological vasectomy. (Ouch!)

Yes, it’s time for Republicans, if they want to survive as a viable political party, to cut off the far-right voices like Rush Limbaugh and Tom DeLay, move their party more to the left (or in their case, closer to the center), and come up with real ideas and solutions that don’t make the American people think that Republicans are completely out of touch with reality or living in an alternative universe.

Think about this.

The whole dust-up between Michael “I hate you. No, I love you, Rush” Steele and Rush “kiss my ring” Limbaugh is emblematic of a political party that is a prisoner to its own far-right fringe. What Steele’s buckling to Rush (and in fairness to Steele, he wasn’t the first, and won’t be the last) means is that the leaders of the Republican Party, top to bottom, are terrified of a man who lives in a radio studio (actually, I think he really does live in the studio). So, going forward, no one should expect real compromises or bipartisanship when it comes to healthcare, the environment, or any significant issue. Why? Because Republicans live in terror of what Rush Limbaugh would say. Now how’s that for courage under fire?

You see, for folks in the extreme far right like Limbaugh, compromise is synonymous with defeat, Democrats are evil, and so it’s easy for the Limbaugh clones to want President Obama to fail. In fact, if you think about it, Limbaugh doesn’t just want President Obama to fail, he wants America to fail. Why? Because only then will he be able to wax poetic to these very Republicans about how right he was.

Now, maybe that’s just normal politics, but the crisis America faces isn’t normal. It is grave. It is serious. It threatens this great nation, and it should be a calling for all of our leaders — from both sides of the aisle — to want to work together to make America safer, stronger and better. But for “Limbaugh Republicans,” their tired solutions are all about repeating the past, repeating the same failed policies that put this nation on the brink of economic collapse, and ignoring the fact that the last eight years (where they got nearly every one of the economic and national security policies passed under President Bush), have made America economically weaker and less safe. That, my friends, to use McCain parlance, is not a recipe for political success with the American people.

The fact is that America has changed. Ideologically, the nation has moved to the left. Demographically, we are more diverse. Technologically, we are more interconnected, active and informed than ever before. And, politically, we are a nation in crisis that is demanding that our elected leaders address the litany of problems that have gone on unsolved for decades. And, I know this is all true, because President Obama got elected for these very reasons.

And so the time has come for the Republican Party, if it wants to survive as a political party, to undergo an ideological vasectomy and cut off (once and for all) these far-right voices. It will painful (unless someone knows the equivalent of local anesthetic for a political party), but it will save their party in the long run.

Of course, I don’t expect the Republican Party to do any of this. In fact, I know that the leaders of the Republican Party will do the exact opposite. And, in so doing, I foresee three scenarios for the Republican Party in the coming years.

1. The party changes and starts to become more moderate, seeks bipartisan solutions and becomes a party of new ideas (ZERO chance of this happening);

2. or, within the next four years, the Republican Party splinters into two factions, one far-right and the other one center-right (5 percent chance of this happening);

3. or the leaders of the Republican Party, top to bottom, will wake up every morning, turn on the radio, listen to make sure that they didn’t cross Rush, and then these Limbaugh Republican clones will hit the airwaves and spread the word and advice of Rush Limbaugh (95 percent chance of this happening).

I don’t know what Republicans are thinking, because if the choice is between listening to Rush or a vasectomy, I have a feeling that the “ideological vasectomy” would be a lot less painful.