Is there a better voice for moderation, compromise and legislative solutions than Gov. Mike Beebe? His legislative career contains few policy monuments, but a warehouse full of settlements of pitched legislative battles.

So he’s a good spokesman against the current impasse created in Congress by Republicans like 2nd District U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin intent on holding the U.S. hostage to debilitating budget cuts and absolute protection of the wealthy from even a small increase in the lowest tax burden in half a century. Good for Beebe.

“They are apparently so entrenched that they’re ready to allow this country to default, with all of the economic consequences that that brings with it,” Beebe told reporters. “They’re up to the licklog, and they’d better sit down and figure out how they solve this problem.”

Beebe said both sides in the debate deserve criticism, but “it sounds to me like it’s the Republican majority in the House that has just drawn a line in the sand.”

It is, to me, the great theme for 2012. The Republicans driving congressional inaction on this and other fronts are simply too radical, and not just on the budget or taxes. The radicalism extends to every other pet issue. Before long, you can expect them to shut down legislation for riders on all the rest — gay discrimination, abortion, voter suppression, you name it.

The great question is whether voters will respond to a theme that Republicans are too extreme, even though poll after poll shows the radical House Republican is not in the mainstream on any of the great issues, from taxes to spending to social issues. I have to laugh — bitterly — every time I remember the time during campaign 2010 when Tim Griffin told me following an appearance at the UALR Law School that I’d be surprised by a voting record not nearly as conservative as I feared as if he were elected to succeed U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder. I’m still waiting for Griffin to illustrate a single moderately progressive vote that departs from Rovian orthodoxy. He’s too radical for the 2nd District, demonstrably. But that doesn’t matter if no strong candidate emerges to challenge him.