Andrew Sullivan writes that one of the few motivators left for the GOP base is loathing of the left wing. This seems to spring quite a bit from the mean-spirited language used by right wing pundits and mouthpieces.
To jazz up a Hannity or Limbaugh or O'Reilly program, they use strong language. I think tends to induce a strong reaction in the listeners. Unfortunately, too many people connect emotionally with this type of speech, and don't bring thought or rationality to bear.
I was listening to Air America driving home after attending the Gooding Drinking Liberally meeting, and the radio host was using very strong language. He was calling the President "chucklenuts", and said of the administration "I hate those bastards." Admittedly, I enjoyed listening to this; it was funny, and it seemed to tap some pugilistic vein in my political being, though it did get old fairly quickly.
The Bush machine has it figured out. The candidate stays above the fray and leaves the bad-mouthing to third parties. I hope the Dems can accomplish some of this as well.