Well, if I were Hugo Chavez, I'd be scared shitless right now.
I've never managed to feel anything more than ambivalent about Rehnquist. Every time I disagreed strongly with him, he'd follow that up with a ruling that I found myself agreeing with. I just wished the agreements came on the bigger rulings.
I certainly hope his last few months weren't too painful. I've never had thryroid cancer put into perspective in the same way that something as horrifyingly painful as, say, stomach cancer has been, through various explanations, old family friends, etc. But I can't imagine that it's that much less terrible. Poor guy.
This is kind of shocking. Well, not really shocking since it has seemed inevitable for months, but it's just surprising because we have not had days of ominous news coverage about how this was imminent. I suppose this is one of those deaths where you're partially happy/relieved just to see the person put out of their suffering, even if he did seem like a tough old fighter. Rehnquist was one of the better justices on the court (IMO, of course) so he'll be doubly missed.
You answered your own question and there are many more items they can work on. Although the national leadership may be a biot extreme, you'll find local chapters aren't nearly so extreme. Overall, they are moderate.