As the Republican party tries to find a comprehensive electoral strategy in the wake of Tuesday's elections
, the infighting among party leaders and commentators continues unabated
. Far from mere cable news spin, the Republican civil war took its first casualty
in New York's 23rd Congressional district. The national political fight
that erupted over official Republican candidate Dede Scozzafava and
third-party Conservative Doug Hoffman ended with neither winning and
Bill Owens as the first Democrat to hold NY23 in over a century. Will
the Republican Party emerge from this week's defeat and the larger
civil war stronger and more unified, or will it tear the party apart?
- GOP Must Be Dismantled Republican strategist Jon Henke declares war
on the GOP establishment. "There are two broken, corrupt, arrogant
political parties we need
to defeat. We beat the Republican establishment in 2009. We'll beat
the Democratic Party in 2010," he writes. "The story of NY-23 is 'the
Right starts dismantling the Republican establishment.' This is about
how the Republican Party is defined and who defines it. [...] The
minority is where Parties and movements go to be reborn. There,
they have to figure out who they are, and what their mission is. You
can't storm the castle until you're all facing the same direction and
focused on the same goals." He concludes, "They're history. They just
don't know it yet."
- Power Vacuum Worsens Infighting The New York Times's Adam Nagourney says
the lack of a clear party leader makes infighting likely to worsen.
"The debate has been fueled by a somewhat inchoate populist anger
that has taken hold among grass-roots conservatives, encouraged in part
by political leaders like Sarah Palin, the party’s vice-presidential
nominee last year, and commentators like Glenn Beck of Fox News," he
writes. "The situation is all the more complicated
because, after the party’s defeats in 2008, it has no dominant leaders
or cohesive establishment to bridge the divides and help articulate a
positive agenda. In that vacuum, the conservative activists and party
leaders were both jockeying for advantage on Wednesday."
- Leaders Must Mollify Grassroots The Washington Post's Philip Rucker and Perry Bacon write
that GOP leaders fear the conservative wing. "The party's fortunes in
next year's midterm elections may rest in its
ability to harness a populist wave of voter discontent with Washington
and government spending. But the surprising Democratic victory in the
New York congressional
election -- despite the intervention of conservative activists -- for a
seat the GOP held for more than a century was sobering evidence that
rallying behind conservative candidates may not be the answer," they
write, noting that party leaders such as NRSC chair John Cornyn.
"Despite the loss in New York, conservative activists cast the
experience as a victory for the movement because it signaled the
strength they could bring to Republican primaries next year."
- Factions Should Unite Conservative blogger Allahpundit
warns that parimary infighting make elections awfully tough to win.
"I’m not sure how the fences end up being mended in time for a unified
party-line vote in the general election. It’s hard to go from 'this
guy’s a scumbag RINO who’s no better than the Democrats who are
destroying the country' to 'this guy represents most of my interests'
in a few months," he writes. "The nastier things get, the more likely
hardcore supporters in the
primary loser’s camp end up staying home for the general, and the more
likely a Democratic Congress becomes." He adds: "I’m happy to help build a bridge between centrists and conservatives, but a bridge has to end somewhere. Where does this one end?"
- Grassroots and Establishment Are Same Thing Liberal blogger Digby suspects
that the so-called grassroots movement is just the GOP establishment in
different clothing. She focuses on FreedomWorks, the conservative group
behind such grassroots movements as the "Tea Party" tax protests, which
she points out has links to such GOP figures as Dick Armey and such
groups as the American Petroleum Institute. "That's your grassroots
teabag movement that allegedly has the Republican establishment running
scared. It is
the Republican establishment. They and like minded corporate interests
like News Corp are wisely infiltrating and investing in this
"grassroots" organization. They don't leave anything to chance."
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