Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A guide to the Republican civil war

By Michael J.W. Stickings

In a post yesterday on the ongoing Republican civil war, which is well worth reading, Mario Piperni included this helpful chart from Daily Kos's Markos Moulitsas of "all the various conservative factions" in the GOP:

But there's one thing missing: power.

Yes, there's something of a civil war going on in that wretched party, but Republicans have a long history of putting aside their bitter differences for the sake of electoral success, including last year when they all got in lockstep behind Romney after a rather brutal primary campaign that saw the party search desperately for an anybody-but-Romney candidate.

Don't discount this. Power, or rather the quest for power over all else, is what holds the party together in a way that just isn't the case with the Democrats. It's that old dynamic at work: Those on the right want to be in power, while those on the left want to be right. They put aside their differences and unite for an overriding common purpose, while we bicker amongst ourselves. We strive for truth, they strive for power, and all the things power brings. (We're getting better at the whole questing for power thing, but Republicans are ahead of us by a fairly wide margin.)

I certainly hope the current divisions in the Republican Party, and within conservatism generally, do damage to it at the polls. Maybe immigration and marriage equality and warmongering really are divides that can't be overcome. Certainly the extremism, absolutism, and general craziness on the right are taking their toll.

But something tells me they pull it together. The civil war is real, and it's entertaining, but it likely won't ever amount to much more than a sideshow.

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