Monday, August 27, 2012

New York Times Says GOP Riven by Factions, Cites Mostly Establishment Types Who Spite the Tea Party

I don't recall George Pataki as a big tea party champion, and former veep Dan Quayle is interviewed. Dan Quayle? See, "A Party of Factions Gathers, Seeking Consensus":
It is common for parties out of power to suffer an extended identity crisis. The Democrats struggled for 12 years until Bill Clinton emerged to unite left and center in an uneasy alliance to capture the White House. It has been happening to Republicans for at least four years as different conservative factions have competed for dominance and as outside forces, from the grass-roots Tea Party activists to “super PACs” and other groups financed by wealthy conservatives, have to some degree undercut the party establishment.

But in some ways, the Republican Party today appears more factionalized — ideologically, politically and culturally — than Republican leaders said they could remember in recent history.

There are evangelicals, Tea Party adherents, supply-siders who would accept no tax increases and a dwindling band of deficit hawks who might. There are economic libertarians who share little of the passion that social conservatives hold on issues like abortion and same-sex marriage. There are neoconservatives who want a hard line against Iran and the Palestinians, and realists who are open to diplomatic deal-cutting.

More than anything, the party is racked by the challenge to the establishment from Tea Party outsiders, who are demanding a purge of incumbents who play by a set of rules that many of these Republicans reject.

“The party itself is in a transition time,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, the No. 3 Republican in the House. Highlighting a shift in the House to a younger and less traditional generation of conservative leaders, he said, “My theory is the Senate is like a country club and the House is much like having a breakfast at a truck stop.”

Representative Jeff Flake, an Arizona Republican running for the Senate, said that if Republicans won in November, the magnitude of the country’s fiscal problems — and the general agreement among Republicans about addressing them by reducing spending — would overcome any jockeying among factions.

“I think the fiscal issues we face are so big and so overwhelming that there’s little reason to focus on the other things,” Mr. Flake said. “That makes it by definition easier to manage, because those issues are so big and require so much work.”

It may not be easy. When Republican leaders sought to push the party’s nominee, Representative Todd Akin, out of the Senate race in Missouri, for saying women who are victims of “legitimate rape” rarely get pregnant, Mike Huckabee, the conservative talk-show host and 2008 presidential candidate, came to his defense.

“In a party that supposedly stands for life, it was tragic to see the carefully orchestrated and systematic attack on a fellow Republican,” Mr. Huckabee wrote in an e-mail to supporters.
This article's the lead story at the paper's front page, so no doubt the editors think "factionalism" is the defining element of the party. But remember, this is the paper marked by a "progressive worldview," as Arthur Brisbane put it, so limited government principles --- and living within one's means --- are ridiculed as "extremist" (or "racist," if you're criticizing the president).

More at that top link, FWIW.