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The Republican Party fights ... with itself

Intra-party squabbling among conservatives – especially with Tea Partiers thrown into the mix – is not good news for the GOP. They're beginning to act like Democrats.

By Staff Writer / December 12, 2009

Tamara Schirrmacher dresses up as The Statue of Liberty as she holds chains that she says represents the national debt during a Tax Day Tea Party in Pleasanton, Calif., Wednesday, April 15, 2009. In mock congressional elections, generic Tea Party candidate do better than Republicans.

AP Photo/Paul Sakuma/File

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On Capitol Hill these days, the Republican Party seems to be solidly (if stolidly) united.

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Responses to Democratic or Obama administration proposals range from “No,” to “no way,” “uh-uh,” and “you’ve got to be kidding us.” Unless it’s about sending thousands more American troops to war.

But outside the Washington beltway, things are not so copacetic for the GOP – particularly among the conservative base.

A Rasmussen Poll this past week shows Republicans leading Democrats in a generic congressional ballot (43-39 percent). But throw in a “Tea Party” candidate, and things take a definite turn away from the party of Lincoln. In a generic three-way congressional race, the results are: 36 percent for the Democrat, 23 percent for the Tea Partier, and just 18 percent for the Republican (with 22 percent undecided).

Writing at Politico.com, Andy Barr notes that Tea Party groups are springing up like mushrooms around the country.

Even though there’s no national organization and some groups are competing for support, Barr writes, “The tea party brand is strong enough that a number of conservative candidates, including Republican California Senate hopeful Chuck DeVore, have tried to adopt the movement’s message.”

Some Republican National Committee conservatives have been pushing for a ten-point purity test that candidates must meet in order to represent the party at the polls.

“We’re becoming a church that would rather chase away heretics than welcome converts and that’s no way to become a majority party,” former Rep. Tom Davis, a Virginia Republican who served as National Republican Congressional Committee chairman, told Politico. “This makes no sense for those of us who are interested in winning elections.”

Meanwhile, the voice of political conservatism – that would be broadcaster Rush Limbaugh, not RNC chair Michael Steele – has been nagging Senator Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Ky. for not fighting hard enough to block Democrats’ healthcare reform proposals.

“The Senate Republican leadership strategy here was flawed because it allowed the Democrats to take the offensive, buy time to work out a deal,” Limbaugh said the other day. “I know a disaster when I see it. And I know that it’s gotta be stopped, and whatever parliamentary steps are available to people … should have been taken.”

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