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Is the GOP really divided?

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The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza says the GOP primary shows a Republican party divided.  Really?“

The GOP is united on replacing President Obama and divided on the best way to do it,” said Matt McDonald, a Republican strategist who is unaffiliated in the 2012 race. “On the one hand, you have people who see motivating the base as the path to victory, and on the other hand, you have people who see reaching out to independents as the path to victory.”

Others express that sentiment slightly differently — “Our party is trying to choose between its head and its heart,” said Eric Ueland, a longtime Senate strategist — but what’s clear is that in a political world in which Republican voters want “both/and,” they are faced with “either/or.”
All the GOP candidates are claiming to be conservatives (it's not clear what Ron Paul is, but I don't consider him a serious candidate). Gingrich and Santorum are conservative, and while it's not even clear if Romney is even a Republican (or an adherent of any political philosophy at all), the policies he's espousing for this particular campaign are in fact conservative.

The problem is that GOP voters are divided between voting for real conservatives who don't have a chance in hell of beating President Obama in November, or a faux conservative who has a better chance of beating Obama.  Note what's missing: Liberal Republicans, moderate Republicans, and middle of the road Republicans.

No one can put up a serious run for the GOP nomination who doesn't align themselves with the far right of the party. On the Democratic side, all of our serious candidates have tended to be in the middle of the Democratic party, espousing some conservative views (Hillary was for the Iraq war) and some liberal (Obama was for a health care public option during the campaign but decided to move to the middle/conservative end of the Democratic party, and even further to the right, to govern).

Republicans don't move to the middle when they run for the primary and they don't move to the middle when they govern. There is diversity in the Democratic primary and Democratic governance - and if anything, Democrats are afraid to be seen as liberal, while there is no diversity at all among serious GOP presidential candidates and GOP governance.  You can't be a moderate (aka liberal) and get the GOP nomination, you can be a moderate (aka conservative) and get the Democratic.  Our party leans to the middle of the Democratic-Republican continuum, there's leans farther and farther to the far right.

What's telling about what Cillizza wrote is that the GOP divide isn't between moderate and conservative Republicans, it's between conservatives who want a real conservative and conservatives who want someone who can win, even if he's a phony. The moderates simply don't exist anymore in the GOP.

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