After Mitt Romney's 2012 election shellacking, a predictable blame-storm has broken out between Republican pragmatists who want to win elections and the zealots who love to argue.
You can see that big divide most recently in such events as the Tea Party Express' staging its own rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union Address, even though Republicans already had booked a tea party favorite, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, to deliver the party's official response.
Tea Party Express chose Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who in the past has described President Obama with words like "un-American," to deliver their response -- as if Rubio just isn't outraged enough.
Elsewhere you can see the divide in the new Conservative Victory Project, funded by the GOP's biggest donors, according to The New York Times, to recruit candidates who won't frighten swing voters to death,
Created by American Crossroads, which consultant Karl Rove and others built into the biggest GOP super PAC of the past election cycle, the new group is "the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races," the Times' Jeff Zeleny reports.
In other words, they want to avoid earnest but hopelessly doomed Senate nominees like Christine O'Donnell, who memorably lost her 2010 campaign in Delaware despite running sincere TV ads to assure everyone that she was not a witch.
Or Todd Akin, whose contention that "legitimate rape" rarely causes pregnancy helped sink his 2012 Missouri race.
Or Sharron Angle who lost the 2010 Senate race in Nevada after she invoked, among other nuggets, "Second Amendment remedies" as a check on government decisions that she didn't like.
Although those are the type of GOP opponents who bring Democrats delight, Rove's move has kicked up a backlash against President George W. Bush's former political advisor among grassroots tea partiers with a fury that his fellow conservatives usually reserve for President Obama.
He's an "establishment" guy who raised hundreds of millions of dollars from deep-pocket donors and "had jack to show for it," fumed Red State blogger and newly hired Fox News commentator Erick Erickson.
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