What's Really Behind Conservative Infighting?

News & Politics

Sarah Palin, Dick Armey, and Rush Limbaugh are pushing for a purge of moderates from the Republican Party. To be sure, this is about book sales, radio ratings, and fundraising, but it is also about something else. The way to keep the GOP as the Party of No is to threaten every member of their caucuses in Washington with an energetic primary if they work with the Democrats or the Obama administration. It's not a serious way of regaining majorities in Congress. In fact, it's quite detrimental to that effort. But the Republicans don't really care about Congress. They care about the White House. They don't want Obama to succeed. They want him to fight and scrap for every vote, and cause internal strife within the Democratic caucus.

The more Obama has to trim his sails to pass legislation, the more ornery his base becomes at signs of weakness, compromise, and capitulation. If everything he accomplishes is done with no bipartisan support, it keeps the Republican base energized.

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