Factional struggle in the Florida GOP and beyond

The Washington Independent reports that "[t]he coming Florida primary is shaping up to be the most brutal of the ideological primaries." The reason, according to the Independent:

Florida's Republican Senate primary has quickly become a contest between the party's base and its national leadership. Since the start of the Obama administration, the national party has attempted to capture the energy of the base by endorsing anti-spending Tea Parties, opposing the Democratic agenda, and blaming the losses of 2006 and 2008 on a move away from fiscal conservatism. At the same time, it has courted more moderate candidates like Florida's Crist, California's former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, and former Gov. Tom Ridge (R-Pa.). Until he became a Democrat this month, the National Republican Senatorial Committee had supported Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) over conservative foot soldier Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania's Senate race. This disconnect between message and recruitment is starting to irk conservative activities and setting up heated primaries that the party would have preferred to avoid.

Briefly put, the Party's base has concluded that their national leaders count on their votes and support but do not represent their views. This conflict might generate the emergence of a GOP version of the Democratic Party's Leadership Council. It may also split the Republican Party.

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