Republicans in disarray

The latest in an ongoing series of dispatches from the Republican collapse.

By Thomas Schaller
December 17, 2008 10:21PM (UTC)
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Even a scandal involving the governor of the president-elect's home state has the Republicans befuddled and unsure of how to comport themselves and react.

From the WaPo's Chris Cilliza comes more details about the internal disarray in national Republican circles:


Newt Gingrich (Ga.), the former Speaker of the House and a potential candidate for president in 2012, wrote a letter to RNC Chair Mike Duncan on Tuesday condemning the Web video circulated by national Republicans over the weekend that sought to link Obama to Blagojevich.

Calling the video a "destructive distraction," Gingrich added: "This ad is a terrible signal to be sending about both the goals of the Republican Party in the midst of the nation's troubled economic times and about whether we have actually learned anything from the defeats of 2006 and 2008."

His chorus of dissent was joined later in the day by Patrick Ruffini, a prominent online voice for Republicans. (Ruffini was the e-campaign director for the RNC during the 2006 election cycle and did the same for former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign.)

As I mentioned yesterday, Barack Obama's strong poll numbers make it difficult to attack him, especially since he hasn't even taken office yet. But my sense of the partisan playing field right now is that Obama's political capital and political position are merely "force multipliers" in a partisan battle in which most of the Republican artillery is being pointed self-destructively inward.

After years of "Democrats in disarray" stories it is clear that a spate of books and commentaries about "Republicans in disarray" are on their way.

Thomas Schaller

Thomas F. Schaller is professor of political science at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the author of "Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without the South." Follow him @schaller67.

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