The inevitable GOP factional warfare

THE INEVITABLE GOP FACTIONAL WARFARE…. Jonathan Martin reports that a group of far-right heavy-hitters, including Grover Norquist and Tony Perkins, will meet tomorrow at Brent Bozell’s weekend home to plot strategy. It’s a safe bet that encouraging the Republican Party to moderate its image and embrace a more mainstream agenda will not be on the to-do list.

What bears watching, though, is how the party responds to the demands. In reality, Republicans ended up in this mess by following the dictates of the right-wing base. But to hear the party’s activists tell it, Republicans ended up in this mess by not following the dictates of the right-wing base enough.

Some party leaders seem to be getting antsy.

National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Ensign (Nev.) argued that Senate Republicans need to “re-establish what the Republican Party is all about … [and] get back to this big tent Republican Party” that is united on fiscal conservatism. Although Ensign was not ready to call for a break from socially conservative ideologies, he said issues such as abortion or gay rights should not be at the core of the party.

“I think we lost our way on our fundamentals” in recent years, Ensign said, adding that “those are the issue that we can disagree on as a party.”

It’s the kind of quote that will make far-right activists apoplectic.

Chances are, the next big fight will be over the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee. Rumor has it that South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson not only wants the job, but is considered a leading contender.

Dawson, of course, recently insisted that “moderating our party is what caused us to lose power” in 2006, and he intends to resist any attempts to make the party more mainstream.

Kevin recently predicted that the Republican Party is “going to be riven by factional warfare for years, with moderates unable to get a purchase on the party apparatus because of the McCain albatross hanging around their necks.”

It’s poised to begin.