Remember that AP story from Iowa that I tagged last week as decidedly suspect? It involved tough talk from “GOP Establishment” figures in the state (roughly those close to fifth-term Gov. Terry Branstad) about how they were going to take back their party from the ideologues.

Well, The Iowa Republican‘s Kevin Hall thought the “story” smelled a bit, too, and he is bold to assert it was a “plant” from the much-despised Paulite clique (which Hall likes to call Big Liberty) that controls the Iowa GOP state party apparatus:

Spiker and his gang, in a desperate bid to hang onto power next year, want to frame the inner-party squabbles as conservatives vs. Branstad Republicans. So they conned an AP writer to print that, despite zero evidence or quotes to back up the claim …

Big Liberty is claiming that the Paulistinian wing of the party is actually part of the conservative branch, and that Iowa’s Tea Party types and social conservatives are aligned with them. NEWSFLASH: They aren’t.

Other than a few rubes and sycophants, Iowa’s social conservatives and Tea Party types are fed up with Big Liberty’s failed leadership of the Republican Party of Iowa.

Mercy me. The Iowa GOP, which exercises grossly disproportionate power in the Republican presidential nominating process, is a real rat’s nest of back-stabbing rivalries. And as always, these folk won’t hesitate for a moment to exploit potential 2016 candidates as weapons in their domestic squabbles.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.