Tightknit Republicans? Dream On

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It is a new day in Washington when the usually unified and tightknit Republicans are fighting one another.

Newt Gingrich, the self-styled intellectual of the right, is a recent case study. In an interview with the New Yorker, the former speaker of the House unloads on President Bush and his "brain," Karl Rove.

Gingrich says that pair is endangering the future of the GOP with stupid political moves. Gingrich, the architect of the Contract With America in 1994, also has harsh words for former GOP leader Tom DeLay for being a ring-wing zealot with no interest in the political center.

DeLay fired back with a stinging rebuke of Gingrich for conducting marital infidelities while he was attacking President Clinton for his dalliances with Monica Lewinsky.

Of course, DeLay has admitted his straying from home until he found the Lord. He says he is at peace with himself now.

Then there is Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who used the "F" word while debating Texas Republican Sen. Jon Cornyn on the immigration bill. McCain had run out of patience with senators like the Texan, who hasn't had a progressive thought in the Senate.

We're just getting started here.

Republicans in the House, mostly moderates, are getting very skittish about the open-ended war in Iraq. They are worried the 2008 election will end their careers while a stubborn president won't be on the ballot.

The crowded presidential field on the GOP side shows building tension with McCain, Mitt Romney, and Rudy Giuliani finding ways to snipe at each other. Conservative candidates, meanwhile, are ripping them for not being conservative enough.

Pity the Republican leaders in Congress. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell may know Senate rules to a T, but he will find it difficult in the coming months to keep his members in line. Rep. John Boehner, the House leader who looks like he plays golf under a sun lamp, has come up with some ridiculous quotes while trying to be a Bush loyalist.

The joke used to be that Democrats liked to form a firing squad in a circle. The Republicans seem to be circling right now.