Feb. 13, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Can Steele End the Debate Over Who Is a Republican?

The more controversial Obama’s administration becomes, the more Republicans of various ideological stripes will find things to agree on. That’s certainly not lost on the president’s political advisers, who understand that one of the benefits of Obama sounding conciliatory and moderate is that it helps keep the Republican rift very much apparent.

While there is no doubt that Republicans are divided and the RNC chairman cannot wave a magic wand — or give a speech to state party chairmen — to heal the divide, the GOP has one thing going for it now: The next national election is still a year and a half off.

Interestingly, while talk shows rant about the meaning of “Republican,” candidates from both wings of the party are considering their options for 2010.

They know that the hand-wringing will pass and that sooner or later — they certainly hope by the middle of next year — both moderate and conservative Republicans will be so concerned about the direction of the nation that they put aside their differences and direct their aim at Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) or possibly even the president.

Indeed, for GOP gubernatorial candidates in Virginia and New Jersey, who will face general election voters in just five months, theoretical discussions about the future of the Republican Party are a giant waste of time. Those nominees will need the votes of conservatives, moderates, independents and even some Obama voters if they are going to win their races.

Times are indeed tough for the GOP, and the party may suffer more defeats before it starts to string together some victories. But most of the yapping about the ideological rift within the Republican Party simply isn’t worth listening to any longer. Unfortunately for Michael Steele, there isn’t much he can do about it.

Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.

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