Byron York's analysis of the fissures in the party says an awful lot about why they're in trouble.
The first thing that stands out is not who they included, but who they left out...the actual positional Republican leaders Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner. But its been pretty obvious lately that no one is paying much attention to those two.
So what we're left with is men (notice: no women) who are either preparing to run for president or represent factions that will be competing for the presidency in 2016.
Byron York's point in his article is that the Republican Party is too factionalized right now to even wage a civil war. Its interesting to me that a winger like York is the one who provides the most cogent analysis of what is going on in the party right now. His article is worth a read.
But regardless of how much chaos those factions are producing right now, I can find some categories into which to place two camps represented by those four men. The two on the left (ha-ha), Paul and Cruz belong to the lunatic caucus right now. Whether tea party or libertarian, their goal is the destruction of good government.
But its the two on the right that I find most fascinating. To me they represent the "know better, but too afraid to take them on" caucus. Both Rubio and Bush have been all over the map trying to appease the lunatics and yet sustain some notion of sanity. It's a tough tightrope to walk - one both McCain and Romney failed to maneuver successfully in their presidential bids.
Its too early to predict how all this will play out in the 2016 election. And the truth is that I don't really have a dog in that race. But its worth noting that a couple of years ago the political analysis was all about a Republican Party unified in obstruction. President Obama's strategy was to hold on to reasonableness and sanity (ie, "the only adult in the room") - even as many progressives encouraged him to wage partisan warfare. Its important to ask ourselves whether we'd be seeing this kind of chaos from Republicans if the President had taken their advice. I think not. Conciliatory rhetoric as a ruthless strategy worked to get us to this point. And now its time to develop a common sense caucus with the various factions it produced. But recognizing that requires that we notice the long game.