Civil War on the Right

The Tea Party astroturf group FreedomWorks has pulled out all the stops to defeat Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch in that state's Thursday caucuses. Last night, on Sean Hannity's show, Dick Morris said he was supporting the insurgent efforts to replace Hatch as the GOP nominee because the Senator is a "RINO" or Republican In Name Only.

I have to say that, speaking as a Democrat, I have never harbored the suspicion that Sen. Hatch is "one of us." He is very conservative but he is one of those senators - there used to be 100 of them - who do not let partisanship get in the way of legislative work, still less in the way of human friendship. I am sure that many on the far right were revolted by the prominent role Hatch played at the funeral rites for Sen. Ted Kennedy.

Utah, of course, is not Delaware, so if the GOP there nominates a yet still more conservative candidate, he or she will likely still win the seat. A similar campaign is being launched against Sen. Richard Lugar in Indiana, which is closer to a swing state. But, really, isn't it time for the grown-ups in the GOP to stand by Lugar and Hatch and say to the Tea Party zealots that enough is enough? Or will the GOP follow the Tea Partyers over the cliff?

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