Good to see somebody asking this question:
After two years of being a political minority in Congress, the party's lawmakers are showing signs of the disagreement that comes with the responsibility to lead.
On the floor of the Senate Tuesday, Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, a possible candidate for president, used the tax deal to take a not-so-subtle shot at one of his potential rivals.
"It?s easy to stand on the sidelines and criticize this proposal," Mr. Thune said in remarks first reported by ABC News. "And it?s perhaps even politically expedient to stand on the sidelines and criticize this proposal. But let me make one thing very clear, Mr. President, advocating against this tax proposal is to advocate for a tax increase."
Mr. Thune may have been referring to Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, who opposes the tax compromise. But he may also have been sending a message to Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and a likely presidential candidate. Mr. Romney had staked out his opposition to the tax deal in an article in USA Today on Tuesday.
Romney and Palin highlight the dilemma facing the party as it seeks a presidential candidate. Romney, a shameless flip-flopper, is supposed to represent the elite business wing of the GOP. He's the practical guy.
But what that means remains unclear. Does that mean he'll engage government on behalf of the people on issues such as health care, as he did as Massachusetts governor? Or will he work to repeal the national version of his state's plan, as he conveniently thinks is wise now?
Palin's political persona is supposed to represent the populist/working class wing of the GOP. And yet what she represents in terms of policy is just about anybody's guess. The best bet is that she will be lead by whatever the dominant force in the Republican Party is -- meaning social conservatism and whatever economic policy is most convenient: Tax cuts, big spending, etc.