Civil War on the Right

By E. J. Dionne Jr.

The Washington Post

Friday, October 24, 2008; Page A19

Conservatives are at each other’s throats, and here’s what’s revealing about how divided they are: The critics of John McCain and the critics of Sarah Palin represent entirely different camps.

One set of critics, skeptical social conservatives, are precisely the people McCain was trying to mollify by picking Palin as his running mate. This includes the faithful of the religious right who remember McCain as their enemy in 2000 and parts of the gun crowd who always saw McCain as soft on their issues.

That McCain felt a need to make such an outlandishly risky choice speaks to how insecure his hold was on the core Republican vote. A candidate is supposed to rally the base during the primaries and reach out to the middle at election time. McCain got it backward, and it’s hurting him.

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