Dan Balz and Jonathan Weisman of the Washington Post discuss the lack of unity and message discipline from the GOP as they struggle to mold a midterm election strategy.

Republicans insist they remain united around core principles of smaller government, lower taxes and a strong national defense, but can no longer agree on how to implement that philosophy and are squabbling over their delivery on those commitments.

Their problems can really be boiled down to the following:

The Bush administration has abandoned the Republicans core principle of small government. Bush has abandoned it on domestic spending programs and on domestic spying programs. But he has not abandoned the core principle of lower taxes. This puts the Republicans in violation of another unstated principle: balanced budgets. The 1994 Republican Revolution was heavily invested with the goal of balancing the budget. They have had to jettison that goal. And, boy howdy, have they ever jettisoned it…

As for providing a strong national defense, they have proven capable of spending untold gobs of money on defense related contracts and undeclared wars, but they haven’t made us any more secure, and the public knows it.

The Republicans have created a toxic brew. One part abandoned principles, three parts incompetence, two parts corruption, and six parts crimes…

It doesn’t leave a lot of room to run on a positive record. But, let’s be real…they have no intention of running on a positive message.

In the absence of a positive national message, Republicans also hope to use long-standing “wedge issues” to galvanize their own base and try to put Democrats on record with unpopular votes. Congressional leaders, for instance, plan to push a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Vote GOP in 2006: because Jesus loves incompetent, lying, morons.

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