Old Guard Will Win Battle for GOP

Defeat likely to send party further to the right, ensuring future losses
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 11, 2008 9:30 AM CST
Republicans watch Sen. John McCain's concession speech while attending the Ohio Republican Party election night party at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008.   (AP Photo/David Smith)
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(Newser) – A battle between reformers and traditionalists for the soul of the GOP lies in the party's immediate future, David Brooks writes in the New York Times—and the reformers don't stand a chance. The conservative old guard, with Rush Limbaugh as its loudest mouthpiece and Sarah Palin as its heroine, has a lock on Republican institutions that it will take more losses to loosen, Brooks writes.

Traditionalists dominate what's left of the Congressional GOP, Brooks notes, and much of the old guard seems pleased that the election got rid of the moderates. Reformers will only begin to coalesce into a new conservative power structure once the GOP has veered so hard to the right that it loses its last grasp on donors, organizers, and the electorate.