Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Jackals are Turning on Each Other

Josh Marshall's "Talking Points Memo" refers us to a brief item in The Saint Petersburg Times describing vicious infighting among Florida Republicans.
Gov. Jeb Bush sent a fundraising letter the other day to raise money for Sen. Alex Villalobos' Republican primary opponent. The governor is still angry that the Miami Republican had the nerve - we'd say the courage - to vote against his effort to restore tuition vouchers that the Florida Supreme Court had ruled unconstitutional. Villalobos also refused to back an effort to alter the popular class size amendment. Now he faces a tough primary that symbolizes the GOP's intraparty struggle. Bush wrote that Villalobos "has abandoned our party's principles and lost his way."

Sen. Nancy Argenziano, R-Dunnellon, supports Villalobos. Her typically blunt reaction to Bush's letter and the resulting exchanges:

Argenziano: "The governor has a history reflecting accommodation of special interests as evidenced by the agencies' contracts, and his flexible Republicanism is at odds with both America and actual Republican principles. In his heart of hearts, the governor prefers dictatorship to democracy."

Carole Jean Jordan, Florida Republican Party chairwoman: "Personal attacks on the sitting governor of Florida questioning his character are far beyond the bounds of responsible dialogue. I sincerely hope that Senator Argenziano will reconsider her comments, especially in light of all that Governor Bush has done for the people of Florida and for the Republican Party."

Argenziano: "Carole Jean Jordan can kiss my ass."

For the last five years these people have been trying to define for the rest of us what it means to be a good American or a good patriot and what kind of public discourse can be tolerated (in fact, for many of them, such as Coulter, Bennett, O'Reilly, etc., that's nearly all they do) and for the most part that's been okay with all the rest of them. When it comes to defining what makes a good Republican, though, that's apparently going beyond the pale. It's because this kind of narrowing has been accepted and encouraged in their circle that they feel entitled to keep narrowing the circle. In doing so, though, they now find themselves slashing at each others' throats. The spectacle is mighty entertaining.
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