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Who Fights A GOP Civil War?

At around the 1:40 mark in the video above, David Frum says there bloody well ought to be a GOP civil war if Romney loses this thing. He adds that the people in the party who urged Romney to play to the base, including taking up the 47 percent talking point (which, as Frum says, is said “every day at AEI” and on conservative talk radio), will say it wasn’t their fault that Romney lost.

I agree with David, of course, that there ought to be some very serious reckoning within the party if the Republicans lose the presidency this year. But I thought that in 2008, in the wake of the Bush presidency and the McCain defeat. Nothing happened. Of course, this time the economy is still in the toilet, and Obama is the incumbent. How does a Republican lose in this environment? If the GOP standard bearer does lose, there should be Robespierre-like recriminations.

Here’s the thing, though: if there were a GOP civil war, who would the opposing sides be? The Democratic Leadership Council came into being after the Mondale defeat in 1984, offering new ideas and cultivating new talent for the intellectually moribund Democrats. By the time the Democrats went down to a third straight presidential defeat in 1988, the demoralized party turned to the DLC types … which gave them Bill Clinton.

Where is the Republican version of the DLC? Will it be formed after Romney’s loss (assuming Romney loses)? What will it stand for? What will it stand against? The Republicans have done such an effective job of purifying the party and maintaining party discipline that it’s hard to find sources of renewal within the party structure or ancillary organizations.

Am I missing something? Help me here.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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