Republicans just can't get along

Why keep calling it the Republican reboot when its actually looking more like an implosion?

As the party continues its wound-licking after the 2012 election, there is more disagreement about what went wrong, and more public feuding, with each passing week.

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While there have been numerous outbursts from conservatives against the establishment along the way, the so-called "moderate" Republicans (who have been slapped with the label only since true moderates are almost all gone from the party) and even some establishment figures are suddenly taking on conservatives while those working to help the party govern are still coming up against the word "no."

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a rising GOP star sitting atop of the list of potential 2016 presidential nominees, has been called out by Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) for making fundraising trips to Manhattan after supporting only part of the aid package Congress approved following Hurricane Sandy. 

In a letter he released to supporters Thursday, King wrote: "Being from New York we're not supposed to be suckers. It's bad enough that potential Republican presidential candidates voted against Hurricane Sandy aid, that's inexcusable enough. But to have the balls to come in and say, 'We screwed you now make us president?' Florida Senator Marco Rubio and these other Republican candidates are coming to New York to raise money. I don't think any senator or congressman who voted against aid for Sandy should get one nickel from New York."

King is also furious about the decision by the Conservative Political Action Conference's decision not to include New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie at its annual convention, calling it "very dangerous," and "a narrow-minded bigotry." 

King warned Republicans should stay away from CPAC. Every other Republican star — Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Rubio, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.) and former Gov. Jeb Bush (Fla.) — will all be in attendance at the gathering. 

But so will 2012 presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former Sen. Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former Gov. Sarah Palin (Alaska), hardly representative of the future of the conservative movement.

The editors at National Review didn't like it either. It will be interesting to see if any boycotting actually occurs. Christie, as you can imagine, sounds absolutely tickled that he was left out.

We also learned this week we learned Romney donated the full amount of Christie for his gubernatorial campaign this year, and former Sen. Scott Brown (Mass.) is hosting a fundraiser for him. What are those two Massachusetts moderates thinking? That Christie has what it takes to win nationwide in 2016.

Even in policy matters, it was fascinating to see a divergence this week: True conservatives like Sens. Pat Toomey (Pa.) and James Inhofe (Okla.) pushed for Congress to give transfer authority to the administration so funds could be moved from exempt accounts to targeted accounts in order to cushion the blow of the sequester. Meanwhile, "mavericks" Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) fought against them, arguing Republicans should not support giving up the body's constitutional power of the purse.

Will Republicans even try to replace the sequester? Will they shut the government down? They have no idea. Will they continue squabbling over the usefulness of the most popular governor in the country who has done everything the conservative movement wanted on balancing budgets, cutting taxes and battling public sector unions? Definitely. Christie was too nice to President Obama and shamed congressional Republicans over Sandy aid, after all. 

Will the division and infighting continue? Count on it.


CAN REPUBLICANS AND OBAMA AGREE ON A BUDGET THIS MONTH? AskAB returns Tuesday, March 5. Please join my weekly video Q&A by sending your questions and comments to askab@thehill.com.