- the Romney-supporting moderate/realists (or closet nuts);
- the Santorum-supporting religious right;
- the Paul-supporting libertarian right (i.e., financially libertarians, socially conservative); and
- the Gingrich-supporting haters-of-liberals. (You can tell them because they're the ones who say that you should do something because it annoys a liberal. Heck, Sarah Palin said that almost exactly: vote for Gingrich to annoy a liberal.)
But more importantly this conglomerate mess bothers me because you end up arguing with a moderate who disavows some extreme view--but then both the moderate and the extremist go into a booth and vote the same way.
(Some political bloggers I follow argue that moderate Republicans tend to vote the same as the more extreme Republicans--that their moderation is more an electoral strategy than a policy conviction. Judging by the last few years, it's hard to argue with that; though I think it's probable that more extreme politicians start more extreme policy and the moderates in the Republican Party just go along. For what it's worth, Democratic moderates seem more interested in fighting other Democrats, cf. Manchin in WV.)
So for a few years now, some hopeful political bloggers have argued that moderate Republicans would some day take back their party.
But moderate Republicans will never be in charge as long as they're coddled by a mealy-mouthed, "both sides do it"horse-race press.
And one big example of that is The Economist, which is a realpolitick, conservative magazine with a nasty inability to tell the truth. That is, The Economist would be happiest with a globalized, laissez-faire, tax-the-poor world (more or less), but they're not global-warming-denying, dinosaurs-missed-the-ark crazies.
And yet whenever The Economist podcast discusses American politics, it always comes out with mealy-mouthed narratives about how partisan gridlock is paralyzing the nation--without ever noting how the Republican Party is blocking nominations and legislation at an unprecedented rate.