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Big Money And The GOP ‘Civil War’

The big money squaring off in the GOP’s hot in-house struggle. From the Koch Brothers to Karl Rove to the Tea Party, we’ll look at whose cash is fueling what.

Republican strategist Karl Rove gestures while at a luncheon at the California Republican Party convention, in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, March 2, 2013.  (AP)

Republican strategist Karl Rove gestures while at a luncheon at the California Republican Party convention, in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, March 2, 2013. (AP)

There is big money all over American politics these days.  Both major parties.  But the big money in Republican circles right now has a strange and special quality:  it is helping tear the Republican Party apart.  Republicans’ so-called “civil war,” that broke loudly into view in the federal shutdown mess, has big money and billionaire backers on both sides.  Tea Party big money ready to come down on any GOP moderate who doesn’t tow the hard-right line.  Main Street big money stepping up to defend what they call electable Republicans.  Up next On Point:  Big money showdown inside the GOP.

— Tom Ashbrook 

Guests

Jim Rutenberg, national political reporter for the New York Times. (@JimRutenberg)

Paul Blumenthal, political campaign and finance reporter for the Huffington Post. (@PaulBlu)

Reihan Salam, columnist for Reuters, lead writer for National Review’s “The Agenda” blog. (@Reihan)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: Fiscal Crisis Sounds the Charge in G.O.P.’s ‘Civil War’ —  “The budget fight that led to the first government shutdown in 17 years did not just set off a round of recriminations among Republicans over who was to blame for the politically disastrous standoff. It also heralded a very public escalation of a far more consequential battle for control of the Republican Party, a confrontation between Tea Party conservatives and establishment Republicans that will play out in the coming Congressional and presidential primaries in 2014 and 2016 but has been simmering since President George W. Bush’s administration, if not before.”

Wall Street Journal: Republicans Walked Into Obama’s Trap — “Backers of the defund strategy never offered a plausible way forward after their approach failed. Instead, they alienated colleagues who disagreed by insisting they were closet ObamaCare supporters and the defunders’ outside allies raised the threat of primary challenges. They became content to sit in judgment of plans offered by the House leadership, turning thumbs down on anything not in conformity with their now discredited tactic.”

National Journal: Inside the Messy but Moneyed Republican Plan to Neutralize the Tea Party— “It took a tea party insurrection that disabled the federal government and wrecked the Republican brand, but after months of handwringing, establishment Republicans are preparing to attack ultra-conservative ideologues across red America. From Alabama to Alaska, the center-right, business-oriented wing of the Republican Party is gearing up for a series of skirmishes that it hopes can prevent the 2014 mid-term election from turning into another missed opportunity. But this will not be a coordinated operation. It will be messy, ugly, and prone to backfiring. And if the comeback succeeds, it will be in fits and starts, most likely culminating in the selection of a presidential nominee in 2016.”

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