Sen. John Cornyn's swipe at Gingrich and Limbaugh yesterday on the Sotomayor candidacy shows what's emerging as a critical effect of the confirmation battle. We know that a key dilemma for the GOP in the early Obama era is that they are increasingly divided between people who want to get the party back into the business of winning elections and ultras who want to go totally off the deep end with often extreme rhetoric and quests for ideological purity. What's more, these 'pragmatists, for lack of a better word, are cowed by the ultras because in a shrunken GOP the ultras make up a much larger percentage of the party.
The truth though is that taxes and fiscal policy, while key issues for conservatives, simply aren't visceral and divisive in anywhere near the way race and gender are. So while this schism has been there for months, the Sotomayor battle -- still only three days old -- has thrown gasoline on the fire and intensified the rift dramatically.
Here's more on the story