GOP Rift in Missouri: Is It Healthy?
The head of the Missouri Republican Party, Ed Martin, said the "old guard of the GOP missed the significance" of Rand Paul's fillibuster over the use of drones. John Danforth responded in kind.
A sharply worded note to GOP supporters from the party's Missouri chairman—and a response in-kind from an elder statesman of Missouri's Republican Party—has observers wondering if a rift in the party has widened even further, according to a front page article in Friday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Ed Martin, chairman of the state GOP, wrote an email last week to thousands (which we presume is the same as this message on Martin's blog) in which he hailed Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, for his 13-hour fillibuster over the Obama administration's policy on the use of drone aircraft.
He further chastised members of "the old guard of the GOP" — naming Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina in particular — for what Martin was was missing "the significance of the event, which is a reminder that our party has a great deal yet to learn about leadership."
The Post-Dispatch reported on Friday that Martin's message led former U.S. Sen. John Danforth to respond in equally sharp language.
"I could not be more dismayed by the content and threatening tone of the attached newsletter about Senators Paul, McCain and Graham," the newspaper quoted Danforth, a former three-term senator. "What’s the meaning of this? This big tent Republican smells a purge in the air. Who else do you want to kick out of our party?"
A column in the media criticism website MEDIAite listed its view of the "winners and losers" following Paul's fillibuster, which drew attention to the issue and Paul's desire for more answers about the administration's drone policy.
Is Danforth right? Is there a "purge" underway in the Missouri Republican Party? Is Martin right? Is there an "old guard" in the party that's not willing to step aside? Is there a growing rift, and if so, is it healthy or hurtful to the party?