Members of the tea party wing of the Republican Party may consider "anyone to the left of Ted Cruz" to be a RINO -- Republican in Name Only -- but they should look in the mirror, says political pundit Bernard Goldberg.
"They have made it clear over and over again that their allegiance is not to the Republican Party but to their particular brand of conservatism," Goldberg said Monday on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor."
The tea party wing doesn't like newly re-elected New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Goldberg noted, and he said that if Christie, currently polling well, becomes the GOP presidential nominee in 2016, tea partiers may well sit out the election. If they do, that could help elect the Democratic nominee, currently expected to be Hillary Clinton.
But if Republicans nominate a tea party conservative such as Ted Cruz, they'll bring on a different problem, Goldberg says: a lot of people who would otherwise vote Republican might go the other way.
MSNBC's Joe Scarborough agreed. Republicans need a nominee with mass appeal, he said Monday on MSNBC's "Hardball."
"Republicans aren't going to win again if we only elect the Chris Christie wing or if we only elect the Rand Paul wing. We've got to unite these two wings together," Scarborough told host Chris Matthews.
The GOP has been engaged in a circular firing squad over the last three or four years, Scarborough said, adding that there have been "ideological witch trials" in the past six months, referring to TV ads run over the summer by Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah.
Those commercials, Scarborough said, warned fellow Republicans that "if you don't agree with our specific tactic on how to end Obamacare, you're not sufficiently conservative."
Scarborough, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2001, said Republicans will have to unite the party as they did under Presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.
"That means we're going to need a nominee that both Ted Cruz and Colin Powell can support," he said.
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