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Conventional wisdom says that the rollout and fallout of Obamacare, is what will define political races in 2014.

But there is another dynamic brewing that cannot be ignored and will undoubtedly shape the outcome of the 2014 races, namely the civil war between the Tea Party and establishment GOP, for the soul of their party and seats in the Senate.

Political observers will recall that back in 2009 and 2010, the GOP establishment had a very public courtship with the Tea Party and declared its head-over-heels love for its passion and energy.

Now a mere three years later, they can be found yelling at their ex in public, and as of this week has even has gone so far as to issue a restraining order.

The Chamber of Commerce plans to launch a $50 million effort to support more centrist, business-friendly GOP candidates. The ultimate aim of the campaign is to win a Republican majority in the Senate.

"Our No. 1 focus is to make sure, when it comes to the Senate, that we have no loser candidates,” the Chamber’s top political strategist, Scott Reed, told the Journal. "That will be our mantra: No fools on our ticket."

Here's a flashback to the fools parade the GOP is trying to outspend into oblivion.

Christine "I'm Not a Witch" O'Donnell, Sharon "Sharia Law in Dearborn" Angle (who replaced Sue "Chicken for Checkups" Lowden) and Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin.

The recent passage of the Ryan-Murray budget has only exposed the widening fissures between the Tea Party and the establishment GOP.

Capitol Hill is being treated to the specter of a splintering of Republican forces, with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and many of his lieutenants vigorously backing the Ryan-Murray compromise. [...]

Boehner has lashed out at highly influential outside conservative groups including Club for Growth and Heritage Action for opposing the deal, saying on Thursday that they had crossed a line and lost their credibility by declaring their opposition even before reading the compromise. Heritage Action announced that it would include the budget vote in its annual legislative scorecard.

“This budget agreement takes giant steps in the right direction,” Boehner told reporters. “But when groups come out and criticize something they’ve never seen, you begin to wonder just how credible those actions are.”

More than 50 high-profile conservative activists signed onto a statement Wednesday responding to both House Speaker John Boehner’s harsh words for conservative groups earlier in the day and the firing of the Republican Study Committee’s longtime executive director, Paul Teller, who became too closely allied with the outside groups. “It is clear that the conservative movement has come under attack on Capitol Hill today,” the statement reads.

The hatred for and the missteps of Obamacare should have unified the GOP going into 2014, but they can't even agree on hate strategies.

Health-care tactics split Republican Senate rivals

In a number of Senate primaries, conservatives are arguing over the best way to oppose President Barack Obama's signature accomplishment. The outcome of those campaigns could affect the battle over which party controls the Senate.

In intraparty skirmishes from Georgia to Nebraska, the GOP's most strident candidates and activists are insisting on a no-holds-barred approach. They accuse fellow Republicans — including several incumbent senators — of being too soft in their opposition to the Affordable Care Act and to the president in general.

The struggle will help determine just how conservative the Senate Republican caucus will be during Obama's final two years. And it could influence which party controls the chamber, with Democrats hoping that the most uncompromising Republican standard-bearers will emerge from the primaries and fare as poorly in general elections as their counterparts did in several 2012 Senate races. Republicans need to gain six seats for a majority.

Obamacare continues to add more people to the 5.5 million who have already signed up and insurers plan to spend $500 million encouraging more sign ups, so it will continue to be front and center in the political headlines.

But what is more interesting to watch is how the civil war within the GOP will escalate as both sides are certain of victory in 2014--in the war for the GOP.


What will ultimately define and determine the outcome of the 2014 congressional races?

21%7 votes
12%4 votes
27%9 votes
15%5 votes
6%2 votes
18%6 votes

| 33 votes | Vote | Results

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