Doug Mataconis counters Dave Weigel:

This is in many ways the same position the GOP was in after the 1994 elections. While there were many factions in the new Republican majority, they were united in opposition to President Clinton and in the goal of defeating him in 1996. It wasn’t until after the `96 election, and the disaster that was the Bob Dole campaign, that the fissures in the GOP began to reassert themselves. I suspect that this phenomenon will be even more pronounced this time around as opposition to Obama becomes the central theme of the conservative talking heads on Fox News Channel and talk radio, but there’s another factor in play that could end up setting off a Republican civil war sooner rather than later.

Unlike 1996 when Bob Dole was the clear heir apparent for the GOP nomination, the race for the 2012 Presidential nomination is as wide-open as the 2008 race was, perhaps even more so. The fight for the nomination, which in some sense has already begun in earnest, is likely to be long and potentially divisive, especially if a certain former Governor from a certain northern state throws her hat in the ring ...

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