‘Wreck ’em derby’ in Republican Party?

/ Source: NBC News

The Republican Party clearly has a tougher presidential campaign road than Democrats, a roundtable of analysts on NBC's "Meet the Press" said Sunday.

"I think we've got a wreck ’em derby going on in the Republican Party right now," former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw said in describing the internal debate over conservative values.

It's "much tougher" for Republicans, echoed Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, since they are trying to define the "soul" of the party, while Democrats are just trying to decide which contender would win against a Republican.

Brokaw and Michele Norris of National Public Radio sensed a large mass of flexible voters not interested in party dogma. "People are rejecting dogma," Brokaw said of the bloc that he called a "nomadic herd."

Norris described that bloc as "freelancers" looking for "someone who speaks to issues they really care about."

The analysts did give credit to Republican Sen. John McCain for his resurgent campaign. Brokaw described it as an "an astonishing comeback."

Noonan felt South Carolina voters backed McCain in part because they see him as "the grand old man of the party."

Presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin felt that the "desire to win" could help heal the Republican divisions — especially once Democrats choose a candidate.

Newsweek Editor Jon Meacham took that thought a step further. "The one person who could in fact unite the Republican Party," he said, "is Hillary Clinton."