03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Republican Identity Crisis Forces GOP Politicians To The Right

John McCain rails against a bipartisan global warming bill two years after sponsoring one himself? He says he's "dear friends" with Sarah Palin and enjoyed her book? The one that trashes his 2008 presidential campaign? Strange, I thought. Then I saw a poll that showed the sometime maverick-moderate vulnerable to a primary challenge next year from the right.

The Republican primary process has triggered an epidemic of identity crises among prominent and promising Republicans. Between Sarah Palin, tea parties, and the Club For Growth, there are Senate candidates scurrying rightward on everything from taxes and health care to energy, national security, labor issues, and President Obama's stimulus package.

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