The Rhode Island Republican Party's scuffle over a platform that would embrace candidates with moderate positions on social issues like abortion is, perhaps, the worst signal the state GOP could send at this moment.

Anti-incumbent feeling is brewing nationwide as the economy continues to struggle and health care reform tumbles in the polls. And while no one is expecting major pick-ups for the GOP in this dark blue state, the party has reason to hope for modest gains. All it needs to do is get out of its own way. And the party, it seems, is struggling to do that.

The internecine battle, of course, mirrors a fight between moderates and conservatives in the national GOP. But the local Republican Party has a smaller margin for error, with Democratic allegiances running so deep. Their only hope? No one is paying attention to a small party a year from election day. Which may, very well, be the case. 

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