Nobody screws up a one-car funeral, or kills the goose that lays the golden egg, quite like the Republican Party establishment.

Such is the plight of a political party lead by people who don’t share the same basic values as its base. This puts the GOP in a constant state of inner turmoil. For example, just six months after a historic midterm election victory only 23 percent of Republicans believe their party’s leaders have kept their campaign promises, according to a new Pew Research poll.

At the epicenter of this dysfunctional family lies my native state of Iowa: Home to the first-in-the-nation presidential caucuses and packed with promising presidential candidates angling to be the next party standard-bearer. If conservatives lamented our lack of good choices the past few primary cycles, the fear this time around is there are too many desirable options to choose from.

So if there was ever a time for an event like the legendary Iowa Straw Poll to cull the herd, and bring some early clarity to the election process, this would seem to be the year. Unfortunately, though, this is the Republican Party we’re talking about. That means at the very time it is needed the most, the Iowa Straw Poll is dead — whether it happens or not.

And the Republican Party is responsible for doing the killing.

It started a few years ago when Democrat Gov. Terry Branstad – yes, I know he calls himself a Republican but I don’t believe in bearing false witness – immediately went out of his way to publicly undermine the credibility of the Iowa Straw Poll. Mr. Branstad and his ilk don’t like the fact the event seems to energize the party’s conservative base instead of his preferred corporatist shills. Alas, the only political party more offended by an energized conservative base than the Democrats is the Republicans.

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