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How 'right' is the GOP?

Let me finish tonight with the intrigue on the right.

Let me finish tonight with the intrigue on the right. How right "is" the Republican Party?  Too right for pro-choice Rudy Giuliani to even "think" about getting in?

So right that Jon Huntsman - who's for civil unions and climate change - is wasting his time joining "this" jamboree?  Too right for even for Mitt Romney?  Is "New Hampshire" too right for him?  This is the question for 2012: Has the rightward shift of the  Republican Party gotten so advanced that the mainstream analysts have lost track of it?

We heard this view last night - right here on Hardball.  It's what Jennifer Donahue told us about New Hampshire and it's got me thinking.

Suppose the Republican Party - strengthened as it is by the power of the Tea Party - goes with its heart rather than its head?  What if it feels the pull of Michele Bachmann and backs her not just in the Iowa caucuses but in New Hampshire as well. I believe it could happen and I base that on the record.

Patrick Buchanan ran a strong campaign against the first President Bush in New Hampshire in 1992 and almost pulled an upset. In 1996 he "did" pull an upset against front-runner Bob Dole. 

This is sound reason to believe that the New Hampshire voter is no longer the old moderate Republican Yankee, but is much more like the angry anti-tax Republicans of the tea party nationwide. An awful lot of people have moved to the Granite State to escape the taxes in Massachusetts. They are tough, pro-life and anti-tax and they might just find Romney just too darn bland. They might find Michele Bachmann has the same feelings, the same beliefs, the same conservative "gut" they do.

So here's a reality check - Is the Republican Party the party of George Will and the senior George Bush - or is it the party of the Tea Party?

My evidence from 1992 right through 2010 is that the tempered, don't rock the boat approach of the establishment conservative has lost out to the loud, passionate, let's go for it! Attitude of the angry right - and that is going to make all the difference on who gets the win when the party gets to Tampa. 

So stay tuned.  We haven't seen nothin' yet.