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Thank you, Sarah Palin, for saying it bluntly.

With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie picking more fights with fellow Republicans – the good ones, at that! – there’s little doubt about who the new leader of the real Republican Party is these days.

It’s Sen. Rand Paul.

So when Sarah Palin says, “I’m on team Rand,” I say, me too.

It’s not even a close call.

In fact, as a New Jersey-born liberty lover, let me say that Christie is an embarrassment to the Republican Party. And that’s saying something given the nature of the establishment Republican leadership.

Should Republicans nominate the likes of Christie in 2016, I will join the ranks of millions looking for any alternative to voting Republican. In fact, I suspect such a bad choice will signal the demise of the party, whose leadership, right now, is doing just about everything wrong.

It would not be inaccurate to say that John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Chris Christie and Karl Rove personify everything that is bankrupt and wrong with the party.

America is suffering in every way imaginable after nearly five years of rule under Barack Obama. I use the term “rule” advisedly. Presidents are not supposed to rule in America. But this one does. He abuses his power in every way imaginable.

And what do the establishment Republicans do about it? Nothing.

They act like enablers. With control of the House, unarguably the most powerful house in the most powerful branch of government, they don’t put up any fight. They roll over. They don’t provide any opposition. ln fact, they provide everything Obama needs to destroy the country – including all the borrowed money he wants to spend on worthless and destructive programs from which America may never recover.

Do I have that about right?

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Meanwhile, a trio of maverick Republican senators has emerged – Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee. May their likes multiply. Meanwhile, there’s a growing rebellion in the House. But it’s not big enough to save this party from disaster in 2014 and 2016 – at least not yet.

The Republicans, in many ways, are their own worst enemy. Unless they straighten themselves out and learn the lessons of 2008 and 2012, the party is doomed. A good place to start is by reading Jerome Corsi’s “What Went Wrong.” But I doubt many will. They apparently prefer the Washington Post and New York Times.

“What Went Wrong” is not just a political memoir of one of the worst political debacles in American history. It is also a blueprint for what to do in 2014 and 2016 to be competitive again. It is written by a brilliant political scientist who covered the campaign up-close and personal last year. What he saw will astonish you.

A Republican presidential candidate in 2016 will have to change just about every traditional assumption – and dump the usual hack consultants to have a chance to take on Obama’s Democratic successor, whoever it may be.

The Republican nominee will have to have a completely new agenda and new ways of communicating the message of limited government, self-government, constitutional government, personal freedom, personal responsibility and more. He or she will also have to buck the tide of a decaying culture and an increasingly hostile and partisan and pro-government media.

Yes, Republicans have their work cut out for them. People like Christie just make that hill tougher to climb.

Christie is flat-out in the wrong party.

Rand Paul, meanwhile, is saying all the right things and doing all the right things. The comparison between the two gives Republican voters a clear choice – whether or not either or both seek the presidential nomination themselves.

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