There's a split in the Republican party between the status quo big government faction and the deficit reduction small government faction. Plenty of observers have written about it, but here's a very interesting article at Spectator.org titled Karl Rove and the Cotton Conservatives in which Jeffrey Lord makes a comparison with today's Republican party and the Whigs of the mid 19th century.
The Whig party partisans were split between the pro-slavery (Cotton Whigs) and anti-slavery factions (Conscience Whigs). Mr. Lord compares the current split within the Republican party with the Whig party of back then with the big-government faction equivalent to the pro-slavery Whigs and the faction wanting small government and reduced debt and deficit equivalent to the anti-slavery Whigs. Excerpt:
In short order, with Conscience Whigs and Free Soilers and others streaming into a brand new anti-slavery party called the Republicans, Cotton Whigs chose at last to formally join up with pro-slavery Democrats, revealing their true ideological beliefs. At that point the Whig Party simply imploded. It collapsed and died.
To use the now familiar phrase, the Whigs went the way of the Whigs.
That's when the first Republican president, Abraham Lincoln, was elected.
The title, Karl Rove and the Cotton Conservatives ties all this in with Karl Rove's announcement of a new fund raising group called “Conservative Victory Project” which is ostensibly an effort to get conservative elected but which Mr. Lord and others cited by him see as an effort to preserve the status quo and marginalize the small government Republicans.
Mr. Lord notes that the big political issue in the 19th century was slavery, while a big political issue of the 20th century was the cold war. Both of those issues were resolved by Conscience Conservatives, and now the big political issue is the size of the government which includes the debt and deficit.
Whether or not the pro-slavery comparison with establishment Republicans is fair, it's going to be up to the small government Republicans to solve the current problem.