It’s a dog-eat-dog, Republican-eat-Republican world out there – at least according to both Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine and Tea Party darling Christine O’Donnell,  who have started to apply an unsavory term to the GOP’s primary season upsets: Cannibalism. 

The Tea Party winner du jour and Delaware Republican nominee for Senate Christine O’Donnell repeatedly used cannibalism as a metaphor for the party disunity that has threatened her campaign. “Before all this Republican cannibalism, we were not far behind in the polls” for the general election, O’Donnell said Tuesday night, adding that she hoped the activist and establishment wings of the party could “kiss and make up” for the general election. She continued to use the term to describe the party’s mixed reaction to her victory on appearances on Good Morning America and Fox & Friends Wednesday morning.

It’s not the first time the term has been used to describe party infighting. “You know the difference between cannibals and liberals? Cannibals only eat their enemies,” former President Lyndon Johnson famously quipped about his own Democratic Party during his time in the Senate in the 1950’s.

Flash forward to 2010, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine Tuesday also said that Republican establishment candidates and Tea Party activists are, well, eating each other for lunch.

In a conference call with reporters, Kaine likened the GOP’s infighting to a stranded 19th century pioneer family’s turn to cannibalism to survive.“They invited the Tea Party in, and it’s kind of turning into the Donner Party,” he said.

Kaine is citing the defeat of moderate Republican stalwarts Bob Bennett of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and Mike Castle of Delaware by Tea Party-backed candidates as evidence that the GOP is taking out its own members – to the benefit of Democrats coveting support from moderates and independents. “The ferocity of the Tea Party” will give Democrats “great opportunities in races that we wouldn’t have absent the Tea Party candidates,” he predicts.

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