Is there a difference?, and does it matter?—is always good perennial party fodder. But lately I've had a couple of talks with committed Democrats (who don't know I'm faking it as a Democrat, who think I'm one of them) and they continually talk about who is more likely to beat the Republicans, Barack or Hillary. Republicans of my acquaintance by contrast are focussed—and bitterly—on who's a "real" Republican or a "real" conservative.
It is my general observation that when one party becomes focussed on its purity rather than on winning the election, it tends to lose the election and to be swept from power for a suitable interval of penance. Long years in the woods are eventually followed by the realization that maybe a little compromise isn't so bad after all in this fallen world. It has taken the Democrats 8 years to get to this point, so I'm guessing the Republicans won't be viable again until at least 2016. Anybody want to form a pool?