ROVE DECLARES WAR ON TEA PARTY
ROVE DECLARES WAR ON TEA PARTY
Print ArticleSend a Tip
by BEN SHAPIRO 3 Feb 2013, 9:49 AM PDT 766 POST A COMMENT
The battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party has begun. On one side is the Tea Party. On the other side stand Karl Rove and his establishment team, posing as tacticians while quietly undermining conservatism.
Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the “biggest donors in the Republican Party” have joined forces with Karl Rove and Steven J. Law, president of American Crossroads, to create the Conservative Victory Project. The Times reports that this new group will dedicate itself to “recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s effort to win control of the Senate.” The group points to candidates like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Richard Mourdock in Indiana as examples of Tea Party primary picks going sideways in major Senatorial battles.
But it is American Crossroads and its ilk that have run the GOP into the ground. Spending millions of dollars on useless 30,000-ft. advertising campaigns during the last election cycle, training candidates to soften conservatism in order to appeal to “moderates,” blowing up the federal budget under George W. Bush as a bipartisan tactic – all of those strategies led the party to a disastrous defeat in 2012. The Tea Party, which may nominate losers from time to time, also brought the Republicans their historic 2010 Congressional victory. If Tea Party candidates lose, it’s because they weren’t good candidates; if GOP establishment candidates lose, it’s because they weren’t good conservatives. The choice for actual conservatives should be easy.
But it isn’t. The Bush insider team that helped lead to the rise of Barack Obama insists that they, and only they, know the path to victory. As the Times reports, Conservative Victory Project won’t merely protect incumbents – it will challenge sitting Congresspeople of the Tea Party variety, including six-term Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, who may run for Senate. “We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Law told the Times – with whom he seems far too friendly. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.”
Law claims he’s acting under the rubric of William F. Buckley, supporting the most conservative candidate who can win. But Law is no judge of that. Neither is Rove. Their advice led to the epic Romney defeat, in which conservatives were told to vote for Romney in the primary since he was the only candidate who could win.
Grover Norquist correctly points out that the Rove mission is nonsense. “People are imagining a problem that doesn’t exist,” said Norquist. “We’ve had people challenge the establishment guy and do swimmingly.” In truth, conservatism wins elections so long as the messenger doesn’t implode. Rove’s view, however, is that conservatism takes a back seat to the best quasi-conservative messenger.
But victory for conservatives isn’t Rove’s goal. He’s a political insider par excellence, and he’s playing for his political life in the aftermath of 2012. If that means declaring war on the Tea Party, so be it.
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the book “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).
Rove Declares War on Tea Party
Tea Party Groups Attack Rove Machine
by Ben Shapiro
8 Feb 2013, 3:02 PM PDT
With Karl Rove under heavy fire after his group, the Conservative Victory Project, took to the pages of the New York Timesto attack the Tea Party, donors are beginning to turn on the Project. Politico reports Friday morning that the Project will “essentially preform oppo research and grade potential candidates on a variety of factors that might affect their ability to win a general election contest.” Some donors are overjoyed at the opportunity, including media honcho Stan Hubbard and Fred Malek of the American Action Network.
But others don’t trust Rove and the American Crossroads team to judge talent for office, says Politico: “the plan has sparked nearly unanimous opposition from anti-establishment deep-pocketed conservatives who have begun formulating their own big-money counter plans.” Those opponents could include other major super PACs who have long believed that Rove’s establishment bona fides prevent him from making truly conservative decisions about candidates.
And even some of Rove’s heretofore allies may be wary of his crystal ball strategy after the disastrous 2012 election cycle, which heralded not just the loss of Senate seats in Tea Party-influenced races like Indiana, but establishment strongholds like Wisconsin. American Crossroads had a mere 5.7% rate of return – just 5.7% of the money they spent on the 2012 election was actually spent on winning candidates.
Steven Law, president of American Crossroads, understands that he is now facing an uphill battle with conservative, especially given his group’s less-than-stellar 2012 performance. Law promises an investigation into “all of our activities last year, as well as external factors that contributed to last year’s deeply disappointing results.”
Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks openly scoffed at the notion that Rove’s network would be able to pick winners and losers. “The guys who fund groups like Rove’s want to re-establish that they’re in charge, but they just don’t understand the inevitable decentralization and democratization of politics,” said Kibbe. Club for Growth president Chris Chocola seconded that motion: “When you think about a Republican primary, and you think about a principled conservative versus a moderate Republican – well, our model wins more often.”
Rove’s apparent apathy toward the Tea Party has obviously generated antipathy for his views. As Mark Levin has pointed out, Rove recently bragged about spending some $30 million on Senate Tea Party candidates and $25 million on Tea Party House candidates -- but American Crossroads reportedly spent some $400 million in the 2012 election cycle, meaning that only about $1 out of every $8 was spent on Tea Party candidates.
Rove will undoubtedly continue to wield influence. But whether that influence triggers a Republican civil war or not is entirely up to Rove, and depends largely on his willingness to work with Tea Party groups rather than in opposition to them.
Tea Party Groups Attack Rove Machine