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What lesson did Karl Rove learn from losing virtually every race in which his super-pacs supported a primary candidate as well as losing virtually every race in which they supported Republicans opposing Democrats in the November election – from Mitt Romney on down?
Apparently, his conclusion is these super-rich political action committees he runs must double-down against conservative and tea-party Republicans in the 2014 mid-term elections and other future votes.
In other words, Rove is planning to wage a scorched-earth policy against any candidates seeking office other than establishment, middle-of-the-road Republicans.
That’s according to a report in Rove’s newspaper of choice – the New York Times. And this is one New York Times report that actually seems to be credible.
This is why I have called upon Rove to be dumped by conservative and Republican donors. Not only does his strategy represent proven failure to elect Republicans, it presents more obstacles for conservative and tea-party candidates to win – which is exactly his point.
One thing should be clear by now: The establishment, country-club Republicans, formerly referred to in an earlier day as “Rockefeller Republicans” and more often today as RINOs (Republicans in name only), have not only lost their hammerlock grip on the GOP, but on their ability to win elections. Period.
Meanwhile, Rove has built his political consulting career building war chests worth hundreds of millions of dollars – much of that money coming from wealthy donors who don’t share Rove’s politically suicidal bent nor his liberal ideological rigidness.
Among the groups Rove commands is one ironically called the “Conservative Victory Project,” which, of course, misleads many conservative donors into believing they are helping conservatives with their contributions. Nothing could be further from the truth. They are helping to defeat them.
For instance, one of the most dependable conservatives in the House – a thorn in the side of House Speaker John Boehner, who has betrayed the tea-party movement that placed him in power – is Steve King of Iowa. Guess who one of the first targets of Rove’s money-machine politics is said to be. That’s right. Steve King.
Steve King is illustrative of the kind of principled conservative Republicans should be enthusiastically backing. Not only does he win, but he gives the Washington establishment fits – both accommodating Republican leadership and the extremists in the Democratic Party.
Clearly, Rove would prefer to see a Democrat take King’s seat than for him to remain in office. He made the same decision about Missouri U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin in his race against Barack Obama cheerleader Claire McCaskill in 2012.
Another one of Rove’s heavily endowed super-pacs is American Crossroads. Here’s what the president of that organization had to say about Rove’s internecine war strategy.
COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group 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 efforts to win control of the Senate.
“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”
The first test of the groups’ efforts to influence primary races could come in Iowa, according to the Time, where Republicans have a chance to win a Senate seat held by retiring Sen. Tom Harkin, a seat that hasn’t been open since 1974.
“We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Law said. “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.”
In response, King said: “This is a decision for Iowans to make and should not be guided by some political staffers in Washington,” King said in an interview, pointing out that he won his congressional race last year even though Barack Obama easily defeated Mitt Romney in Iowa. “The last election, they said I couldn’t win that, either, and the entire machine was against me.”
Rove’s intentionally misnamed “Conservative Victory Project” says it will be intensely vetting prospective contenders for congressional races to try to weed out candidates who are seen as too conservative to win general elections.
How will Rove’s highly paid political mercenaries conduct their war of attrition against conservatives? They will spend more Republican donor money in primaries against other Republicans they find distasteful and too conservative. That, of course, dries up money that could be used to beat Democrats. But that’s not as important to Rove as controlling the tenor of the party itself and preserving himself with the mythical monikers of “kingmaker” and “architect.”
What’s the ultimate solution to this?
- Conservatives – real conservatives – should not give a dime to any organization run or influenced by Rove.
- A new super-pac must be created that supports the conservatives and tea-party Republicans with equal or greater sums of money than Rove squandered in 2012.
If Rove wants to understand the real problem the Republican Party faced in 2012 and in the future, all he needs to do is look in the mirror.