Only four months after the election, and the suggestions to the GOP on how to regroup and reorganize have recently gotten very good. And consistent: we talked about them here already, but the same ideas keep popping up again and again. To their credit, Republicans seem to be listening; time will tell on that, of course.
So what of Karl Rove? The big inside-baseball fight right now appears to be between Karl Rove’s recent party activities and the Tea Party. Not everyone has heard about this, so the Czar will summarize.
Karl Rove has issued a memo to the biggest Republican campaign donors that there needs to be some moderation of party donations: specifically, we need to stop backing all these whackjob Tea Party folks who are hurting the chances of real Republican candidates.
The Tea Party responded in an unusually disagreeable manner, depicting Rove in a Photoshopped Nazi uniform and referring to him basically as a jackass holepuncher, but with two fewer words. The Tea Party’s more serious retort is that the Tea Party represents the growing trend in Republican politics, and that he needs to get on the bandwagon, here.
As a result, both sides (“Extremists!” “Establishment!”) are feuding right now; fortunately, the media has largely ignored this. And it is hardly a bloodbath.
In some respects, though, both sides are right. Yes, Tea Party—there is no question that Republicans like Ryan, Rubio, Jindal, Cruz, and Paul are striking fear and terror into liberals’ hearts while doing superlative work at the same time. And yes, it is true that these are guys Rove probably would not have recommended as initial candidates.
But the Tea Party needs to pay attention to itself. Anyone remember Scott Ashijian? He was a Democrat who claimed to be a Tea Party candidate, and successfully siphoned key votes away from the more establishment Sharron Angle—who might have deposed Harry Reid in the Senate.
Remember Sarah Steelman and John Brunner? Of course not. These were two more established conservative candidates running against the low-polling Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO). But they were defeated when the Democrats funded $2 million worth of ads supporting a goof named Todd Akin as the Tea Party candidate. And Akin not only lost the Senate for himself, but very likely turned voters off other strengthening candidates in other states (Wisconsin, Connecticut, and Indiana).
It does not always work: Paul Ryan, for example, defeated primary candidates backed as “even more conservative” Tea Party candidates; but unquestionably votes were siphoned off. Some suggest this is who Mitt Romney was: the weaker candidate, but presented by Democrats as stronger by dint of conservative beliefs.
The problem here, as Rove had difficulty communicating with his foot in his pompous mouth, is that the Tea Party supporters are way too quick to jump on the bandwagon for any candidate claiming to be one of them. And the facts often do not check out. We already see this in Kentucky: the head of the Louisville Tea Party was approached by Democrats offering vast sums of donation money to a candidate that could defeat Mitch McConnell in 2014.
Karl Rove, who is tiresome and debunked as a pundit, should never have gone public with his idea. Rather, he should have talked to the biggest donors privately (which would have been easy to do); now he has enjoyed further humiliation.
But Tea Party veterans need to research and expose so-called Tea Party candidates and reveal whether or not they are legitimate. Because the Democrats have caught on to this, and they they will keep winning with it until it is stopped.