Karl Rove v. The Tea Party?

Karl Rove may take his American Crossroads SuperPACs into Republican Primary campaigns, where a clash with Tea Party forces would seem inevitable:

 Rove is pondering new missions for Crossroads to address weaknesses laid bare by the GOP’s back-to-back failures to win the White House and the fact that the party fell short when expected to win back the Senate.

Where until now it battled only in general elections and against Democrats, Crossroads is considering whether to start picking sides in Republican primaries. The idea would be to boost the candidate it deems most electable and avoid nominating the kind of flawed and extreme ones who cost the party what should otherwise have been easy Senate wins in Florida, Missouri and Indiana.

That, however, could put Crossroads at odds with the tea party and other groups that devote their energies to promoting the most ideologically pure contenders.

It would be an interesting thing to see, wouldn’t it? Get the popcorn ready.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, Tea Party, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. michael reynolds says:

    Rove doesn’t care where he or how he gets his money and power so long as he gets it. He’s a badly damaged brand.

  2. bill says:

    he needs to ride off into the sunset, times change and so do people.

  3. MBunge says:

    For all the talk about a GOP Civil War, nothing like that can happen until the money boys behind Rove decide they’ve had enough of the Tea Party-types. Fortunately for Democrats, though perhaps not for the country, Rove has shown none of the insight or subtlety to try and dismantle the Tea Party faction. He’ll probably just try to bury them under campaign ads, which will only enrage them even further.

    Mike

  4. grumpy realist says:

    Root for injuries.

  5. Ron Beasley says:

    Nothing like a good old fashion cat fight.

  6. Geek, Esq. says:

    Worked so well in their Presidential primary.

  7. Eric Florack says:

    As I said yesterday:

    Rove has been part of the problem, of course. He’s a talented, likeable sort, but far too addicted to centrism to see the truth of the matter.

    All that was needed was a real conservative in the lead role. Ryan leaps to mind. Palin. Cain. People like Rove worked to drive such conservative people out of the lead roles in the party. And then wonders why the GOP he misleads, loses.

    Mind, this is not to lay the blame for this loss at the feet of Rove alone. Rather, the point is we got here by following the mindset as regards the center, and the GOP devotion to that myth. This defeat is a wake up call. The only way we’re going to win elections is to actually BE conservative. If the current leadership cannot deal with that, it’s time to replace them.

    And yes, that means with Tea Party types.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack:

    And yes, that means with Tea Party types.

    Keep drinking the Kool-Aid Eric.

  9. CSK says:

    The Tea Party–like any other party– isn’t going anywhere until it coalesces around a uniform set of agreed-upon goals. It’s not even a party. It describes itself as a grassroots movement. But what does it stand for? When I first heard about it, my impression was that it was a group (or a bunch of groups) dedicated to lower taxes and smaller government. Then it became about abortion. Or about immigration. Or about gay marriage. Or about climate change. Or about evolution. Or about…whatever was floating anybody’s boat at any given moment. I could be wrong about this, but I think at one point there were four different Tea Party groups in Nevada, each with its own preferred candidate. This isn’t a political party; it’s a comedy routine.

    No movement that fragmented can expect to last as any kind of significant entity. The suffragists were smart: They said, “Just give us the vote, and we’ll take care of the rest.”

  10. Eric Florack says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Oh, please.

    @CSK:

    The Tea Party–like any other party– isn’t going anywhere until it coalesces around a uniform set of agreed-upon goals. It’s not even a party. It describes itself as a grassroots movement. But what does it stand for?

    Reduction of government to the point where it fits within the constitution.
    I guess you could call that a radical grassroots idea, since the ones who wrote it and fought for it, did.

  11. Eric Florack says:

    Oh and by the way…. before you get started about how I’ve been a cheerleader for Romney, (And you know that charge is coming, right?) you may be interested in something I wrote to the point about the quality of candidates being offered by the GOP leadership around a year ago.

    I suggest the points I mention in that year old article were very much on the minds of the GOP rank and file as they sat on their hands in larger numbers than they did in 08.

  12. CSK says:

    @Eric Florack:

    My point was that there are a Tea Party Express, a Tea Party Nation, a Tea Party Emporium, and a Tea Party Patriots–and probably more splinter groups, but those are just the big ones–all squabbling among themselves as to which is the authentic Tea Party party, and each accusing the others of being shills for the Establishment. A movement that can’t get its act sufficiently together to decide what and who it is isn’t going anywhere.

  13. matt says:

    @Eric Florack: You crack me up way too much for a “serious” person. You just labeled Mitt a “real conservative” a mere couple months ago when you thought he was going to win. Now that Mitt lost you’re suddenly reversing course. I’ve seen you do this time and time again over the last +6 years. Don’t you ever get tired of shoveling that bullshit?

  14. mattb says:

    @matt:

    You just labeled Mitt a “real conservative” a mere couple months ago when you thought he was going to win.

    To be fair to @Eric, I don’t think he ever labeled Mitt a “real conservative.” In fact he pretty much expliticly stated during the primaries that Romney wasn’t a conservative.

    One of the ongoing problems with @Eric in the past is his utter refusal to name “real conservatives” — part of the reason we’re so curious is because @Eric has always been of the “All the Republicans have to do to win the presidency is nominate a ‘real conservative.'”

    Which leads me to this:
    @Eric Florack wrote:

    As I [Eric F.] said yesterday:

    All that was needed was a real conservative in the lead role. Ryan leaps to mind. Palin. Cain.

    Hall-a-frickin-luia! We finally have Eric’s examples of real conservatives: Paul Ryan, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain.

    God it’s got to sting to have two cycles of presidential tickets with “real conservatives” in the VP slots go down to such crushing defeats.

    Here’s to some combination of Ryan/Palin or Palin/Cain kicking the Democrats ass in 2016.

  15. @CSK:

    But what does it stand for?

    Before being rebranded as the “Tea Party”, conservative Republicans were notable for their undying love of the Bush administration.

    As Pres. Bush left office, he had a 28 percent approval rating from independents– and a 75 % rating from Republicans, according to Gallup. According to an ABC/WaPo poll, Bush left office with 34% approval from independents, and 68% from Republicans– but 82% from self-professed “conservative Republicans”. Over the course of his presidency, Bush rarely received less than 80% approval of “conservative Republicans”.

    So nevermind Medicare Part D, No Child Left Behind, the executive’s asserted power to wiretap and to detain & torture US citizens without charges or a warrant, surpluses turned into deficits, Raich v Gonzales, or the invasion for bogus reasons & failed occupation of an arbitrarily selected Middle Eastern country. Pres. Bush was “one of us”, and that was all that mattered.

    The Tea Party stands solely and entirely for the proposition that Obama is a socialist fascist Muslim under the influence of a radical Christian pastor.

    It’s a sociological, tribal condition, without any policy concerns whatsoever. Karl Rove knows this; I doubt he’ll take them on directly. Why bother? He knows that he and his funders can flip the switch, and he’ll have the Tea Party outraged about abuses of airline regulations, or banana prices, or the NHL lockout, or lack of airline regulations, or the Third Amendment.

  16. CSK says:

    Eric, now I KNOW you can’t be serious. Cain? Palin? Cain was in it to market his motivational tapes and seminars; he may have had some success with that. Palin has spent the past four years doing reality shows and showing up on Fox occasionally to answer a few pre-screened questions. Were you aware that her pac took in 4+million dollars and donated a princely 1.7% of that to various candidates? Please. This isn’t leadership; it’s grifting.

  17. Latino_in_Boston says:

    @Eric Florack:

    Yes, right, a true conservative. If only Palin or Cain would have been in the ticket you’d now be talking about the demise of Obama and the Democrats.

    Tell you what, Eric, you now have four years to make sure that happens. Do not let anyone convince you otherwise. Find the most conservative candidate available. If Christie runs, toss him overboard and go with Santorum, or Gingrich. Perhaps you can get Steve King to run for President, or encourage Bachmann, who surely would kick ass if given the opportunity since she’s a true conservative™. Donate. Volunteer for their campaign. Believe.

    When they lose though (as they invariably will) ask yourself, how could I be so wrong? And if I was wrong about that, what else could I be wrong about? Once that happens, perhaps you will see just how devoid of reality many of your posts sound.

  18. wr says:

    @Latino_in_Boston: It’s simple. If Eric’s preferred candidate runs and loses, then magically they will turn out not to have been real conservatives after all. You see, a real conservative can’t fail, therefore anyone who fails is not a real conservative. And thus does the dream live on.

  19. de stijl says:

    It’s not even a party. It describes itself as a grassroots movement. But what does it stand for?

    It’s a grift disguised as a rebranding.

    The reactionary Republican id rump (the rump of the rump?) getting snookered by Palin, Armey, et alia.

  20. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    The Tea Party movement has been remarkably successful at getting candidates elected and influencing candidates and politicians — far more than any other movement in a long time. I’m thinking the anti-war movement of the 60’s and 70’s. Rove should either figure out how to ally himself with the movement (and not any particular faction), or retire from political machinations and become a full-time commentator, or just retire.

  21. Franklin says:

    @Eric Florack: So if I take you as being serious, and I have no reason to believe otherwise, then the civil war inside the Republican Party has already commenced. As Obama predicted.

  22. CSK says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Jenos, you said it yourself. It was an anti-war movement. That was their goal. It was clearly defined, just as the suffragists–to repeat myself–had a single clearly defined goal of getting votes for women. The Tea Party has broken down into factions arguing about who their candidates should be and what their priorities should be. This is not a winning strategy.

    Yes, the Tea Party had some notable successes in 2010–and some notable disasters, such as Angle, O’Donnell, and Joe Miller. This year, a lot of their high-profile candidates went down in flames: Love, West, Mourdock, Mandel. (I will give the Tea Party credit for not backing Akin initially, although perhaps they did after he won the primary.) You don’t win elections with boneheaded comments about pregnant rape victims fulfilling God’s plan by giving birth.

  23. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Eric Florack: How does the Tea Party slogan “Don’t turn my Medicare into a socialized medicine plan” fit into your view of Tea Party as limited government types as opposed to the usual “want government benefits to go to me and ‘my kind'” types?

  24. An Interested Party says:

    God it’s got to sting to have two cycles of presidential tickets with “real conservatives” in the VP slots go down to such crushing defeats.

    Not to mention two election cycles in a row where the Teabaggers helped to ensure Democratic control of the Senate…speaking of which…

    The Tea Party movement has been remarkably successful at getting candidates elected and influencing candidates and politicians — far more than any other movement in a long time.

    Uh huh, unless you look at the Senate…

  25. matt says:

    @mattb:You’re right but shortly after the first debate performance when the talk was that Mitt was ascending Erik made the claim that Mitt was a true conservative. Of course leading up to before that first debate Erik had slandered Mitt more then once as not a real conservative.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Eric Florack:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Oh, please.

    Yes, please Eric, drink deep of that cool fruity juice.

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:
  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And Eric, if you need a clue, a conservative clue, may I suggest you start reading Larison? He is quite edifying. Even an avowed liberal such as me learns from reading him. You might too.

  29. ptfe says:

    @CSK: “Jenos, you said it yourself. It was an anti-war movement. That was their goal.”

    Are you actually suggesting that the Tea Party movement was an anti-war movement? Like an anti-Iraq/anti-Afghanistan/anti-imperialist war movement?

    Regardless, the Tea Party was never coherent about its goals and desires. As I recall, it started as a movement to make a balanced budget without raising taxes, cloaked in language about “Constitutionality” that had nothing to do with the Constitution. Basically, they were a bunch of Ryanites — i.e. fiscal imbeciles — trying to assert that their innumeracy was totally because…Constitution! They didn’t really care about the Constitution beyond “I get mine.”

    Indeed, looking at the Wikipedia page, I see the Contract from America has nothing in it about war, military spending, wiretapping, civil liberties, or anything else of the sort. And worse, it has as its #2 plank “Reject emissions trading”; this is a dead giveaway that the “movement” — even in its early days — had nothing to do with the Constitution and everything to do perceived slights against the Right. Even if some of its adherents don’t want to admit it.

  30. CSK says:

    @ptfe:

    Nope, I was saying that the anti-war movement was exactly what it stated itself to be: an anti-war movement. The gazillion different Tea Party splinter groups, on the other hand, are about whatever they’re about, which could be lower taxes. Or abortion. Or climate change. Or…you pick.

  31. Moosebreath says:

    bithead,

    I think Tom Tomorrow had you in mind when he drew this.

  32. ptfe says:

    @CSK: On that, we agree. I just don’t think the Tea Party has ever had that kind of cohesiveness. From the start it was about riling up both the base and people nearby. Maybe in its infancy — as in, in the first Tea Party anti-tax protest that spawned the whole thing — it had a message that wasn’t related to Kenyan Muslim Socialists taking away Medicare, but once the TP moved beyond a 100-person local meeting and got pulled onto Fox News, it hoovered up pretty much every hard-core Republican theory around about governance. The whole time it was a national movement, it was an incoherent national movement.

  33. Barry says:

    @Eric Florack: “Ryan leaps to mind. Palin. Cain. ”

    Can everybody imagine if Cain had been the nominee this year?

    That’d have been SSSSSSSWWWWWWWEEEEEEEEEEETTTTTT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We’d own the House and have 60-odd Democrats in the Senate.
    We’d roll through DC.

  34. Chris says:

    Karl needs to figure if it’s worth dumping the Baggers to take a chance on appealing to normal voters.

    If the GOP actually has better plans (that can be proven with numbers), instead of trying to sell something bogus by evading questions, he will be safe to abandon the Tea Party because normal voters will more than make up for the loss. TPers are probably 25-30% of the electorate.

    He also needs to factor in the next election (probably) won’t involve a black opponent… he has to figure how many GOP voters made their decision strictly because of race, but it would be complicated if someone like Jindal or Rubio were involved because some won’t like this and will stay home (again) on election day.

  35. Chris says:

    @michael reynolds: I see your point, but I think Sheldon Adelson et al should double or quadrupal what they give to Karl. When the airtime of negative GOP ads is greater than the amount of actual TV programming, the GOP will start getting their message across to the American people… either that or voters will get so sick of the garbage that they’ll be motivated to vote the whole party out of office – I’m sure Karl can make up some equations to figure it out.