If there was one big loser on November 6th - other than Mitt Romney - it was Karl Rove. Despite trying to portray himself as little more than an observer, “the architect” had his hands all over the election. Via his two political organizations, Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies and American Crossroads, Rove squandered hundreds of millions of dollars and came away with absolutely nothing to show for it.
First, he spent months bragging that he’d managed to raise $300 million to spend in the upcoming contest. Then, he blew $176 Million on commercials backing Mitt Romney. Then, he spent millions more purchasing spots that were designed to help a whole host of candidates for the Senate and the House.
Ten out of 12 would-be Senators and 4 out of 9 hopeful representatives lost their races.
When it was all over, Rove had burned through (by some accounts) close to $400 million dollars. Yet, in nearly every Rove-involved race, the GOP got hammered. This, of course, led to his on-air Fox News meltdown and a temporary ejection from his “contributor” gig.
Now, Rove’s back and looking for a fight.
Has he realized that the GOP lost because 3 Million Republicans stayed home? Does he understand that they largely did so because they viewed the candidate as too wishy-washy and not conservative enough? Is he suggesting that the party mend fences with its own base in order to choose better candidates and move their cause forward?
He’s decided that he needs to wipe out the Tea Party. Rove and the other GOP elites have settled on the idea that the grass roots conservative movement is the problem, and they’re circling the wagons in order to destroy it.
To that end, they’ve created a new group, ironically called the “Conservative Victory Project.”
As the New York Times puts it:
“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.
The group, the Conservative Victory Project, is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles. It is the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races.”
As I said last week, if the GOP hopes to survive, it’s got to listen to its base. Rove‘s desire to destroy the Republican party’s own grass roots is exactly the kind of thing that will permanently fracture the party and lead to more losses.
If people think the Republicans were irrelevant in the last election, they should try and imagine what will happen if Rove gets his way. The party lost last time because millions of normally loyal voters were angry at the GOP and stayed home. Now, Karl wants to codify their anger into the party’s DNA by forcing them out?
Rove’s claim to political genius is based on a pair of very narrow George W. Bush victories. One of them was so close that it had to be claimed in court, and the other was against John Kerry – a candidate who should have been defeated in a landslide.
Are Republicans really so enamored with his two “skin-of-his-teeth” wins that they’re willing to splinter the party forever?
Instead of trying to force genuine conservatives out of the fold, the GOP needs to find a way to fight for a truly constitutional message. If they can’t be bothered to do so, they’ve already conceded defeat, the party will split, and the left will hold sway for a generation.
On the other hand, if they’re actively trying to guarantee a permanent Democrat majority, by all means, they should follow Rove on his witch hunt.
Robert Laurie’s column is distributed by HermanCain.com, which can be found at HermanCain.comCommenting Policy
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