With their attacks on tea party conservatives, Karl Rove and his cohorts have fired the first salvo in the Great GOP War of 2013. The strangest aspect of this is that even as Rove denounces conservatism in favor of his unique brand of watered-down compromise, he appears to be looking to capitalize on conservatism itself.
While he may call his latest super PAC the “Conservative Victory Project,” Rove most decidedly does not wish for conservative victory. The aim of his group is to push moderate candidates while posturing as the savior of the embattled Republican Party. This is what disgraced Republicans do all the time — turn away from the base in an effort to win praise from the liberal mainstream media.
What’s that old phrase? “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.” If that is true, the GOP’s moderate shot-callers must be a few bricks shy of a full load.
We have tried it their way for two long, frustrating decades — and with limited success. Moderate, supposedly “electable” candidates are often anything but. Just ask President John McCain. Or Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Republican moderate Rove and others pushed to unseat Governor Rick Perry in 2010. (Perry won handily, and Hutchison was embarrassed into retirement.)
Let’s take a look at the most recent example of Rove and his fellow faux-conservatives’ handiwork: America was force-fed Mitt Romney, a good man who was, nonetheless, far from what Americans on the right actually wanted. Romney had many good qualities, but his soft stances on issues that would have made him appealing to conservatives cost him the election. Conservatives just couldn’t get excited about the prospect of a Romney administration. Sure, almost every registered Republican preferred Romney over Obama, but their lukewarm enthusiasm for the Massachusetts moderate did not translate into a GOP victory. Liberals voted Democrat, moderate Republicans voted Republican and some conservatives swallowed the bitter pill and voted Republican while others voted independent or not at all.
After a round of primaries that had several strong conservative contenders, the massive influence of the GOP establishment once again dominated and sold America on the value of putting up “the only electable candidate.” But just four short years earlier, these Washington insiders had said the same thing about John McCain — and Romney lost to McCain in the 2008 primaries. What should that have spelled out about Mitt Romney’s “electability”?
The last time the Republican Party saw a tremendous whirlwind was in 2010, when America’s back was up against the wall. An exciting, new grassroots movement sprang up all across the country in towns big and small to demand that government actually listen to its citizens. The tea party movement was born from frustration — frustration that our government no longer listened to us and frustration with the Republican Party, which was supposed to represent conservative ideals but had been failing to do so for the preceding 20 or so years.
So the people who helped saddle America with another four years of Obama now have the audacity to explain that the problem with the Republican Party is the tea party?
Rove’s attempt to divide the GOP is outrageous and comes at a most unwelcome time. The Republican Party is supposed to be the party of conservative ideals; it is supposed to be the counter to the Democratic Party — the party that represents liberal ideals. But somewhere along the line, one compromise of principle welcomed yet another and the GOP lost its way. It became “Democrat-lite” at a time when America needed a choice between liberalism and conservatism. And the new “Conservative Victory Project” is the latest embodiment of that perversion of principle.
Americans are tired of the same old moderate Republican shtick. Conservatism is the past and future of the Republican Party — and we’re happy to work on the frontlines to help the GOP return to sanity.