When I read in the headline in The New York Times that “top Republican donors were seeking more say in Senate races“, I wondered just how much more influence could they want, as it is, frankly, they own the place. But then I read further:
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. [..]
The Conservative Victory Project, which is backed by Karl Rove and his allies who built American Crossroads into the largest Republican super PAC of the 2012 election cycle, will start by intensely vetting prospective contenders for Congressional races to try to weed out candidates who are seen as too flawed to win general elections.
The only thing that ran through my mind after reading the whole piece (and you should but do not eat or drink) were the lyrics from the Eagles’ “Hotel California“:
They stab it with their steely knives, But they just can’t kill the beast
The Republicans, in there zeal to defeat President Obama at any cost, created a monster that they no longer can control. But not all of the big donors are displeased with the beast and are a bit cross with Mr. Rove for trying to euthanize their pet and now they are revolting:
“Because of the bad results of the 2012 cycle, I kind of feel like we’re in a state of gang warfare,” Matt Kibbe, the president of FreedomWorks, a grassroots advocacy group aligned with the Tea Party movement, told MSNBC.com, adding: “The establishment is circling the wagons, and they’re trying to protect their own.”
Kibbe argued that the the energy in today’s GOP comes from the very Tea Party-backed candidates, like Rand Paul and Mike Lee, that Rove has opposed in the past. “What Rove is proposing is a recipe for failure,” he said.
In a press release put out shortly afterwards, Kibbe warned: “The Empire is striking back.”
Tea Party Patriots, perhaps the leading national grassroots Tea Party group, took the same view. “Instead of returning to conservative principles, Rove and the consultant class are pouring millions into picking off conservative leaders,” national coordinator Jenny Beth Martin said in a statement. “The consultant class has been on the wrong side of history and it is time for conservatives to wake-up and stop funding their sabotage of conservatism.”
Right-wing bloggers were no kinder.
Ben Shapiro, an editor at Breitbart News, accused Rove of “declaring war on the Tea Party.”
Influential conservative blogger Michelle Malkin agreed. “This is war,” she wrote, adding: “Who needs Obama and his Team Chicago to destroy the Tea Party when you’ve got Rove and his big government band of elites?”
Erick Erickson, the influential founder of Redstate.com and a long-time champion of the Tea Party, had a similar take. Rove’s goal, Erickson wrote, is to “crush conservatives, destroy the Tea Party, and put a bunch of squishes in Republican leadership positions.”
Fox News should be a very lively place with both Rove and Erickson now on payroll as political analysts.
Over at the Maddow Blog there’s more from Steve Benen:
Roll Call reported over the weekend that the Senate Conservatives Fund, founded by former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint (R), is already condemning Rove’s new project.
“This is a continuation of the establishment’s effort to avoid blame for their horrible performance in the 2012 elections,” Senate Conservatives Fund Executive Director Matt Hoskins said. “They blew a ton of races up and down the ticket because they recruited moderate Republicans who didn’t stand for anything. Now they want to use this new PAC to trick donors into giving them more money so they can lose more races.”
Club for Growth spokesman Barney Keller echoed the sentiment: “They are welcome to support the likes of Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist and David Dewhurst. We will continue to proudly support the likes of Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz.”
MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow described the deep division between the right wing Republican base and the moneyed interests, that form the Republican Party, but can’t draw sufficient votes to win elections.
Steve Benin notes the great irony of this fight is that neither side of the Republican divide has any credibility at all. Poor Karl. “You can check out anytime you please but you can never leave.”
Get the popcorn and start the music