An info dump sent after GOP candidate nominated.
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The very fact that Rove chose to name his new venture the “Conservative Victory Project” instead of giving it a more nebulous, ideologically hazy name as he did with “American Crossroads” gives the lie to this. If this controversy isn’t about ideology — why the felt need to gloss things up by calling the project “conservative” in the first place? There is only one reason.
To try and lull conservatives into the belief this project is all about conservatism — when quite clearly it is not.
Indeed the whole shimmy over what Rove was or was not doing back in Texas in 1980 illustrates the point.
In fact, no one would care what was up with Karl Rove in 1980. But for one thing that Karl Rove knows instinctively and well. Which is surely why he seeks the identification with Reagan, even though it didn’t exist until after his old boss George H.W. Bush was placed on Reagan’s ticket.
As history has played out since 1980, Ronald Reagan has emerged as both one of America’s greatest presidents in the eyes of the American people — and thus as the conservative gold standard.
Karl Rove’s entire political history is in a very real sense a snapshot history of the GOP Establishment. Indeed, in a small but telling detail, Rove’s memoirs include a picture of himself as a young man with two men — then Vice President Ford and RNC Chairman Bush. There is not a photo to be found of Rove with Reagan, or for that matter any photo of Reagan.
The fact that Rove has now been positively identified by Texans as both a Ford supporter in 1976 and a Bush supporter in 1980 — when added to his own record in the Bush 43 White House supporting expanding government in areas like education and Medicare, plus his comments about various Tea Party candidates in recent elections — taken together they portray someone who is hell bent not only on supporting Establishment Republicans but defeating Reaganite conservatives wherever he can plausibly and quietly do so.
Put another way, Rove is badly hurting himself with conservatives who believe he seems decidedly unable or unwilling to see that the arc of history and the idea of Big Government is not only now perceived as a direct threat to the security of the country itself — that $17 trillion debt looming Greece-like — but is increasingly a decided non-starter for the conservative base of the Republican Party.
That where once as a young man he saw both Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush as more electable than Ronald Reagan — he now looks at Establishment candidates competing with Tea Party candidates and sees exactly the same thing. Worse still, that in seeking to advance Establishment GOP candidates he is quietly finding ways — like that email on O’Donnell — to sabotage Tea Party candidates after they are nominated.
Historically speaking, this is seen by many conservatives as one of the worst traits of Establishment elites. From the days when Republicans like Nelson Rockefeller and George Romney turned a cold shoulder to Barry Goldwater in 1964 — all the way through to recent elections when party elites pushed party unity before a challenge to an Establishment candidate — then turned on their heel and refused to endorse the Tea Party winner (as in Delaware and Indiana in 2010 and 2012) or even leave the GOP altogether (as the late Arlen Specter did when confronted by Pat Toomey’s second challenge in 2010), the GOP Establishment has acquired a haughty “my-way-or-the-highway” reputation.
A reputation that Mr. Rove memorably reinforced that night in September of 2010 when he launched on Christine O’Donnell — angering the viewer who sent me his provocative email.
So how does all of this boil down?
It’s safe to say in this sudden controversy that conservatives see the battle with Karl Rove as illustrative of the battle that must be fought and won if conservatives are to have any chance at all of defeating the most destructive presidency in American history — an Obama presidency obsessed with literally spending the nation into bankruptcy. Making America Greece.
This is not a battle that can be won if the Republican Party is populated with leaders who see themselves as doing the Big Government routine — but just less so. The dime store New Deal approach. Whether out of fear of criticism from the liberal media, a desire of social acceptability in Washington — or from a felt need to protect the Establishment GOP.
Politically speaking, there is considerable umbrage taken by conservatives at the idea that a GOP Establishment that keeps losing presidential elections (2012, 2008, 1996, 1992, 1976) or wins them by unnecessarily narrow margins (2000 and 2004) — has the chutzpa to blame conservatives for losing elections. And that’s before you even get to the disaster that was 2006 (when there was no Tea Party and Karl Rove himself had free rein from the White House) or losing races with Establishment candidates in places like Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota and Massachusetts.