I really don't understand how Karl Rove is considered a political genius unless it is the Wile E Coyote version of "super genius." He got lucky by 500 votes in Florida in 2000, and got lucky again that John Kerry was the worst candidate the dems could run in 2004 thanks to "The New Soldier" and his 1972 traitor speech (read the whole transcript). The only thing he really got right campaign wise was getting ballot initiatives going that drove conservative turnout. That's the one big thing I'll credit him with. When it comes to candidate strategy and issues, I think he flat out sucks.
Karl Rove was deputy Chief of Staff of Bush from 05 to 07. That is the same time trouble really started brewing for the Bush administration.
Karl Rove was 0-fer in Michigan. Lost the 2000 primary. Lost in 2000 and 2004 (and he shouldn't have lost 04). Crossroads lost here in 2012. He also ran his mouth and did a 1/2way McCain statement here in the last election. He later said it was competitive in the last two weeks, but the earlier comment did major damage. Major. If he was the genius he claimed he was, he'd keep his mouth shut, stay off of Fox (if he's running crossroads) and do what needs to be done.
Now he's getting involved in primaries. Great. A quote from Coach Bob Knight comes to mind. "You (bleeped) it up to begin with, now just sit there or leave." Knight was addressing a media person who misrepresented him. Rove embarrassed himself and spent a lot of political capital losing hundreds of millions of dollars from donor money and got bad results. His back is against the wall and he needs to redeem himself and his thought process. The think with these national consultants is that it is of course NEVER their own fault. It's always the fault of others. That's how they keep getting their paycheck and these hanger-ons stay around. It can't be the fault of "super genius" but it is the fault of those "tea party people."
Reality is that this year the only one I can pin on the tea party is Mourdock. Akin wasn't tea party (although some tea party backed him after the fact due to the attacks against him by Rove). Romney wasn't tea party. His election day operations are legendary bad with Project Orca. His sign policy also hurt us badly. In 2010, you could point to Angle and O'Donnell as tea party, but this year you had establishment candidates lose too. Both sides have their good (Rob Portman, Pat Toomey) and bad (Tommy Thompson, Richard Mourdock).
From the NY Times.
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.“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”
On paper, that sounds great. On paper. The problem is American Crossroads is run by Rove. Rove's track record makes Sarah Palin's look almost perfect. 3 for 20 or 7 for 24 (I've seen different reports.) This wasn't a wave election. The other issue is this. It's not about "most conservative" or "most moderate" if you are looking for electability. That's consultant and pundit BS. It's about the right fit. Rove doesn't get the Midwest. He never has. His record here shows that. Electability starts with candidates who A. Do their job and run on that first, B. Work hard and campaign and don't act like they are talked into running or are entitled to the job. Competence comes first. Where that affect social issues is where you have "far right" or "moderate" candidates play those up to the expense of going away from "doing your job issues."
The effort would put a new twist on the Republican-vs.-Republican warfare that has consumed the party’s primary races in recent years. In effect, the establishment is taking steps to fight back against Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that have wielded significant influence in backing candidates who ultimately lost seats to Democrats in the general election.
As someone who is not completely in either camp, I see a major problem here. One good friend of mind who is probably considered establishment said one of the biggest problems was Republicans bashing the hell out of each other in primaries. I'm not completely blameless here, but that was a good point mentioned. "For every attack between Santorum and Romney camps, you had votes going by default to Obama" was almost the exact quote from this individual. This person has a real point, especially after seeing the results. This Rovian stuff ain't helping matters.
As far as the "backing candidates who lose part", usually Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin are cited. Mourdock lost for saying something stupid. Akin wasn't tea party. He was establishment - Huckabee wing. He lost for saying something stupid. Saying something stupid isn't limited to "tea party" candidates. George Allen was very establishment and he lost in 06 for saying something stupid.
Iowa will be ground zero for this.
The group’s plans, which were outlined for the first time last week in an interview with Mr. Law, call for hard-edge campaign tactics, including television advertising, against candidates whom party leaders see as unelectable and a drag on the efforts to win the Senate. Mr. Law cited Iowa as an example and said Republicans could no longer be squeamish about intervening in primary fights.“We’re concerned about Steve King’s Todd Akin problem,” Mr. Law said. “This is an example of candidate discipline and how it would play in a general election. All of the things he’s said are going to be hung around his neck.”
King beat Christine Vilsack, a strong candidate with 7 million in backing, by 8% in a slightly R district. Now can King sell in Eastern Iowa? That's why we have primaries. On the same note, would Arlen Specter and Charlie Crist be better as R's in 2010 than Pat Toomey and Marco Rubio? NRSC supported those now democrats. NRSC supported Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island. He won his primary and got his ass kicked in 2006. He also supported Obama, the 2nd worst resident of the White House in my lifetime outside of Jimmy Carter.
Grover Norquist, who leads Americans for Tax Reform, a fiscally conservative advocacy group that plays a role in Republican primary races, said he welcomed a pragmatic sense of discipline in recruiting candidates. But he said it was incorrect to suggest that candidates backed by Tea Party groups were the only ones to lose, pointing to establishment Republicans in North Dakota and Montana who also lost their races last year.“People are imagining a problem that doesn’t exist,” Mr. Norquist said. “We’ve had people challenge the establishment guy and do swimmingly.”
I'm not always in agreement with Norquist, but he's dead on here. Establishment candidates lost in Wisconsin and Michigan this year. Tea party candidates won Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Florida in 2010. Tea party won Texas in 2012. Tea party lost Indiana in 2012 and lost Nevada, Delaware, and Colorado in 2010. Establishment won Nevada in 2012 and Ohio in 2010. They were generally united in New Hampshire in 2010 and won. Good candidates are good candidates regardless of which wing of the party. Bad is bad regardless of which wing of the party. "Electable candidates" aren't such because of just ideology. That's DC thinking.
Who are the recent winners in a purple state like Wisconsin? Scott Walker and Ron Johnson. I'm sure Rove would consider them too right wing to win a Midwestern state. Tommy Thompson lost. He shouldn't have lost, but he lost, to Tammy Baldwin of all people. Here in Michigan, I personally like Pete Hoekstra. He's a good guy who unfortunately was not a good candidate. He ran for senate like he was talked into running and did so as a favor. He was the establishment pick. He won the primary underwhelmingly and we had Bouchard 2006 all over again in the general. Stabenow has a lot of soft support. There was an opening there, but the window shut quickly and it was all over before it started.
If Steven Law at Crossroads really wants to do this right and be actually pragmatic instead of being another NRSC racket (Chafee, Crist, Specter all over again), he'll need to learn the territory of these areas in depth. He'll need to talk to the experts on the group and learn from them. REAL experts - away from the DC bubble. These experts are those who understand how things work in each individual state - people that live there. If Law tells Rove and DC consultants to back off, this may work.
If Crossroads follows Rove's lead and pushes in, you're going to see state establishments, tea parties, conservatives, and everyone up and down the line unite - AGAINST Crossroads. Why? Turf wars. Arrogance combined with ignorance. Wasting money. How? Because candidates like Steve King in Iowa will drive up the Western Iowa vote with this line "Washington DC thinks they know what is best for Iowans. Vote for me and teach Washington establishment a lesson that primaries are for Iowans." That can work in every state.
1. Do these people have a good track record? Take a close look. While there's always many reasons why candidates sometimes lose, if you see the same style of campaign repeatedly with the same results, a pattern emerges.
2. Do I want my money spent on 3rd parties to elect republicans being wasted attacking good republicans in primaries? If I want that, I'd donate to the candidate itself or an issues PAC.
3. Will this committee spend my money properly? I hate wasting money. Some call me cheap, but I prefer the term frugal. It goes back to running a countywide committee on $1700 against $10K+. We won BTW.
That doesn't apply just to Crossroads and Rove, but any committee. We all need to use due diligence in our decision making in which committees deserve our support, be it establishment, tea party, or all points in between.