Karl Rove vs. the Tea Party: heads progressives win, tails conservatives lose

Whee! Now this is fun.

Here’s a quote from a letter from two dozen conservative leaders reported in an article by Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times.

“You obviously mean to have a war with conservatives and the Tea Party,” the letter said. “Let it start here.”

Nice allusion to Lexington and Concord there, lads.

A letter to Obama? Pelosi? Reid? Oh no, that is a letter to Karl Rove’s PAC, American Crossroads, which recently announced a plan to fund “electable” Republican candidates. Not surprisingly, the whack jobs that dominate the Tea Party/Dixiecrat/Know-Nothing wing of the Republican Party view this as a direct assault on them. Because it is.

Of course, this is fabulous news for Democrats. They continue to bumble along without really doing much to tackle big issues like income inequity, excessive growth of entitlement or rampant militarization and military over-expansion, bumbling which should earn them a swift kick in the rear end from the electorate. But wait, the people charged with drawing up the “Kick me” sign can’t get it together to pin it on the Dems because they are too busy scratching and clawing each other.

This is a win/win for Progressives. If Rove and his ilk win out, then the Republicans send some rational and responsible lawmakers to Washington. Or at least as rational and responsible as those guys can get. Remember, Cheney and Gingrich are examples of the rational and responsible wing of the party. If they lose, then the Republicans continue to put up unelectable punching bags like Mourdock, Akin, O’Donell and the guy below, Paul Broun.

“In Georgia, the contest to fill the seat of Senator Saxby Chambliss, a Republican who is retiring, drew its first contender on Wednesday as Representative Paul Broun announced his intention to run. His candidacy was welcomed more by Democrats than Republicans in Washington, largely because of a string of comments Mr. Broun has made that worry his party’s leaders about whether he has the discipline and broad appeal to win a general election.

Mr. Broun, a physician on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, attracted attention last fall for saying that “evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory — all of that is lies straight from the pit of hell.””

Admittedly, “unelectable” nutbag is a reach when we’re talking about Alabama and Arizona and other states that have shown stunningly bad judgment in the past.  Still, if you’re a Democrat, you have to be doing a little happy dance right now.

7 replies »

  1. Wait! I knew Braun said those things, but I did not know he was a physician. How can that be – a physician NOT acknowledging evolution?? More importantly, does he still have a license to practice medicine? On people??

  2. Let’s see – the greedy oligarchs take on the criminally disturbed to see whether the Americans revere greed or idiotic religiosity more….Can’t wait for quotes we should get out of these exchanges….Neil Postman is right – comedians simply can’t be as funny as politicians anymore….

  3. All true and I agree this is positive as any tectonic split on the right between the know-nothings and fat cat billionaires is good news. But electing Rove-friendly characters, still many wingnuts, doesn’t change the overall party frames or messages, as I argue in this essay depicting how Rove social wedges are still the fallback for almost all Republicans. True, Tea Party fanatics overplay them but it’s really more a matter of degree than quality, and more ultra-extremists will influence some nasty legislation (and votes) without having a change to stop abortion or opposition to all tax increases. I fear that Rove’s opposition may well drive some party wingnuts rightward and won’t that be fun in the Senate. In any case, here’s an essay that tries to give context to what still drives almost all of the deluded right, Rove’s and otherwise.


    • Good post. But I think there are two points here getting comingled.

      1. Republicans believe that people really love old, white, greedy, nasty men and the whole thing is they have bad advertising. They don’t get that issue is the product sucks. I think you nailed that one.

      2. They have build a coalition basically on hate. I’ll hate on yours if you’ll hate on mine. Thus southern haters of blacks find common cause with western haters of government controls on public lands and rich haters of paying their fair share, etc, etc.

      My post argues anything that fractures this coalition is basically a good thing. You argue that it might not be because it will drive some further rightward.

      First, I doubt it. That implicitly assumes that the ultra-right is somehow tempered by their association with the almost-ultra-right (Rove,) which I doubt. As you point out, Rovians are still nasty assholes.

      Second, so what? This is a little bit like those folks I know who will jump into a 12 foot deep pool but are afraid to swim off a boat in the ocean because it’s 4000 feet deep. Anything over 6 foot will drown you, so that extra 3994 feet doesnt matter. Those guys are going to vote against progress no matter what, so it doesnt really matter how much they foam at the mouth when they do it.

      • We agree far more than we don’t. I do think there are radical TP types in backward states that prosper by opposing unprincipled establishment forces like Rove, and a pitched battle may well raise some Akins and Mourdocks by giving them a media leg up and a new enemy to hate. Resentment of outsiders ties in with core TP resentment.

        Judging by the push to Rubio and Ted Cruz types, there will be some shift from simply backing old gringos. I think the right believes in ideology and god-given righteousness and that will over time transcend superficial tribal distinctions.

        On the whole, I agree that splitting the party, or having costly, divisive primaries, will only advance knuckle-headed, spineless Democrats, but a hardline Blue Dog helps the majority but is still a backward and dim bulb (WV’s Manchin will do).

        I don’t hope for big legislative moves this Congress, but it would be positive if Obama and the Democrats grabbed the openings as they begin to on economics, even gun control. Betting on Obama audacity is not one I will make.



        • I’m with you.

          Let me agree violently.

          “Unprincipled” is a good way to describe Rove. I always am reminded of those slugs Dick Morris, Joe Lieberman, and Zell Miller, who didn’t really care what the party stands for as much as they do which is the best vehicle for their personal agenda. I’d wager that Rove would flip sides in a heartbeat if the money was right. Hell, Jindal flipped religions to make himself more electable (as did Harry Reid for that matter.)

          “Superficial tribal distinctions.” Nice description. Yes, here we go again. The GOP leadership thinks “we are losing ground with blacks, let’s go find some tokens like Michael Steele and Alan Keyes and that bizarro pizza dude from Atlanta who’s name I’ve already forgotten.” But then the ones that stick to the script have no impact on swaying voters because they aren’t that dumb, and the ones that won’t stick to the script get chased out, e.g., Steele. Now they’re looking for mocha shills and have come up with Jindal and Rubio. I can’t believe it will work any better.

          Obama: “Small” change you can believe in.