In my previous post On Karl Rove’s Fox Freakout I explained how we should be the ones freaking out if Rove, Bush’s brain and political strategist extraordinaire, had truly believed that Romney was going to win Ohio, back during the presidential election in November. It would mean that Rove had turned into a delusional ideologue instead of the opportunist that I had always judged him to be.
Thankfully, three months later I can confirm that Karl Rove is indeed an opportunist. I’ll eventually explain why I wrote “thankfully.” First, I want to explain why I think that he’s an opportunist. Rove’s latest project, the Conservative Victory Project, aims to neutralize the most extreme factions in the Republican party, which is a roundabout way of saying “the tea party.” Karl Rove, who can be accused of many things but not of being stupid, realizes that these extremists damaged the GOP’s chances of obtaining the majority in the Senate, in 2012, and that this type of candidate is a sure loser in general elections. So, he’s now ready to fight them.
However, back in 2010 and 2012, when he thought that stoking the fires of extremism would get him closer to his lifelong dream of a Republican permanent majority (the White House, Senate, and the House), he was willingly supporting these extremists. As he, himself, explained to Sean Hannity last Tuesday, “Crossroads is second to none in our support of tea party candidates.”
Incidentally, Rove’s appearance on Hannity, after tea party conservatives promised a swift backlash against Rove and his project was, at best, awkward. I’m not talking about the fact that this time he brought two whiteboards to make his point. Rove seemed agitated and a lot less sure of himself than usual as he pointed out that he’s not against tea party conservatives, and that he doesn’t want a fight. He explained that he’s just against those that make stupid comments, like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock (who he supported up to the point that they made the stupid comments, of course).
Rove’s demeanor and performance on the Hannity show is confirmation of the difficult position in which the Republican party finds itself today, hostage to the tea drunks. As a Democrat, this is both good and bad news. I will not deny that I’m having a ball witnessing the GOP’s infighting. Considering the lengths to which they have gone to divide our country, it is
poetic political justice to see the party so divided. But, I am saddened that our political process has been so damaged by a party whose extremism has kept it from compromise, from working collaboratively for the good of our country.
If Karl Rove, roving in whatever direction that will ensure his party a win, can succeed in weeding out the most extreme elements of the GOP, then this will greatly benefit the Republican party and our country. Personally, I think that it’s too late, but I’m thankful that he’s trying. I wouldn’t go as far as calling him brave as John Dickerson did on Slate. I still think that he’s a slimy, evil weasel who will do anything to win. But at least he’s not a die-hard ideologue. It’s impossible to get anything done with them, as we have seen in the past four years.
Now, seeing the kind of influence that the tea party holds on the GOP, it is highly probable that Rove’s project will produce the same type of extremists that we have been seeing who will have learned to keep their mouths shut. But seeing what the American voters did in 2012, the GOP will have to eventually compromise or it will die.
In the meantime, it is ironic to note that in order to get the Republican party to behave within the democratic principles that the founding fathers (who they so frequently cite) intended, we are looking to see what the unprincipled Karl Rove can accomplish. Perhaps the roving opportunist can lead his party and, eventually, our country to a functioning democracy after all.