Bush and Rove are back, and they're aiming at the Tea Party

Rove and Bush form new GOP PAC vs. Tea Party

February 6, 2013

Guess who’s back? And guess who’s decided to take the Republican civil war up a notch?

Karl Rove -- the man who had a meltdown on Fox on election night as each and every one of his candidates went down to defeat, the biggest loser of the 2012 elections -- has decided to take on the Tea Party. Joining him is no other than former President George W. Bush!

That’s right: After wasting tens of millions of dollars trying to put Mitt Romney in the White House and tip the Senate for what he has called “the real prize ... a permanent Republican majority,"  Rove and the President-Whose-Name-Shall-Not-Be-Spoken have determined that there’s a bigger enemy than Barack Obama, a bigger danger than gay-loving tax and send liberals -- the extreme right wing of the GOP that he manipulated and exploited for years. In other words, the Tea Party.

Oh, the irony!

Rove and Bush’s new PAC — yes, Rove now has a role in at least three major Republican PACs though it’s a first for Bush —  is the Conservative Victory Project. (How many PACs can one Republican dude direct? Apparently as many as he wants. )

But here’s what makes the Conservative Victory Project different: Instead of focusing on the general election, this one is aimed squarely establishment Republicans taking back their party’s primaries. The goal is to nominate "the most conservative candidate who can win” -- in other words, to keep the crazies out, to avoid the likes of Todd Akin and Richard Murdock, both of whom went down to defeat -- taking GOP Senate hopes with them -- after particularly loony comments about rape.

(The goal is probably broader than that: Establishment Republicans have been trying to marginalize Tea Partiers for months. In the House, Speaker John Boehner booted them from leadership positions and ignores their bills. Consider that Michelle Bachman’s bill to try and repeal Obamacare for the 34th time got exactly zero co-sponsors.)

Over at Breitbart.com, where the Tea Party perches, editor Ben Shapiro shot back immediately:  “It is American Crossroads and its ilk that have run the GOP into the ground. Spending millions of dollars on useless 30,000-ft. advertising campaigns during the last election cycle, training candidates to soften conservatism in order to appeal to ‘moderates,’ blowing up the federal budget under George W. Bush as a bipartisan tactic – all of those strategies led the party to a disastrous defeat in 2012. The Tea Party, which may nominate losers from time to time, also brought the Republicans their historic 2010 Congressional victory ... The Bush insider team that helped lead to the rise of Barack Obama insists that they, and only they, know the path to victory.”

First project up for Rove and Bush’s new group: To keep Iowa Congressman Steve King, a real wack job but a popular one, from grabbing the GOP nomination for the seat being vacated by Dem Tom Harkin, the state’s junior senator. Right now, King leads all comers in the GOP field by about 20 points but would likely fail in the general by about 10.

How wacky is King? Well, he didn’t just back Akin, he actually backed up what Akin said.