The fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party heated up this weekend as David Brooks, whose columns at The New York Times occasionally knock the freedom movement, claimed that the establishment would eventually triumph:
“I think it’s the beginning of a longer-lasting thing,” Brooks said. “There’s been a lot of calls for Republicans to change. And we have seen that from everybody to Paul Ryan to Marco Rubio. Now we’re beginning to see the donor class really begin to change. There is some question: Are they trying to change just the candidates, so they don’t get Todd Akin, or they trying to actually change some of the substance? And, so far, it seems to be just the candidates. One of the interesting things — and I can’t say I know the answer to this — is, how much will the tea party fight back? There has been some effort that they are saying, oh, the establishment is taking over.”
“But my own sense of things so far is that there is not the will to fight among the tea party, and that a lot of people in the tea party are, frankly — they’re not,” he continued. “They are also Republicans. Say, Rush Limbaugh, for example, who is not tea party. He’s more an establishment Republican who wants the Republican Party to win. So I have a feeling that the establishment is going to have maybe an easier time of it than some might think.”
The comments come after Karl Rove and American Crossroads launched a new political action committee, the Conservative Victory Project, that is aimed at helping more middle of the road candidates against conservative challengers. Steven Law, President of American Crossroads, recently told The New York Times that the group was in the business of “pick[ing] the most conservative candidate who can win.”
While that may seem relatively innocuous, Matt Kibbe, President and CEO of FreedomWorks, explained that the only way that can be done is to redefine the word “conservative.”
“I think the definition of ‘competitive candidate’ — the ‘conservative that can win’ — is very much up for reinterpretation when Rove gets involved,” Kibbe said last week on MSNBC’s Hardball. “Because remember, he thought that Arlen Specter was the most conservative man for the job in Pennsylvania, he thought Charlie Crist was in Florida, he thought David Dewhurst was in Texas.
Defending conservative candidates who run in primaries, Kibbe explained, “And our view is that if you combine a candidate with a core set of fiscal conservative values that are authentic with the practical skills to communicate and to run a statewide campaign, that’s how we repopulate the Republican Party — that’s how we get to majority.”
The types of “conservatives,” using the term loosely, that Rove has liked in the past eventually became Democrats. The late Sen. Arlen Specter switched parties after it was clear that he wouldn’t win a primary challenge by now-Sen. Pat Toomey. He went on to cast votes for the 2009 stimulus and ObamaCare.
Charlie Crist realized he couldn’t defeat Marco Rubio in the 2010 GOP primary for the Senate, so he ran — and lost — as an Independent instead. Crist changed his party affiliation to Democrat in December and is expected to run for Governor.
What Rove and company call “electable conservatives” are really just power-hungry politicians who are willing to do anything to get elected. There are no real convictions. That’s not surprising because, after all, this is politics. But if we keep electing the same, middle of the road candidates who continue to sell out their constituents and the rest of the country for sake of political power, we’ll never bring the country back on a sustainable fiscal path.
Americans are sick of politics as usual and the cheap rhetoric employed by mainstream Republicans like Rove and Brooks. These guys, not the freedom movement, are why the GOP is losing elections.