Over the weekend, The New York Times‘s Jeff Zeleny reported that the Republican establishment is taking quick strides – via a new political group created by strategist Karl Rove – to fix what they’ve taken to calling their “Todd Akin problem.” They’ll be giving support in Republican primaries to the candidates they see as most electable.
Former Rep. Todd Akin (R), as you may recall, was the 2012 Missouri Senate candidate who lost what was widely seen as a winnable race after he said that cases of “legitimate rape” rarely resulted in pregnancy. The remarks were widely ridiculed – including by many in Mr. Akin’s own party – and have been cited repeatedly by party bigwigs as examples of “stupid,” self-inflicted wounds that cost Republicans a chance at controlling the Senate.
Predictably, however, Mr. Rove’s effort is already being met with cries of outrage from tea party groups and others who see it as a misguided slap in the face to the base. They view Rove as a faux-conservative strategist who took the party in the wrong direction throughout the Bush years and spent an epic amount of money in 2012, only to see most of his candidates lose.
Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin called the move“doubling down on stupid” and added: “Who needs Obama and his Team Chicago to destroy the Tea Party when you’ve got Rove and his big government band of elites?” Likewise, RedState‘s Erick Erickson writes: “I dare say any candidate who gets this group’s support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement. They’ve made it really easy now to figure out who the terrible candidates will be in 2014.”
On the one hand, you’ve got Karl Rove and his merry band of fat cat, neo-con robber barons who in eight years of Bush nearly pancaked the country and then for an encore, essentially set a hundred million dollars on fire trying to take down Obama. Frankly, I’ve heard more inspiring stories from suicide hotlines.
On the other hand, you have an insurgent political movement fueled by paranoia, racial animus and misogyny so thick, they think “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is a cautionary tale about giving women access to computers.
It’s like watching a knife fight between Kim Kardashian and Lindsey Lohan. You can’t really root for either side. All you can do is marvel at the spectacle and make sure you don’t get splashed by the blood.
The good news is that this is a golden opportunity for progressives.
While the GOP is busy sodomizing itself, Democrats and third-party progressives (Yeah, Green Party. I’m looking at you. It’s your time to shine.) can swoop in and grab seats with a combination of having a strong economic, populist message and not being gun crazy, vagina hating assholes.
And the nice part is that most of the heavy lifting has already been done by your opponents opponents. All you have to do is show up with a positive message and the few salient negative talking points from the primary that you can easily reenforce.
There is an old Sicilian saying. “Never interfere with your enemy when he is attempting to destroy himself.”
If Karl Rove wants to try to destroy the GOP, let him do it.
He’s going to discover that the survivors are no more loved then the ones he pummeled.