Last week, former Bush advisor Karl Rove and other establishment Republicans decided to found a new organization to help Republicans win races in 2014 and beyond. Apparently ignoring their poor rate of success in 2012 (though, admittedly, candidates like former Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) did themselves in), these money-rich and principle-poor Republicans are focusing on preventing what the organization’s spokesperson called “undisciplined candidates and sub-par campaigns.”
Tea Party Patriots National Coordinator Jenny Beth Martin has already responded to Rove’s efforts, pointing out that Rove is more concerned with lining his pockets than saving the country. The Daily Caller’s Jim Antle has also responded, pointing out the lengthy failure of Rove Republicanism:
Would Barack Obama even be president without George W. Bush?
After all, the Rove Republicans’ claim to fame is getting Bush elected twice. (Albeit by losing the popular vote to Al Gore and getting just 51 percent against President Obama’s new Secretary of State John Kerry.) For the GOP, however, these turned out to be costly victories.
For two years, Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. They held 55 seats in the Senate. What do conservatives have to show for unified GOP control of the federal government?
John Roberts, who after the Obamacare ruling is looking like much more of a mixed bag, and Sam Alito on the Supreme Court.
Bush boasted of his political capital after the 2004 election. But he spent much of it on failed immigration amnesties. Social Security reform went nowhere. Free-market health care reform and an effort to tame the reckless monetary policies inflating the housing bubble — which would burst painfully on Bush’s watch — weren’t even attempted.
The tax cuts and the pro-life policies came in the first term. So did No Child Left Behind, which ballooned the Department of Education, and the deficit-funded Medicare prescription drug benefit.
That’s not all Antle highlights:
Thanks to the quagmire in Iraq and second-term Bushie bumbling, Democrats retook Congress in 2006 and enlarged their majorities in 2008. Despite a unified country after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the most Republican federal government since Hoover was president, Bush’s legacy was nation-building, budget-busting deficits, bigger spending than Bill Clinton, bailing out the Wall Street banks, and Katrina.
The Iraq war, with its missing weapons of mass destruction, destroyed a Republican advantage on foreign policy that existed since Richard Nixon trounced George McGovern. The financial meltdown at the end of the Bush presidency was the final nail in the coffin for GOP credibility on the economy gained during Ronald Reagan’s boom years.
Antle closes with this simple truth:
When trying to determine what ails the GOP, Bush-Rove Republicans should look in the mirror.
Antle’s piece is definitely worth reading in full, but the above sections highlight just how out of touch the Rove-connected establishment wing of the Republican Party. Have some Tea Party-minded candidates for national office run weak campaigns? Absolutely. Have some been undisciplined? Of course. However, Antle notes that Tea Party-minded candidates in Congress (Senators Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Pat Toomey, to name but a few) are doing far more good for the GOP and the country than their establishment opponents would have – remember, Senator Toomey’s opponent left the party. He also reminds readers that in 2012 it was establishment and non-Tea Party candidates who took heavy losses in general elections, including Wisconsin and North Dakota.
Karl Rove has struggled to remain relevant in the post-Bush GOP. His last effort failed, and if his shortsightedness continues with this new effort, there’s no reason to think he’ll succeed.