On the one side, you have Karl Rove, the Bush dynasty, John Boehner, and Mitt Romney. On the other, you have Michele Bachmann, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio. What am I talking about? The clash within the Republican Party.
Karl Rove and his ilk represent the old guard – the ones with power and now on the verge of losing power within the Republican Party. These are the establishment folk and they refuse to let go and allow a new breed of Republican to take the reins and lead the party into the future. Many refer to this particular variety of Republican as a “Rockefeller Republican,” a moderate, or a RINO (Republican In Name Only.) They support candidacies of people like Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Bob Dole, the Bushes, and Mitt Romney.
The establishment exemplified their attachment to moderate candidates in 1976 when Ronald Reagan took on Gerald Ford for the nomination in the GOP primary. A battle ensued and a delegate race unfolded at the Convention. As history notes, Reagan lost, but not after putting up a valiant effort to dethrone the establishment moderate. History also notes that Gerald Ford lost miserably to Jimmy Carter who is unarguably, the worst president this nation has ever had, sans Barack Obama. Four years later, Reagan once again found himself battling the establishment when the primary race came down to him and George Bush, Sr. Luckily for the nation, Reagan was able to overcome the moderates and in 1980 he trounced Carter with a landslide victory not seen since George Washington’s victory. Reagan defeated Carter by taking 44 states and securing 489 of the 538 electoral votes – that’s an 84% victory! In 1984, Reagan crushed Mondale even worse than the 1980 clock cleaning. Reagan took every state but Mondale’s home state of Minnesota, and the District of Columbia (big shocker there.) That was a 525 electoral victory to Mondale’s 13 – a staggering 98% victory! Only George Washington can claim a victory greater than that, but of course, who in the world would have voted against Washington in the first Presidential election?
Set against the RINOs of the Republican Party are the Tea Partiers. They are the upstarts, the ones who wish to bring Conservatism back to the country. They carry the mantle of the Constitution with their philosophies and ideals. They wish to unseat the unprincipled moderates who “go along to get along” with the Democrats. The Tea Partiers want to bring a code of ethics and steadfast values back to the Republican Party, just as Ronald Reagan did in 1980.
Karl Rove, through his American Crossroads Super-PAC however, has taken aim at the Tea Party and its members. He and Steven Law laid out their strategy in an interview last week. The New York Times’ Politics section wrote that “[t]he group’s plans…call for hard-edge campaign tactics, including television advertising, against” those that don’t quite view things the way Rove and his compatriots do. What is most interesting here to me is that Rove and others seem uninterested in the fact that Ronald Reagan, the first modern Tea Partier before there was a modern Tea Party, garnered the greatest landslide victory in American history since George Washington took 100% of the vote in 1788. Rove laments the Senate candidacies of Christine O’Donnell who unseated then Republican Senator Castle but ultimately lost the general election, and Sharon Angle who failed to defeat Senator Reid in the general. With those losses, and some similar in the 2012 elections, the Senate stayed in Democrat control.
Rove and Law do not seem to mention that had their people won in 2012, the Democrats would still control the Senate but the Republicans would have more Republican seats in the hands of moderate RINOs. What do moderate seats mean? They mean more capitulation, more appeasement, and more “togetherness” with Senate Democrats. While working together may seem good on the surface, it means compromising principle and retreating from your values in order to get along. Furthermore, Rove and Law don’t mention the great things that have come from the Tea Party – the Republican victory in the House in 2010 that gave John Boehner the Speakership; Marco Rubio in the Senate in 2010; and now Ted Cruz there in 2012, and lots more. The Tea Party Caucus in the house consists of 49 Republican members (over 11% of the House membership, and over one-fifth of the make-up of all House Republicans) with Michele Bachmann at the helm.
Rove has decided that it is more important to win an election and gain control than it is to stand on principle – look where that mentality has gotten us today. Rove refuses to learn from the past even though his mentality is firmly rooted there. Political Scientists and Pollsters like Rove believe that the way to win an election is through moderation of message in the general election. The problem I see with that is that we are living in a time of paradigm shift. The rules of the old world do not work in this new one. We are becoming more polarized in our ideologies and more critical of the representatives that we elect. Just as the rules that governed strategy and national defense in the late 1800s failed to meet the new paradigm of Colonialism and diplomacy in Europe in the early 1900s that ultimately caused WWI; so are the rules that governed politics in the 1990s going to cause a massive upheaval in the Republican Party today. Unless, that is, the moderates can accept the inevitable change that comes with time and this new standard for how things work. The moderate RINOs of the Party must yield to this new standard. They must accept the inevitability of change that has come to the Republican Party, just as it did to Europe in the 1900s.
I ask that those of you that are Conservatives, who are Tea Partiers, and most importantly those of you who wish for the Republican Party to remain intact, call your representatives and tell them that you do not agree with this war Karl Rove, Steven Law, and the American Crossroads Super-PAC has declared on you! Tell them that you support a new Republican Party that embraces the ideals of the Constitution; a Party that stands on principle and does not give up ground just to get along with the Democrats or the media. Tell them that you support Conservatism and not moderation, just as Reagan did.