The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party’s efforts to win control of the Senate.By now, the storyline that Rove is feeding on is familiar: Republicans would be in charge of the Senate if it weren't for the fact that the Republican establishment stood on the sidelines while their party's nutty base nominated fringe candidates like Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, Todd Akin in Missouri, and Richard Mourdock in Indiana.
The group, the Conservative Victory Project, is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles. It is the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races. [...]
The Conservative Victory Project, which is backed by Karl Rove and his allies who built American Crossroads into the largest Republican super PAC of the 2012 election cycle, will start by intensely vetting prospective contenders for Congressional races to try to weed out candidates who are seen as too flawed to win general elections.
So now under the helpful guidance of Karl and his gang, the adults are going prevent the crazy children from screwing things up and they'll be generously funded by the big money donors who are finally ready take back control of their party. As a result, GOPers will start winning Senate elections again and Republicans will live happily ever after.
Problem is, that's a fairy tale.
First, the GOP establishment didn't sit on the sidelines. Take Sharron Angle, for example. Yes, she was a terrible, nutty candidate who was doomed to defeat. But let's not forget that the candidate she defeated in the primary, former Nevada GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden, not only had the support of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, but had about $4 million to spend in the primary—more than three times as much as Angle. Moreover, Lowden was a truly awful candidate. You might remember her as the moron who suggested that Nevadans pay their doctors with chickens. She probably would have lost to Harry Reid as well.
Obviously, there's a big difference between the Dick Lugars and Mike Castles of the world and the Sue Lowdens of the world, but the point is that (a) the establishment wasn't sitting on the sidelines and (b) Republicans would not have won every seat that the establishment candidate lost. In fact, in 2012 there were three great examples of establishment candidates who won the GOP nomination yet still lost the general: Rep. Denny Rehberg in Montana, Rep. Rick Berg in North Dakota, and, of course, Mitt Romney. And conservatives who elected Senators like Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul have plenty to be happy about when it comes to achieving their vision of a more perfectly neanderthal Republican Party.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the Sharron Angles and Ted Cruzes of the world have been great for the GOP or the country—it's just not clear to me that they are any worse than Karl Rove. Let's not forget, Karl Rove's crowning achievement was the election and re-election of George W. Bush, and of those two elections, he only managed to get more votes than the other guy once. Even worse, he saddled the GOP with Bush. Does anybody think the GOP is better off today because John McCain lost in 2000? And beyond Bush, Rove oversaw the GOP wipeout of 2006, did nothing in 2008 or 2010, and in 2012 blew hundreds of millions on crappy Senate ads.
So I guess what I'm saying is that if Karl Rove says he's got a plan, and that plan involves big money Republicans throwing obscene amounts of cash at him, then I'm all for that plan. Because if history is any guide, it's going to be a complete bust.