Establishment GOP to Tea Party: That Thing You Keep Doing? Stop That.
I feel like I shouldn’t laugh, because this remains a good idea, despite being extremely belated; but a New York Times report has found that following Sharon Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Richard Mourdock, and Todd Akin, some GOP heavies (including Karl Rove) are assembling a super PAC with one simple goal: to save the Republican Party from itself.
A tricky business, yes. But I’m not sure that going about it so apologetically bodes well for its ultimate success:
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.
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.
“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”
I like that last line — “I don’t view myself as the guy who cleans up elephant dung at the circus, but I just want the circus’s elephants to be surrounded by as little fecal matter as possible” — and the way it speaks to the basic incoherence of this entire venture. Because despite whatever bells and whistles may come with the idea of running a super PAC, which still has something of an air of mystery and danger to it, the Conservative Victory Project is that most hoary of post-election readjustments. It’s “rebranding.”
Another way of putting it is to say the folks behind CVP think the Republican Party’s current ideology and policies are basically fine, it’s simply that they need to be paired with “better” messaging. Well, if patriotism is the last refuge of scoundrels, then talk about messaging is surely the last refuge of hack ideologues who sense their usefulness fast-decreasing but don’t have the mettle to challenge party orthodoxy, or otherwise imperil their mealticket. But, hey, what do I know; maybe voters will absolutely love the idea of God-ordained rape, just so long as it’s raised by someone with a prettier smile.