Let’s Go No More a-Rovin’ with Karl Rove

February 14th, 2013

By Dan Miller

The verb “to rove” has a lot to do with Karl Rove and with what he is trying — successfully — to do for to the Republican Party.

Karl Rove

A short history of Karl Rove is provided here. I won’t repeat it beyond saying that he is screwing what’s left of the Republican Party and trying to turn it into the Republican-Lite Party with as few conservatives as possible and none without his blessing. Big tent? Like the circus? Maybe, but first we should get rid of the clowns and send in strong, intelligent and articulate elephants and capable donkey tamers instead. That was part of the thrust of my February 7th article entitled What’s Wrong with the Tea Party?

As noted elsewhere,

Yesterday, the New York Times reported that the “biggest donors in the Republican Party” have joined forces with Karl Rove and Steven J. Law, president of American Crossroads, to create the Conservative Victory Project. The Times reports that this new group will dedicate itself 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 effort to win control of the Senate.” The group points to candidates like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware and Richard Mourdock in Indiana as examples of Tea Party primary picks going sideways in major Senatorial battles.

But it is American Crossroads and its ilk that have run the GOP into the ground. Spending millions of dollars on useless 30,000-ft. advertising campaigns during the last election cycle, training candidates to soften conservatism in order to appeal to “moderates,” blowing up the federal budget under George W. Bush as a bipartisan tactic – all of those strategies led the party to a disastrous defeat in 2012. The Tea Party, which may nominate losers from time to time, also brought the Republicans their historic 2010 Congressional victory. If Tea Party candidates lose, it’s because they weren’t good candidates; if GOP establishment candidates lose, it’s because they weren’t good conservatives. The choice for actual conservatives should be easy.

According to Conservative Read,

Rove is no conservative.

If you give him credit for believing in the policies and nominations he helped Bush make and defend, then Rove was wrong on the constitutionally appropriate role of the federal government, wrong on foreign policy, wrong on immigration and wrong on a crucial nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2000, George W. Bush ran for president not as a conservative, but as a “compassionate conservative.” This was presumably because unadulterated conservatives are not compassionate.

But to take the term “compassionate conservative” seriously, one must assume that a person in political office deserves credit for showing compassion when he employs the coercive power of the state to take money from one person and give it to another. (Emphasis added.)

Weekly Standard editor Fred Barnes coined a more candid, if oxymoronic, description of the Bush-Rove approach to government. In a 2003 commentary in The Wall Street Journal, Barnes said Bush was “a big government conservative.” Big government conservatives, Barnes explained, “simply believe in using what would normally be seen as liberal means — activist government — for conservative ends. And they’re willing to spend more and increase the size of government in the process.”

In fact, conservatives believe the proper end of all federal elected officials is to preserve the limits on government that are spelled out in our Constitution and that protect the God-given rights of individuals against an overreaching state. (Emphasis added.)

See also No More Karl Rove Candidates.

Reading a February 13th National Review article, it seems obvious that Mr. Rove does not advance the “Buckley Rule” of supporting “the rightwardmost viable candidate.”

We all understand that it is Karl Rove’s mission to promote the Republican party. It was the mission of Bill Buckley to promote the conservative cause. There should be no confusion between the two.

We seem to have lost what has become a disgraceful modern culture.

Just saying “good riddance” won’t work. We need to find ways to change that culture. Promoting what’s left of the Republican-Lite Party will not do that. Fielding and supporting “the rightwardmost viable candidates” — rather than disparaging them and their kind — may help to change the culture and at this point we have little to lose. Simply having taken a Republican label is not a sufficient reason to support a Republican-Lite candidate. We neither need nor want Mr. Rove and should no more go a-rovin’ with him.

Here are some lyrics. There are many versions, some more bawdy than others, but this sums up the plot nicely.

In Amsterdam there lived a maid,
Mark well what I do say,
In Amsterdam there lived a maid
And she was mistress of her trade.

One night I crept from my abode
To meet this fair maid down the road.

I met this fair maid after dark
An’ took her to her favorite park

I put me arm around her waist
Sez she, “Young man yer in great haste!”

I put me hand upon her knee,
Sez she, “Young man, yer rather free!”

I put my hand upon her thigh,
Sez she, “Young man, yer awful high!”

I towed her to the Maiden’s Breast,
From south the wind veered wes’sou’west.

An’ the eyes in her head turned east an’ west,
And her thoughts wuz as deep as an ol’ sea-chest.

We had a drink — of grub a snatch
We sent two bottles down the hatch

Her dainty arms were white as milk,
Her lovely hair was soft as silk.

Her heart was poundin’ like a drum
Her lips wuz red as any plum.

We laid down on a grassy patch,
An’ I felt like such a ruddy ass.

She pushed me over on my back,
She laughed so hard her lips did crack.

She swore that she’d be true to me,
But spent me pay-day fast and free.

In three weeks time I wuz badly bent
Then off to sea I sadly went.

In a bloodboat Yank bound round Cape Horn,
Me boots an’ clothes wuz all in pawn.

Bound round Cape Stiff through ice and snow
An’ up the coast of Callyo.

An’ then back to the Liverpool Docks,
Saltpetre stowed in our boots an’ socks.

Now when I got back home from sea,
A soldier had her on his knee.

Mr. Rove has been emulating the seductress who, mistress of her trade, gets rewarded while the Republican Party assumes the position of the wayward sailor who only gets screwed. His seduction having succeeded, Mistress Karl moves on to continue granting his favors to more “Reach across the isle” Republicans-Lite candidates and pushing to get them elected or (more likely) re-elected to yield to the next Democrat President and to do as the new massa of the Democrat Plantation directs; its the cool bipartisan way. Even the “legitimate media” may approve. That can provide no solace to conservatives.

A mutually beneficial and lasting relationship? No way, Jose, and that’s what we need.

Here’s a link to a PJTV Next Generation TV video with LTC (ret.) Allen West. During his first appearances at Next Generation, Colonel West sounded unlike himself and looked as though he didn’t quite know what to do beyond getting through a memorized speech. He has loosened up a lot. He now sounds and looks almost like the old Allen West, and I hope that he becomes our President before it’s too late. I wish I could embed the video here, but it’s not yet available on YouTube.

Mad hatter pours tea

Karl Rove’s view of the Tea (non) Party and conservatives in general

(This article was also posted at Dan Miller’s Blog.)

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4 Responses to “Let’s Go No More a-Rovin’ with Karl Rove”

  1. Tom Carter |

    The first rule of politics is “Get elected!” If a candidate can’t manage that, nothing else matters. That’s the foundation of the Buckley Rule.

    The term “Tea Party” is often used to refer to the far right of the Republican Party. I’m not sure that’s valid, but let’s go with it. So-called Tea Party candidates, chosen more for ideological purity than electability, have caused the Repubicans to lose at least three Senate seats in recent years. In 2010, one of those poor candidates kept the Republicans from unseating the serving Senate Majority Leader, a coup of massive proportions. So what does a Rove-averse Tea Partier say to that — too bad, but that goofy Sharron Angle was a far right-winger, and that’s good enough for me?

    Contrast that with Ted Cruz, recently elected to the Senate from Texas. Much loved by the Tea Party, yes, but most of all a strong, electable candidate. I think that’s what Rove et al. want — the most conservative electable candidate. (Did I just hear Mr. Buckley muttering “Right on!” from the grave?)

    So, to purists on the far right who value ideology over all else, I would simply say that if you want to guarantee Democratic dominance in Congress and maybe the White House for decades to come, keep it up.

  2. Dan Miller |

    The first rule of politics is “Get elected!”

    Fine! Then let’s all push for a third term for President Obama and for an amendment to the Constitution to that end. He would most likely win with no strong conservative and credible candidate to oppose him — as he did in 2008 and 2012.

    As I tried to point out by citing an article at National Review,

    We all understand that it is Karl Rove’s mission to promote the Republican party. It was the mission of Bill Buckley to promote the conservative cause. There should be no confusion between the two.

    You say,

    So, to purists on the far right who value ideology over all else, I would simply say that if you want to guarantee Democratic dominance in Congress and maybe the White House for decades to come, keep it up.

    Ideology? Of course. That — along with policies and actions consistent with it — were and should be the principal differences between the parties. Mr. Rove apparently wants an ideology thrown in a blender and merged, making Republicans fungible or nearly so with Democrats. That seems likely to produce little of the choice that many want and ultimately to lead to the creation of a viable third party, an alternative which I think may be necessary.

  3. Tom Carter |

    Dan, to say “Then let’s all push for a third term for President Obama….” implies that there is no electable conservative available. I don’t think that’s true.

    I don’t think there’s any conflict between the ideas of a successful Republican Party and the conservative cause. That’s unless, of course, the conservative cause is limited to the far right wing with no tolerance of less extreme conservatives.

    I’ll bet you a case of your favorite rum that there’ll be no viable third party in 2014 or 2016 (or thereafter, for that matter). The only effort we’ve had that even came close in the past century was Ross Perot’s party, and all they did was help (if not ensure) Bill Clinton’s victory over George H.W. Bush. A third party might get a few people elected to Congress, but unless they became part of the Republican Caucus, they would be powerless and would likely deny Republican majorities.

  4. Dan Miller |


    I won’t take that bet because the way things are going there will indeed be no “viable” (as you seem to use the word, see below) third party in 2014 or 2016 or anytime soon. To gripe and moan are easy; getting something like that started and making it eventually “viable” are hard work and I have seen little evidence that such work is being or will soon be done.

    As I have written several times, a conservative party that could caucus with the Republicans and occasionally with the Democrats could make a difference, particularly on close issues.

    Will an “electable conservative” be available in 2014 or 2016? As President? Much depends on what “electable” and “conservative” mean. You say,

    The first rule of politics is “Get elected!” If a candidate can’t manage that, nothing else matters. That’s the foundation of the Buckley Rule.

    Not exactly. As observed in the linked NRO article, Mr. Buckley wanted “the rightwardmost viable candidate,” and “viable” did not necessarily mean “likely to win.”

    We all knew what “viable” meant in Bill’s lexicon. It meant somebody who saw the world as we did. Somebody who would bring credit to our cause. Somebody who, win or lose, would conservatize the Republican party and the country. It meant somebody like Barry Goldwater. (And so it came to pass. For the next 40 years, the GOP nominated and elected men from the West and the South. Nixon won twice, Reagan twice, the Bushes thrice. Only in recent cycles has the GOP reverted to its habit of nominating “moderates” favored by the establishment. Dole, McCain, Romney — all of them were admired by the fashionable media until they won the GOP nomination, at which point they were abandoned in favor of the liberal nominated by the Democrats.)

    Bill Buckley was careful with words. If he had opted on that June day for the words “rightwardmost electable candidate,” we would all have recognized it as a victory for Team Rockefeller. And life might look very different today. If there had been no Goldwater, National Review might not have become so influential, and if there had been no Goldwater, no National Review, there might have been no Reagan.

    Hence, Mr. Buckley supported Goldwater’s candidacy over that of Rockefeller. Rockefeller had several advantages.

    First, Rockefeller was running well ahead of Goldwater in the trial-heat polls against incumbent Lyndon Johnson. Second, Rockefeller was an Ivy Leaguer, a well-connected establishmentarian, a sophisticated candidate who could expect more positive treatment from the eastern press. Third, Rockefeller had the financial resources. (Even Rusher conceded this point.) Fourth, the influence of Rockefeller’s family was marbled through institutional New York — Wall Street, medicine, the real-estate moguldom, big philanthropy, a rainbow array of well-endowed ethnic and racial groups, the cultural centers. (Every New York museum worth visiting seemed to be chaired by one Rockefeller or another.) Burnham’s political point? As governor of a northeastern state, Rockefeller could put at least parts of the region in play, a rare and highly valuable asset for any GOP hopeful.

    . . . .

    [In] 1965, he reaffirmed his position by running in New York City as a third-party conservative against a highly electable Republican. I can tell you as the manager of that campaign that there was never a single day, from our first planning meeting in February until the polls closed in November, that Bill considered himself even remotely electable. But viable? Absolutely. He was the best candidate in the country to carry the conservative message into the heart of American liberalism. And for those who needed further reinforcement of the point, five years later Bill’s brother, James, ran for the U.S. Senate as a third-party candidate against a mainstream-Republican incumbent.

    I think it more important now to begin to nudge the culture rightward away from its leftward drift than to win an election with a Republican-Lite, librul-lite, conservative-lite candidate. That does not require a “far right wing [candidate] with no tolerance of less extreme conservatives.” I wouldn’t want one of those either.

    As I suggested in the article, I think LTC West could do well as “the rightwardmost viable candidate” for President. Might he win? That now seems unlikely but many things may well change between now and November of 2016. However, if he were simply able to nudge enough people away from the Democrat plantation and to develop coattails long, strong and big enough to help enough rightward leaning congressional candidates to win and generate a reasonably strong legislative branch tilting a bit to the right that would be a good start.

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