Karl Rove surprises few in Fla. by picking fight with tea party

Tea PartyThe battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party has begun, and at the center is none other than one-time political mastermind Karl Rove.

For those of us who saw this coming last summer, such a revelation is of little surprise.

“On one side is the Tea Party,” Breitbart.com’s Ben Shapiro wrote in an analysis Sunday. “On the other side stand Karl Rove and his establishment team, posing as tacticians while quietly undermining conservatism.”

Shapiro’s commentary came in response to a New York Times report that Rove and Steven J. Law, president of American Crossroads, have joined forces with the “biggest donors in the Republican Party” to create the Conservative Victory Project.

The group’s goal is 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 Times reported.

Shapiro identified Christine O’Donnell of Delaware and Richard Mourdock of Indiana as prime examples of tea party candidates who “complicate” Republican efforts.

While I don’t disagree with the premise of Shapiro’s argument, I say, Where have you been?

In the spirit of Patrick Henry, I submit the early gale had already swept up from the south, bringing to your ears the clash of resounding arms! Your brethren are already in the field. Why stand ye here idle?

Truth be known, for those of us paying attention, the “battle for the heart and soul of the Republican Party” began in earnest last summer in the John Mica/Sandy Adams congressional primary race in Central Florida.

After redistricting, the old-guard Mica inexplicably abandoned what represented the bulk of his previous district, newly drawn congressional District 6, to force a Republican vs. Republican battle in District 7 by taking on tea party favorite Adams, who had already announced her intentions to run there.

It was a decision The New York Times called “a slightly curious choice as more of Mr. Mica’s constituents will be in an adjoining district.”

But for Mica and his establishment Republican backers, more was on the line than a single race.

“The Mica-Adams clash was one of the most closely watched Republican primaries in the country, as it became another front in the national battle over the direction of the GOP,” the Orlando Sentinel noted at the time.

Adams was heavily supported by the tea party, earning endorsements from former Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin, the national Tea Party Express and fellow freshmen lawmakers like then-Rep. Allen West, while Mica was supported by more entrenched politicians like himself.

“There is no question that in this race there are two directions. One is for more government spending and one is for less government spending,” said Erick Erickson, the managing editor of RedState and an Adams supporter.

When he prevailed in the August match-up, a jubilant Mica, then-chairman of the powerful House Transportation Committee, said:

“They said that this race was about the heart and soul of the Republican Party… I’m here to tell you tonight that the heart and soul of the Republican Party is doing fine here in Central Florida.”

With the race framed as a battle for the future of the GOP, Mica could clearly declare victory on behalf of the old-guard Republican establishment.

An establishment represented by Karl Rove.

Yet, even with the national attention, the heavily contested race and Mica’s “coup de grace” seemed to fly under the radar for many in the conservative movement. Conservatives like Shaprio.

The Times article suggested Rove’s Conservative Victory Project “will challenge sitting Congresspeople of the Tea Party variety,” but the Mica race proves such actions were already well underway. As for Shapiro’s sudden awakening, we on the front lines welcome the reinforcements.

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Tom Tillison

Tom is a grassroots activist who distinguished himself as one of the top conservative bloggers in Florida before joining BizPac Review.He can be reached at TomTillisonFL@gmail.com
About Tom Tillison

Tom is a grassroots activist who distinguished himself as one of the top conservative bloggers in Florida before joining BizPac Review. He can be reached at TomTillisonFL@gmail.com

  • William C.

    Tom, our system is so corrupt and so entrenched I fear we are fooling ourselves if we believe we can change it. The slimy Karl Rove's of the party will always have the support of the party and the elected elite. They just are not good people.

  • http://www.condorsolutions.net Bob Bush

    Carl Rove represents all that is wrong with the Republican Party. He is more of a party partiisan than a patriot. I believe hisefforts would be better spent working with Charie Christ on his anticipated next run for office.

  • Gregory Fournier

    The battle for the Republican party began with the Adams/Mica race? Only four of the 16 Senate candidates endorsed by the Tea Party Express won. Allen West lost in a much more public race than the Adams/Mica race. I recognize there is an on going continuation of the fight between the old guard and all of the new blood that came in since 2010, but I see no evidence at all that Mica should not have run in the 7th nor is there any conspiracy that the Adams/Mica race was some predetermined set up to pit two political philosophy's against eachother.

    While I do support Tea party goals and conservative values it's the tactics deployed that are the conservatives worst enemy. Conservatives as well as Republicans have lost the culture war and the war of words. In that it has pitted the two against eachother perpatrated by a press that desire to keep the two infighting and both are (as usual) buying into it.

    Both philosophys desire to get candidates elected. The rift in many regards is the way both desire to get it done and for whom. More than that though is both want to basically be the big dog on the block. As Congress can't seem to work together neither can conservatives and Republicans. I agree Rove isn't helping matters any.

  • KB Cook

    Rove's gone off the reservation … leave him there

  • seazen

    Dang, I thought Karl Rove was one of the great minds and heroes of the right. I gather the definition of "right", Republican, "conservative" and "hero" are now up for grabs. Karl does like grand schemes and his goal of creating a permanent Republican majority seems to have been down-sized to simply saving what is left of the Republican Party. Or, he could just be following the money – something he has always been good at. Winning elections; not so much.

  • Special Operator

    The problem with the Republican Party is the focus has become "who is in charge" rather than "how do we win". The Party exists for one reason………to elect Republicans!!!!! All the focus needs to be on this one goal. Everything that gets in the way of getting this done is detrimental to the Party. I could care less who is "in charge/control" as long as we win……………….and, if the people in charge are not winning, then they should be thrown out. This is "not rocket science"!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rifraffe

    Seazen is right. Unless we learn how to steal elections, instead of trying to win elections, republicans can continue to watch helplessly as the liberal democrats push the country further and further to the left. Buying votes, confiscating hard erned money from naive taxpayers and enduring the bleating of marxist sheep like seazen is what we should continue to expect if we don't learn how to play as dirty as they. The rules have changed. Sleazen and his ilk are taking this once morally upstanding country of ours and wiping their butts with what's left of the Constitution.

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  • Lee

    Maybe if Karl Rove would worry more about and spend more time exposing how the dems party has absorbed the socialist and coomunist parties and wake people up to that obvious change, he would be more of a unifier than a splitter. Anybody can do that. Wake up!