Newt is echoing what I’ve been saying for the past two weeks about Karl Rove!
I am writing this newsletter in a very direct, no baloney, effort to get across how much trouble we Republicans are in and how real the internal party fight is going to be.
I strongly support RNC Chairman Reince Priebus’ effort to think through the lessons of 2012 and develop a better path for the Republican Party.
However there are going to be some very powerful opponents to any serious rethinking of Republican doctrines and strategies.
It is appalling how little some Republican consultants have learned from the 2012 defeat.
It is even more disturbing how arrogant their plans for the future are.
Of course these consultants have made an amazing amount of money asserting an expertise they clearly don’t have.
They have existed in a system in which the candidate was supposed to focus on raising money and the smart consultant would design the strategy, spend the money and do the thinking.
Watch the movie “Lincoln.” This was a politician who thought long and deeply.
Read Craig Shirley’s histories of the 1976 and 1980 campaigns (or watch the documentary Callista and I made, “Ronald Reagan: Rendezvous with Destiny”). Reagan knew what he believed, why he was running, and what he wanted to accomplish.
Republicans need to drop the consultant-centric model and go back to a system in which candidates have to think and consultants are adviser and implementers but understand that the elected official is the one who has to represent the voters and make the key decisions.
I feel compelled to write this because of Karl Rove’s recent assertions and my very unsettling round table with Stuart Stevens on ABC’s This Week this past Sunday.
I am unalterably opposed to a bunch of billionaires financing a boss to pick candidates in 50 states. This is the opposite of the Republican tradition of freedom and grassroots small town conservatism.
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No one person is smart enough nor do they have the moral right to buy nominations across the country.
That is the system of Tammany Hall and the Chicago machine. It should be repugnant to every conservative and every Republican.
There is a second practical thing wrong with Rove’s proposal.
He was simply wrong last year. He was wrong about the Presidential race (watch a video of his blow up on Fox election night about Fox News calling Ohio for President Obama). He was also wrong about Senate races.
While Rove would like to argue his “national nomination machine” will protect Republicans from candidates like those who failed in Missouri and Indiana, that isn’t the bigger story.
Republicans lost winnable senate races in Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida. So in seven of the nine losing races, the Rove model has no candidate-based explanation for failure. Our problems are deeper and more complex than candidates.
Handing millions to Washington based consultants to destroy the candidates they dislike and nominate the candidates they do like is an invitation to cronyism, favoritism and corruption.