Karl Rove, the architect of a Bush presidency that saw its approval numbers drop to 28 percent in 2008 (the same as Jimmy Carter's in 1979), is now the spokesman for the Bush wing of the Republican Party, also known as the GOP establishment. The political left, which hated Rove with a purple passion when he was in the White House, now gleefully quotes him every time he takes a swipe at the Tea Party and Sarah Palin. Rove knows full well that every time he swings his Louisville Slugger at her, the Democrat/Media Complex will give his words sufficient amplification to reach every television, radio and internet connection in the western world.
With this in mind, in an interview with the hard left New York Magazine, Rove went back to the schoolyard to engage in childish mockery of Gov. Palin. He knew that this tactic would be a big hit with the political left because the tenor of leftist attacks on Reagan conservatives often resembles the taunts of middle school bullies on their worst behavior.
The governor's recently-hired chief of staff's comments, when asked if Sarah Palin would like to have Rove available as an advisor, highlight the battle lines that have been drawn within the Grand Old Party:
Does the next candidate of the GOP want the mark of “Bush’s Brain” on their candidacy? To alienate the tea party by ?cozying up to the elitist Rasputin?Townhall.com's Guy Benson observes:
Certainly not Sarah Palin. “Of all the potential candidates, Governor Palin would no doubt be the one desiring new energy and ideas,” says her chief of staff Michael Glassner, “and, refreshingly, hiring advisers who aren’t entrenched in any political machine.”
Glassner's comments certainly leave the distinct impression that Palin is gearing up for a run, do they not? (1) Taking a shot at a possible future adversary is par for the course in early presidential skirmishes, and (2) how many non-politician pundits have chiefs of staff bragging to reporters about the quality and independence of the advisers they're hiring?The competition between grassroots libertarian-leaning conservatives and establishment Republicans goes back much earlier than the week before the 2010 mid-term election, when Rove, seemingly from out of deep left field, abruptly attacked Gov. Palin for her eight-week TLC series "Sarah Palin's Alaska." It also goes far to the southwest of the Washington Beltway, all the way to the heart of the Lone Star State.
If Palin gets in, and Rove makes it his mission to stop her, Republicans should brace for a historic rumble. Democrats would likely enjoy every minute of the internecine feud, but would be well-served to remember that a nasty, protracted intra-party fight does not guarantee political success for the opposing party.
Over two years ago, then Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, with the support of the Bush wing of the GOP, challenged Rick Perry for the governorship of Texas. Unlike the Bushies, who feared the grassroots phenomenon known as the Tea Party, Perry embraced the movement:
What resulted was a preview of the GOP–versus–tea party civil war. Dave Carney, Perry’s top strategist, attacked Rove as a “country club” Republican. Conversely, Sarah Palin, tea-party heroine, endorsed Rick Perry, calling him a “true conservative.”Hutchison's devastating loss hit Rove hard, as he was working behind the scenes on her behalf, and her campaign's dismal failure put a large dent in the Rovian myth of invincibility. Though he has long labored to build a power base from which to control GOP politics in the post-Bush era, Rove lost a lot of followers along the way and now faces some serious competition:
Perry handily destroyed Hutchison in the primary.
“The Bushes are out of contact with what Texas is about,” says a veteran Republican politico who is close friends with Rick Perry. “So is Karl.”
Rove is the embodiment of everything the tea party resents. He supported Bush’s decision to bail out the banks in 2008, a major bone of contention with deficit hawks. And it was Rove, as White House political adviser, who pushed for some of the most expensive Bush programs, like the Medicare-prescription-drug bill, the passage of which cornered the troublesome State of Florida for Bush in 2004 but has already cost more than $1 trillion. The national debt nearly doubled under Bush, from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion.
...the Koch brothers, David and Charles, the major tea-party underwriters who are promising to raise $88 million for the presidential elections, posing a populist alternative to Rove’s Establishment stronghold and making inroads with their support of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin and funding of counterprotests there. It’s not inconsequential: Major Republican donors told me they were disappointed by Rove’s comments about Palin. “He’s not right all the time,” one of them noted.The Brothers Koch, like many conservatives, were sorely disappointed in the Bush presidency as administered by Rove. The Bush tax cuts were an outstanding achievement, but the failure to couple them with corresponding cuts in federal spending are a major reason why the deficit doubled under Bush. That the Bush deficits quadrupled under Barack Obama in less than two years time just rubs salt into the wing.
Like Sarah Palin, the Kochs have a libertarian streak, which explains their support of the Cato Institute, and though no clear lines have yet been drawn between the brothers and Gov. Palin, it's interesting that they own oil refineries in Texas and Alaska and control about four thousand miles of pipeline. The two are into paper products as well. Just a few of the familiar products produced by companies they own are Brawny towels, Dixie cups and Georgia-Pacific lumber. Surely the well-known Palin libertarian streak is an asset the brothers must find appealing, and the fact that the Bushies hate her so much likely doesn't hurt her standing in the eyes of the Kochs.
One thing is certain: if the Koch brothers are favorably disposed toward a Palin presidential run, the large donor requirement will not be a problem for the 2008 vice presidential candidate in 2012. It's not just their own money which could help fuel a Palin candidacy. A number of other major donors will lay down their contributions where they see the brothers putting theirs. No wonder "progressives" are so afraid of the political influence of the Koch Brothers. The left has recently launched a campaign to make sure that the pair are cited frequently as the focus of evil which stands against every imaginable liberal policy issue. George Soros may have met his match, and Karl Rove most certainly has met his.
Related: Charles G. Koch: Why Koch Industries Is Speaking Out