In the New Yorker, not known as a bastion of conservatism, we read Why Karl Rove Is Smiling Today. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Karl Rove, fresh from outraging Democrats with his remarks about Hillary Clinton’s health, was on Fox News last night, and, once again, he was looking pretty happy with himself. As it became clear that establishment Republicans — i.e., those supported by Rove and his big Super PAC — had bested their Tea Party-affiliated rivals in a number of key G.O.P. primaries, Rove flashed his gnashers and told Megyn Kelly: “The reason Republican candidates are winning is because they are uniting the party.”
They’re talking about Rove’s effort to deploy the Buckley rule — William Buckley always said he was in favor of the most conservative candidate who is electable. As those who follow American politics are aware, several extreme “social conservatives” have been nominated by their local Republican party organizations in recent years, with generally disastrous results when they faced a Democrat candidate in the general election.
We’ve written about this a few times before. Everyone remembers the catastrophic campaign of Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell. There was also Sharron Angle in 2010 — see United States Senate election in Nevada, 2010. And then there was Todd Akin, a 2012 Senate candidate in Missouri who won the primary with wildly conservative support but lost the general election after his comments on abortion and rape became known. The madness continued in 2014, as the Republicans lost a few Senate races they could have won, if they hadn’t run candidates who were obviously insane.
The problem (for the GOP) is that although no poll shows that creationism is increasing among Americans, creationists seem to be concentrated more and more in the Republican party. We think it’s because: (1) creationists are staying in the Republican party; and (2) Republicans who aren’t creationists are abandoning the party and becoming independents. That can account for poll findings that show an increasing percentage of Republicans who are creationists.
We explained our thinking (which is similar to Rove’s) in Open Letter to the Republican Party, #3, where we advocated keeping creationism and other extreme issues out of campaigns, and concluded:
[O]ur strategy doesn’t require a candidate to abandon the GOP’s social principles, but he does have to strongly reassure the voters that he won’t make those principles compulsory. If we can convince the undecideds that a Republican victory doesn’t mean that the government will be run by a pack of wild-eyed theocrats, then we have a shot at winning. Otherwise, we’re history, and deservedly so.
Let’s get back to the New Yorker. They say:
In Georgia, there was was another victory for the G.O.P. fixers, who are understandably keen to avoid a repeat of the Todd Akin debacle, in 2012, in which a candidate with extreme views cost the party a winnable Senate seat. In a closely watched, bitterly fought race for the Republican Senate seat that Saxby Chambliss is vacating, seven candidates were looking to gain enough votes to contest a runoff on July 22nd. The ultra conservatives in the race included two more congressmen, Phil Gingrey and Paul Broun, the latter of whom has described evolution and the Big Bang theory as “lies straight from the pit of hell.” But neither Gingrey nor Broun got enough votes to make it into a runoff. The two who did are both establishment types: David Perdue, the former C.E.O. of Dollar General, and Jack Kingston, a veteran U.S. congressman who has represented the state’s first district since 1993.
That’s the race we wrote about yesterday — see Paul “Pit of Hell” Broun — Primary Election Today. Skipping a bit about primary elections we weren’t following, we’re told:
… Rove and his fellow Republican leaders had a good night. And, by extension, Harry Reid and the Democrats had a disappointing night. “The Democrats wanted to get a break in Kentucky; they wanted to get a break in Georgia,” Larry Sabato, the political analyst from the University of Virginia said. “They didn’t get a break in either.”
Your Curmudgeon is pleased. And so is the ghost of William Buckley. Let’s read on:
The returns from Georgia and Kentucky confirmed a trend that has been evident in other key states, such as Alaska, Arkansas, and North Carolina. The G.O.P., while it has hardly reconverted to Eisenhower Republicanism, has declined to help the Democrats keep control of the Senate by nominating unelectable candidates — the sort of folks who get enthusiastically endorsed by Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Instead, it is putting forward stalwart but calculating conservatives who can be relied on to keep the pressure on their Democratic opponents.
Exactly! That’s the way we like it. The article closes, as a liberal publication would be expected to do, with this:
Given the fractured, fractious, and intolerant nature of today’s G.O.P., that’s about the best that Rove and his cohorts can hope for. With five and a half months left until the November election, there’s still a lot that could go wrong for the Republicans in their quest to embarrass President Obama and take control of the Senate.
So there you are. The worst of the crazed creationists won’t be running in November. Whether one is a Democrat or Republican, that’s good news for the country. But we suspect that the New Yorker would have preferred that Rove’s strategy had failed.
Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.