Remember during the Bush Administration when Karl Rove was the most hated man on the Left? Maybe they had a point. In the heat of this year’s primary, Rove, the consummate D.C. insider has decided the GOP doesn’t need to worry about elections, voters, or the candidates who have slogged through the primaries making their case to the people. No, he told Hugh Hewitt on his radio show, it’s time for a “fresh face.” That’s a nice way of saying, get rid of Trump and Cruz and let party bosses pick.
Republican elites have made their hatred of Donald Trump and disdain for his supporters abundantly clear. What Cruz supporters forget is that they don’t want Senator Cruz either. It was only last month that Rubio allies were peddling the stories of a Cruz sex scandal to reporters.
Rove is the guy that spent the 2000s alienating one half of America and it looks like he’s spending 2016 alienating the rest of us. He’s the consultant they called “The Architect” – the guy who ran George W. Bush’s campaigns in 2000 and 2004. Bush failed to win a popular majority in 2000, but was able to cling to an electoral college majority as the result of the Supreme Court’s Bush v. Gore decision.
He’s also the guy who claimed throughout 2012 that Romney would handily defeat Obama. He continued in this delusion well into election night even arguing with the Fox hosts after Ohio was called for Obama. Here’s the video if you don’t remember.
Why Does Anyone Listen To Rove?
Karl Rove managed to get George W. Bush elected twice. Good for him. But his “sell-by” date is long gone. He raised well over $100 million for his American Crossroads PAC in the 2012 election cycle, convinced that by shotgunning money into the wind Romney would trounce Obama. Other people from the Bush team tried the same approach with Jeb!’s campaign this year and with equal success.
But Rove persists. And now The Architect wants to build a candidate that no one wants and who has no base except party insiders. We tried that already. His name is Marco Rubio. Rove explained it this way to Hugh Hewitt:
“If we have somebody who we think has, has been battle-tested, and has strong conservative principles and the ability to articulate them, and they are nominated at this convention, there will be a lot of acrimony from the people who were seeking the nomination. But if it’s somebody who has, you know, has those convictions that they can express in a compelling way, we could come out of the convention in relatively strong position … And a fresh face might be the thing that could give us a chance to turn this election and win in November against Hillary.”
Who’s kidding who? He’s clear that a “fresh face” is somebody other than, as he puts it, “the people who were seeking the nomination.” That means not Trump and not Cruz. Theoretically it also means not Kasich, but there is little proof that he actually has been seeking the nomination. We think he just wanted to be out of Ohio during the winter and this was a good way to get someone else to pay for it.
Rove Is Ready For Ryan
The “fresh face” almost certainly means Paul Ryan. He’s become an expert at saying “no” when he really means “yes”. It’s what he did to become Speaker of the House. And Ryan is well-entrenched in the overlapping Bush-Romney circles.
When Rove says that disenfranchising the millions of Republican voters who supported Trump and Cruz will cause “a lot of acrimony” he dramatically understates the case. Unifying the party after a brokered convention that chooses one of the leading candidates would be an enormous task, but unifying the party after blatantly overriding voters would be impossible. To consider doing so is not just foolishness, it’s wrong. On this at least, Trump and Cruz supporters can agree. The party that considers itself the defender of free and limited government ought not even consider such action and should reconsider taking advice from someone who does.