Not everyone here likes horse race politics, but I do, because at least at the end of the race, there’s a quantifiable result. Megan McArdle and Bobo can say “sure you think the Iraq war went badly but when you add up the costs and benefits blah blah” but they can’t say “sure you think Obama won the election, but blah blah blah”
So I’m very interested in this Rove versus the Teahadists thing. I’ve been curious as to why the Rovesters came out and SAID they were going to knee-cap Tea Party crazies in primaries. Why not just shut up and whack them with attack ads when the primaries roll around? A TPM reader writes that it’s because there’s nothing to this smack down, that it’s a tale told by a winger, full of Reagan and Wolverines, signifying nothing:
Instead, let’s eschew the pop psychology jargon and look at the public record. Both the Tea Party types and the big GOP donors represented by Karl Rove were fully on board with just about everything the Bush administration said or did. For all their zeal now, the only major policy issue on which Republicans now aligned with the Tea Party ever clashed with Bush was immigration reform — for which Bush himself, remember, didn’t actually fight that hard.
Since neither the Tea Party types or the big donors and the campaign operatives working for them are thinking of repudiating a Republican administration that lost two wars and wrecked the economy, they are left to air their differences on issues no one besides campaign junkies cares about. The self-styled conservatives complain that Rove and his people say mean things about them; the moneybags wing is dedicated to recruiting candidates who will avoid gaffes. Big deal.
A lot of politics is like that, and not just because tough talk earns tongue baths from Joe Scar and Mike Allen. The local political types I know spew the same gaudy patter. The Rovites are talking about talking smack about the Tea Party down because the Rovites enjoy talking smack.
They say politics is show business for ugly people. It’s also Ultimate Fighting Championships for wimps.