Video: Karl Rove Touts Buckley Rule: “We Need Conservatives Who Can Win”

Karl Rove appeared on Sean Hannity’s show Tuesday night to defend himself against conservative accusations that his new PAC is intended to help moderate Republicans against tea party challengers in primary races.

Radio host Mark Levin went so far as to accuse Rove of stabbing conservatives in the back. Rove made it clear he still wants conservative candidates to back, he just wants ones who can actually win races.
Hannity first explained the main goal of Conservative Victory Project: keeping more Todd Akins from becoming nominees for safe seats and ultimately losing general elections. Rove quickly clarified that he is not going to be in the business of defending incumbents, but merely making sure the Republican party nominates candidates who can actually win races. He also defended his previous support of Tea Party candidates in 2010 and 2012.

Hannity brought up the criticism that sometimes the Republican party ends up with establishment Republicans who no one is happy with. Rove insisted he just wants “the most conservative candidate who can win,” not just the incumbent candidate. He insisted that his group would have, for example, backed Marco Rubio in 2010. Hannity explained his main concern is that he doesn’t want anyone within the Republican party doing anything to divide it.

Rove stuck by his message, saying that the Republican party needs to do better than Todd Akin if it wants to retake the Senate.

Rove mentioned the Buckley rule, also cited by Charles Krauthammer earlier Tuesday night on Special report as he reminded the panel of the most prime example he could think of where it should have been applied, the ill-fated Delaware Senate race of 2010:

 Tuesday in Delaware was a bad day not only for Republicans but also for conservatives. Tea Partyer Christine O’Donnell scored a stunning victory over establishment Republican Mike Castle. Stunning but pyrrhic. The very people who have most alerted the country to the perils of President Obama’s social democratic agenda may have just made it impossible for Republicans to retake the Senate and definitively stop that agenda.

Bill Buckley — no Mike Castle he — had a rule: Support the most conservative candidate who is electable.

A timeless rule of sober politics, and particularly timely now. This is no ordinary time. And this is no ordinary Democratic administration. It is highly ideological and ambitious. It is determined to use whatever historical window it is granted to change the country structurally, irreversibly. It has already done so with Obamacare and has equally lofty ambitions for energy, education, immigration, taxation, industrial policy and the composition of the Supreme Court.

Ugh, that was in 2010 when there was still hope that we could retake the White House, and turn back the red tide. One Akin and one Mourdock later, it’s hard not to see the wisdom in employing the Buckley Rule.

If Rove is to be believed, and his PAC really is designed to weed out the not ready for prime time candidates – like Akin – then more power to him. We don’t need any more debacles like that Missouri Senate race – which we should have won easily.


Ben Howe, Red State: It’s the Messaging, Stupid. It’s the Stupid Messaging

For Rove’s part, there are a lot of people telling me to give him and his partners the benefit of the doubt. That this isn’t them declaring war on the grassroots but is simply a group of conservatives trying to figure out the best way to effect change.

If that’s true, then my advice is only compounded. Is their group so horrible at messaging that they couldn’t even roll out this announcement without enraging their base?

The truth is, I’d rather not spend the next 2 years fighting people that are supposed to be on our side. I’d rather spend that time crafting messages that espouse our believes in a way that doesn’t make people grab buckets of tar and bags of feathers.

We should be seeking candidates together, not tearing each other apart. With a skeptical eye, I look forward to seeing how Rove’s group intends on working with the rest of us to win for conservatism. I wish I were more optimistic.


9 thoughts on “Video: Karl Rove Touts Buckley Rule: “We Need Conservatives Who Can Win”

  1. Pingback: » Video: Karl Rove Touts Buckley Rule: “We Need Conservatives Who …

  2. Mike Castle? Sorry, he would have an ongoing pain in the ass, far worse than the Witch Twins up in Maine. Would he even have voted against ObamaCare? Wouldn’t surprise me one bit if he had been the lone Republican vote.

    As for Akin, well he beat Sarah, who came in last in the primary, was my hope and was a fabulous candidate, because he was touted as the most conservative-oh well he put his foot in his mouth. Same thing happened here in CO with Ken Buck, another fabulous candidate in ’08 who had comments twisted and played over and over by the left dominated media and ended up losing to a pitiful candidate. Face it, dems can get away with saying we have 57 states, islands will tip over, Indians are all you see at 7/11s and on and on and on. You saw how the media conspires covering Romney in Poland at that War Memorial.

    The fact is our side chooses to walk on egg shells because no matter what they say, it’s going to be turned around on them. Rather than bemoan this and have Rove self appoint himself as some kind of omnipotent authority that he and he alone can decide who is worthy(F him), we need candidates that are not only conservative but unabashedly conservative and who can articulate our principles without looking either stupid or ashamed. In most places it’s an uphill fight from the get go but well spoken, in your face conservatives are my choice every time. Romney had Obama by the short and curlies over Bengazi(and numerous other failures) and let him skate-disgusting.

    Personally, I think Rove is a freaking blowhard. His outfit raised a 1/4 BILLION dollars and wasted it. Yeah, there were a couple good ads but why not funnel that money into individual races, IOW butt the eff out. We lost some and won some-look at Texas where Perry and the Republican establishment cane out heavy for Dewhurst including the blowhard and Ted Cruz won-he’s exactly the kind of conservative I’m talking about-same with Ken Buck, oh man it wasn’t just the media but we had a circular firing squad that year in the governor’s race that did him in.


  3. Rove severely miscalculated the response from the conservative wing with his announcement. How has all that money that he claimed to have spent last cycle worked out for him, . . . . .[more importantly us]? I’m not buying his line of BS from Hannity last night.

    Where was the “Buckley Rule” when in the aftermath of two really ridiculous statements from Akin & Murdock? Both of those candidates were completely abandoned by not only by Rove but the Republican Party as well. The best I can recall both of those candidates were [at the time] “the most electable conservatives in the race at that time”? So why did Rove and the Party abandon them? Rove and the Party left both of them in a lurch.

    Christine O’Donnell? Admittedly a inexperienced candidate who was advised wrongly to make the unforgivable political ad “I’m not a witch”? She had the rug pulled out from under her and abandoned. That was a winnable race that the repubics just threw away. Ask Sarah Palin the support she’s received from Rove or the Republican Party? Nikki Haley in South Carolina was dragged through such crap during her race, that if you compared her to a prostitute, the prostitute would be the “respectable” candidate. Rove or the Party was no where to be found.

    Rove, the Party Elitist, Boner, Cantor, McConnell are on a mission to destroy the Tea Party people. So of them have been targeted by the Tea Party and the elitists in Congress has removed every single Tea Party endorsed politician out of any Chairmanships that they previously held. While obozo is targeting the republicans, the rino elitist have decided that they aren’t going to resist him, instead they’ve turned their sights on the “conservatives”.

    Here is another rule, that rino’s like Rove and many others love to “selectively” invoke:
    . . . . . . . The 11th Commandment: “Never speak ill of a fellow republican”. Ronaldus Magamus

    Rove should’ve had that one on a “sticky note” pasted to his forehead, when he appeared on Fox News countless times and tore one Republican candidate after another up. Michelle Bachmann is the first of many that comes to mind.

    et tu Brute! [spare me the selective memory and the hypocrisy]


  4. Geo, Akin was toast after he made the rape comment – everybody knew it but him. Don’t put the blame on anybody but where it belongs – squarely on his shoulders.. He should have bowed out.
    As for Christine O’Donnell….the 11th commandment was in full use here at Nice Deb – I never said a word about her. I was never on the O’Donnell bandwagon because I never thought she had a chance in deep blue Delaware. What were people thinking? I don’t know about you – but I want to win. Sometimes that’s gonna have to be with a candidate that’s not as conservative as we are.

    And Rove was hired by Fox News to be a political analyst. That means he’s paid to analyze the political landscape. Do you really want a shill who will only say what conservatives want to hear?

    You know who no longer has a job at Fox? Dick Morris. The guy who predicted we’d take back the Senate, gain seats in the house and win the presidential election.
    Enough of that. Sometimes we need to hear hard truths.


  5. Here’s one of the few posts I did about O’Donnell – actually it wasn’t about her – it was about all the conservatives I knew who were fighting about her:

    September, 14, 2010 — nicedeb | Edit


    Dan Riehl, Ace, RS McCain, John McCormick, Allahpundit, Mark Levin, Jim Geraghty, Jeffrey Lord, John Hinderaker, Patterico …

    Especially those of you who are throwing rhetorical stink bombs at each other over your O’Donnell/Castle disagreements…

    Jeez, I like all of you guys, I hate to see you going after each other like this.

    I try to follow Reagan’s eleventh commandment, myself. (Unless it’s David Frum). But if you must lash out at somebody, how about the DE Republican establishment for putting us in this ridiculous pickle.


    O’Donnell wins.

    Here’s hoping she’ll be able to ride the republican wave to victory in November.

    But something tells me, that if the primary was this ugly, the general is going to be a beast.

    Good luck to her.


    We’re not getting off to a good start:

    Michelle Malkin: Rove bashes O’Donnell; O’Donnell supporter at victory party strikes back; NRSC cuts and runs; Update: Soros Republican Castle won’t back O’Donnell

    Yes, Rove should have backed her once she had won the primary instead of taking his ball and going home.


  6. I readily admit that the statement that Akin came out with was totally asinine, I also called for him to drop out of the race, right here when it came about. I also said at “some point”, the republicans needed to throw their support behind him if he didn’t drop out of the race. dims circle the wagons when it comes to problems, we organize a firing squad. Akin was determined not too, that was his decision alone, not someone like Rove. Rove holds no republican party leadership position to make that call. I also don’t believe that it should fall on Prebius either. At that point he “became” the most conservative republican candidate in the race, and Rove and the Party said “no mas”. They withdrew all support from him. IMHO not very smart. In Indiana, rino Luger got his @zz beat fair and square, he refused to support the Primary winner or campaign for him. Where was the Buckley Rule, then? For years the party elitist [and the dims] have been choosing our candidates and for the most part they weren’t anywhere near conservative or winners. How has that worked out?

    I also have no problem with fair and honest analysis as a contributor. One needs to decide which “hat” they are going to wear and stick with it. Krauthammer took lots of shots at Republican Candidates [which I didn’t agree with] during the primary. He however isn’t running a PAC in his spare time promoting a position. It’s inconsistent and reeks of hypocrisy when Rove does a “honest’ opinion of candidates and then promotes a ideology in his ads, especially when it comes down to a candidate he “may have” ripped previously. Kristol for the most part has all but disappeared from Fox News recently [prior to last night]. He was running a PAC and Ads against Hagel [which I agreed with], he wasn’t on Fox promoting a charade of a “fair and balanced” contributor while that was the prominent story.

    Dick Morris was never a valuable analytical political contributor. He’s a self absorbed, disloyal, hack! He [along with Rove] wrote checks their collective alpha-sierra-sierra’s couldn’t cash come election night. One of them was on camera all night making a complete ass of himself. That guy, now has decided that the Tea Party is no longer a asset. I say, he and his ilk are the albatross that is holding the party back.


  7. Pingback: The Buckley Rule, As William F. Buckley Saw It | The Tree of Mamre

  8. Pingback: The "Buckley Rule" and Its Implications | The Penn Ave Post

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