“Bush’s brain” is at it, again.  What is “it,” you ask?  Just sowing discord among the establishment Republicans and conservative grassroots activists.  A normal Monday.

In a video that recently surfaced from the “Aspens Ideas Festival” on June 27th, the former White House Senior Advisor turned Political Action Committee (PAC) Chairman said “the most liberal Republican is Justin Amash of Michigan.  Far more liberal than any other Republican.”  Rove continues and claims that if legislation does not fit into Congressman Amash’s “100 percent libertarian” mold he votes “no,” with former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Rove was speaking about the “tension” between libertarianism and a healthy future for the GOP.  (Given that it was audio, I cannot be sure if Rove was speaking about “libertarians” or “Libertarians.” However, given the context it is more likely Rove was talking about “libertarians.”)  Rove goes on the claim the he “welcomes the libertarian influence in the party.”  However, as Karl should know, actions speak louder than words, and his actions have rarely, if ever, indicated Karl Rove welcomes anything to the party other than that which is Karl Rove approved.

Rove’s history is well documented, by sources opposed and sympathetic to him.  However, Rove has, at times, had a hard time remembering his own history.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Rove’s claims to have led Ronald Reagan’s 1980’s Texas campaign were “clearly untrue.”  In fact, Rove worked on the campaign of his long-time patron, George H. W. Bush, and in Reagan’s previous Texas win in 1976 Rove had backed incumbent President Ford.   Reagan’s biographer, Craig Shirley, was hesitant to answer why he thinks Rove keeps bring up Reagan, but stated:  “It would be hazardous to guess, especially since the Republican establishment of that era despised Reagan and Mr. Rove was of course a member of the Republican establishment, just as he is today.”

Rove has been a “fall-in line” type Republican, leading to a dispute in 1994 as he was running future President George W. Bush’s gubernatorial campaign.  That same year the Texas Republican Party was electing a new state Chairman, and Rove found time during the gubernatorial to back a moderate candidate for state chairman.  Rove’s guy lost, and current Texas gubernatorial candidate, Tom Pauken, became the state party chairman.  Pauken had volunteered on the 1964 Goldwater campaign, been the National College Republican Chairman and had been a member of President Reagan’s 1980 White House transition team.  Rove was not content with having lost and the enmity grew when Rove “dried up” big money donors to the state GOP and distributed money to candidates out of a fund he controlled, effectively taking over state party functions.

More recently, Rove, through his PAC(s), declared war on the Tea Party, by spinning off a new PAC, aptly named “Conservative Victory Project,” which drew ire from conservatives nationwide.  The aims of the new group includes the protection of incumbents from challenges by “far-right and Tea Party” enthusiast.  Rove is seeking to do as he did when he effectively defunded the Texas GOP: making any and all candidates who want money pass the Karl Rove litmus test.   Sounds bona fide conservative to me.  After all, the name includes “conservative” in it.

We are fortunate Rove waited until this February to launch his new PAC.  Had he done it last year Texas would have the moderate David Dewhurst as its Junior Senator rather then Ted Cruz. Had Rove launched it preemptively in 2009 or 2010, the Senate would not have Mike Lee of Rand Paul. Surprisingly, Rove showed enough restraint to not call them “wacko-birds.”  If only Rove could have stopped the far-right and Tea Party enthusiast before they were elected to the House, then we would be safe.

Some will read the last paragraph and may well think that not having Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Lee would be worth it if Republicans had a majority in the Senate.  Others would possibly agree.  After all, the Senate is all about who controls it.  I say, “so?”

To the question of a more conservative minority or a moderate majority, I choose the former.  What’s the point if we have a Senate with no backbone?  Doesn’t that do more harm, to be seen as just as bad as Senators Schumer, Reid, Feinstein, et al?   What’s the point of having the majority if Republicans are just going to pass budgets with slightly less deficits?  Pass legislation that invades privacy slightly less?  Pass legislation that is slightly less regulatory?  Pass legislation that leaves slightly more rights to keep and bear arms?  No thanks.

Even if Lugar lived in Indiana, Akin had not said “legitimate rape,” Christine O’Donnell could prove beyond a reasonable doubt she was not a witch, or Sharon Angle hadn’t hit on an ace and an eight, the Senate would not have been a large enough majority to be effective, much the less veto proof.  The House is a sufficient bulwark against stopping bad Senate legislation.  Additionally, it gives the Republicans the excuse of not completely controlling the legislative branch, and thereby not being guilty of all it’s faults, even though they will get blamed exclusively for American’s disapproval of Congress as a whole.

Most egregiously was his election night argument and disbelief.  No one argues with Megyn Kelly.  Not on my watch.

Back to Amash, the rash liberal.  His liberalism is, like Rove’s Reagan campaign work, clearly untrue.  Amash went to social media to provide evidence, tweeting an OpenCongress.org screenshot showing that among Republicans he votes with Pelosi the least.  Rove actually misstated a poor evaluation and claimed Amash was the most liberal Republican, according to National Journal.  Amash was ranked fifth most liberal by National Journal, but I am more inclined, having followed Amash for the last two years, to readily accept FreedomWorks, Club for Growth, and Cato Institutes 100 percent rankings, and Heritage Actions 91 percent ranking.

Amash, more than rankings can quantify, sets the example, in my opinion, of a transparent legislator.  Look at his Facebook page, where he, not an intern or a communications staffer, explains all of his votes.

He is reasoned and logical, and can always be counted on to vote on his principles, not political expediency or party line.  He’s a fan of the Austrians.  Maybe that is what scares Karl Rove so much, and the Aspen Idea Festival statement was a “shot across the bow” as Michigan’s Senate seat is opening up in 2014 and Amash is believed to be considering a run.

Karl Rove once did a lot of hard work, and advanced the Republican Party and thereby advanced conservatism, but it is time for him to go away.  Will someone rid us of this meddlesome consultant?


Kenneth Depew | University of St. Thomas (TX) | @DepewK