Last we heard from former Bush speechwriter-turned-Washington Post line columnist Michael Gerson, he was attacking Tea Party activists and yours truly for criticizing his old boss/mentor Karl Rove’s Christine O’Donnell-bashing.
Well, Rove’s Beltway water boy took to his WaPo perch again this weekend to re-litigate the midterm election results on behalf of his boss and damn the Tea Party movement, Jim DeMint, and Sarah Palin:
O’Donnell and Angle were gifts of Sen. Jim DeMint and Sarah Palin to their party. Tea Party enthusiasm and shallow ideological purity were supposed to be better than outdated, “establishment” attributes such as achievement, wisdom or qualification. This approach to politics is expected of DeMint, who has gained national prominence by accusing his Republican colleagues of compromise. Coming from Palin, however, it is a threat to the Republican future.
In the past, Palin embodied the populist style of the Tea Party movement while espousing a fairly mainstream Republican ideology. On economic, social and foreign policy, Palin seldom strayed from a simplified, popularized Reaganism. The Mama Grizzly may have been ferocious, but her talking points came from the Heritage Foundation instead of from shadier corners of the right.
This election season called that perception into question. Palin’s support for O’Donnell showed poor political judgment. But Palin went further, also endorsing Constitution Party gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo in Colorado, one of the most divisive figures in American politics.
More on all that in a second.
For his part, DeMint struck back forcefully, turning the tables on the GOP trash-talkers:
MR. GREGORY: Well, and I, I want to ask you about some specific areas of–issue areas of the agenda. Before I do that, another question about the tea party. You were active in supporting tea party candidates around the country. You had some, some big winners around the country that you campaigned for. There are some of them. But you also had some notable losses, particularly in the Senate, and I want to single one out. You were behind Christine O’Donnell, who lost, of course, in Delaware. And here was the front page of the Wilmington News Journal on Wednesday after the election. The banner headline, “No taste for tea.” And frankly, there’s been some backlash about your support for her. Politico reported it this way this week: “A bloc of prominent senators and operatives said party purists like Palin and Senator DeMint had foolishly pushed nominees too conservative to win in politically competitive states. …
`If you think what happened in Delaware is “a win” for the Republican Party then we don’t have a snowball’s chance to win the White House,'” that’s Senator Lindsey Graham, also from South Carolina. “`If you think Delaware was a wake-up call for Republicans then we have a shot at doing well for a long time.'” Do you think the tea party actually cost the Republican Party control of the Senate?
SEN. DeMINT: That is a very silly thing to say, David. The tea party are responsible for just about every Republican who was elected around the country. This time last year, if people’ll think about it, we were concerned about holding our own. Many thought Republicans would fall below 38 in, in the Senate. So I supported all the Republican candidates, including Christine O’Donnell. Unfortunately, she was so maligned by Republicans, I don’t think she ever had a chance. But we had historic gains in the Senate and in the House, so…
MR. GREGORY: Senator, you’re not really saying that it was just lack of Republican support that tanked her candidacy, are you? This is a woman who said on national–in an ad that she was not a witch.
SEN. DeMINT: Well, I think we did see in the, in the wake of her primary win, a number of Republicans suggest she was not a viable candidate. That, that did make it difficult for her to start on the right foot. But all over the country we saw candidates like Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania, Marco Rubio in Florida, Rand Paul in Kentucky, we saw candidates that were supported by a tea party in, in a new active wave of, of citizens change the face of the Senate. This is what Republicans have needed for a long time, a new, young Republicans, Cuban-American senator. We’ve got African-American congressmen. This is a huge change for the Republican Party, and I think it’s going to be very positive for our country.
Indeed, Tea Party activism and enthusiasm at the state and federal levels created the grass-roots wave that everyone in D.C. is now taking credit for in the election afterglow. Outside the Beltway, DeMint and Palin worked tirelessly on the ground to support the conservative wave while Beltway GOP elites of Gerson’s ilk fretted and moaned on the sidelines.
Moreover, Palin boldly defied the Rove machine and lent support to conservative third-party candidate Tom Tancredo in an effort to help spare us Democrat governor-elect John Hickenlooper and the Soros-ization of Colorado . Tancredo ultimately lost, but so many of us taxpayers here in this state will be forever grateful for Palin’s help. Gerson sneers at Tancredo as “one of the most divisive figures in American politics.” But in a manner of just weeks, Tancredo managed to unite former and current Republican officials and leaders in Colorado and across the country, libertarians, Tea Party activists, immigration enforcement advocates, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and 48 percent of unaffiliated voters behind his upstart candidacy.
Senate GOP/Tea Party-backed candidates O’Donnell, Angle, and Ken Buck (whom Gerson curiously omits from his column…because he happens to be a Tea Party-backed candidate that Rove actually supported) may also have lost, but the very valuable silver lining for conservatives is that their campaigns put liberal, big government Republicans — and Democrats — on notice. We’re watching and we will hold them all accountable. Buck’s opponent, Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet, certainly got the message. When his ads weren’t viciously attacking Buck as anti-woman, they were preposterously accusing him of wanting to raise taxes. That’s right. Bennet the Obamacare/bailout/stimulus supporter campaigned as the smaller government candidate.
Further, Doug Brady at Conservative 4 Palin makes an excellent point about the hypocrisy and self-contradiction of Gerson’s broadside on Palin’s endorsements. The Gerson/Rove faction simultaneously attacks her for being too pragmatically calculating and too wildly ideological. Which is it?
Governor Palin recorded a last-minute robocall for Tancredo in an effort to persuade Maes’ supporters to vote for Tancredo and not waste a vote on Maes, which would only help the liberal Democrat. But [Gerson] finds fault with this decidedly logical and pragmatic move by Governor Palin.
Therein lies the logical trap in which [Gerson] has ensnared himself. With Christine O’Donnell, [Gerson] accuses Governor Palin of putting principle above political reality. However, by throwing last-minute support to Tancredo in a last-ditch effort to prevent a Democrat victory, Governor Palin is now guilty of putting political reality above principle or something. You can’t have it both ways, Champ. I continue to be amazed by the proclivity of establishment types, whether Democrat or Republican, to contradict their own talking points and contort themselves into pretzels when attacking Governor Palin.
To be sure, the “principle above politics” meme is one the establishment has been pushing and will continue to push in their effort to prevent Governor Palin from crashing their cozy little party. Since when did political expediency become more noble than adhering to one’s principles? Is this really how Ronald Reagan felt? Michael [Gerson] evidently thinks so. So too does Peggy Noonan who claims an ability to divine Reagan’s thoughts due, presumably, to her stint as a White House speechwriter a quarter century ago.
Both she and [Gerson] are wrong, of course, and it’s this kind of thinking by our self-anointed superiors in the Washington establishment over the past 22 years that has resulted in America’s inexorable drift toward European-style socialism. To be sure, the drift is a bit faster under Democrat control than under Republican control, but the direction doesn’t change. The ruling class in both parties are fine with this sorry state of affairs, and will do everything they can to continue it. They see Governor Palin and the entire Tea Party movement as an existential threat to their way of doing business. That they should, because their party is coming to an end, and the political earthquake which took place on Tuesday is just the beginning.
One last point: The Rove machine and Beltway/Manhattan establishment continues to trash the conservative Tea Party candidates who lost their high-profile bids.
But notice how silent they are on the shellacking that McCain favorites Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina took in California. Fiorina pandered to Jesse Jackson and radical gender/racial politics. Whitman flip-flopped on immigration and fawned over Van Jones, before failing to manage her illegal alien maid problem properly. The pooh-bahs considered these liberal Republican women to be winning candidates who would appeal to the center and give the GOP a fighting chance in the basket case now dubbed the “Lindsay Lohan of states.”
Where is the introspection about these loser bids? Who takes responsibility for fielding two unlikeable candidates who reinforced the GOP stereotype of out-of-touch, condescending corporate magnates seeking to buy office and donning conservative clothing only when expedient, just like their chief GOP establishment advocate, John McCain?
Oh, wait. I know the answer:
Silence, you know-nothing blogger peon and KNEEL BEFORE THE ARCHITECT!
Okay, one last, last point while we’re settling scores: Rove has questioned Palin’s “gravitas” for promoting her home state of Alaska in a multi-part TV series.
Yes, God forbid Republican women look like they enjoy their lives and their families and the natural resources and gifts America has to offer outside of D.C. and away from the boardroom.
How out of touch can these Beltway boys be?