Karl Rove and his American Crossroads super PAC are back with a new plan to achieve a Republican majority in the Senate in 2014. The New York Times reports that American Crossroads is creating the “American Victory Project,” an outside spending group whose purpose is to support moderate Republicans who are threatened in primary races by far-right challengers.
American Crossroads spent about $104 million on the last election with little success. Nearly all of the candidates the group supported lost. The Sunlight Foundation calculated that only 1.29 percent of Crossroads’ spending lead to the result they were looking for.
In 1967, William F. Buckley memorably told the Miami News that for those voting in the Republican primary, “The wisest choice would be the one who would win.” The president of American Crossroads, Steven J. Law, told the Times that the Conservative Victory Project’s goal is to “institutionalize” the so-called Buckley Rule and impose “discipline” on Republican candidates. The group will oppose outside-the-mainstream Senate candidates such as Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock who lost elections after making controversial comments about rape that drew national attention. The Times’ Jeff Zeleny writes:
The effort would put a new twist on the Republican-vs.-Republican warfare that has consumed the party’s primary races in recent years. In effect, the establishment is taking steps to fight back against Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that have wielded significant influence in backing candidates who ultimately lost seats to Democrats in the general election.
Unsurprisingly, many conservatives are not happy about Rove’s pitch for favoring viability over ideology. In one of many columns decrying the group’s assault on Tea Party candidates, Erick Erickson, editor of Redstate.com, fired back:
I dare say any candidate who gets this group’s support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement. They’ve made it really easy now to figure out who the terrible candidates will be in 2014.