David Harsanyi
Let's put ideology aside for a moment.

Karl Rove, architect of the George W. Bush-era Republican victories, says he's sick of fanatics running his party into the ground. So he's devised a strategy to pre-emptively sink unelectable candidates early in the process. He's formed a new super PAC to implement this strategy. It's called the Conservative Victory Project, and it's led by a guy named Steven Law, who was the head of another super PAC, called American Crossroads, which went something like 0-7 in the 2012 election cycle. (Not that anyone's counting.)

Grass-roots conservatives, needless to say, are quite perturbed. "I'm filing the paperwork to form a super PAC to support freedom-loving conservative alternatives to (Karl Rove) on FOX," tweeted former Rep. Joe Walsh. Surely, he won't be the last to counter Rove's efforts.

Suspicions about establishment Republicans are well-founded, but Rove has a point, as well. Purely as a tactical matter, why not weed out inept -- or insane -- candidates before they start spouting off about a woman's organic ability to prevent pregnancy when raped? I'm no Sun Tzu, but winning elections seems to be a crucial part of politics. And if being right were enough, I'd be buying my lunch with a $20 bill featuring former two-term president Barry Goldwater.

Law says that Republicans have "blown a significant number of races" because candidates prone to the chillingly bizarre have won GOP primaries before falling to Democrats. We need not relive them all. Then again, it's also fair to say that if the "establishment" had gotten its grubby RINO paws on GOP primaries, America would be without some of the most interesting Republicans out there -- Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, for starters. All this only proves that you can be successful (SET ITAL) and (END ITAL) philosophically committed (well, as committed as a politician can be).

Actually, you needn't look further than President Barack Obama, whether you're a fan or not, to see what the entire package looks like -- a man who is dedicated to ideology and has the political acumen to spin populist demagoguery and, ultimately, enjoy political success.

So the GOP civil war is based on a false choice. Surely, people exist in America who can placate both sides of the divide. Surely, there are charismatic candidates available to articulate enticing arguments in defense of limited government. Surely, there are limited-government types who can successfully implement fiscal conservative reforms (even in far-flung places, such as Wisconsin) and remain popular.


David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of "The People Have Spoken (and They Are Wrong): The Case Against Democracy." Follow him on Twitter @davidharsanyi.