The Lady Is Right -- Let's Keep Our Eye on the Ball

Jackie Gingrich Cushman

2/7/2013 12:01:00 AM - Jackie Gingrich Cushman

It seems the Republican Party news is getting worse. This past fall, we suffered the defeat of our nominee for president. Based on the economic conditions, Republicans should have won. Many Republican pundits tagged Mitt Romney as the winner days before the election, talked about a possible landslide and were flabbergasted when he lost.

Yes, I said it would be a photo finish, but I digress.

Karl Rove, former senior adviser to George W. Bush and the architect of W.'s successful president runs, was so undone Election Night that he fought back on Fox News when it projected Obama would win, calling it "premature."

Rove had a lot invested in a victory for his party: His super PAC, American Crossroads, had spent more than $100 million on the 2012 presidential election. Crossroads GPS had spent nearly another $100 million in the cycle.

The day after the election, Richard Viguerie, a conservative activist, issued a statement that "in any logical universe," Rove and his team "would never be hired to run or consult on a national campaign again, and no one would give a dime to their ineffective super PACs, such as American Crossroads."

Who said our universe is logical?

American Crossroads, the super PAC that was high on cash and short on victory last election cycle, is entering yet a new area: Republican primaries.

The Democratic Party must be cheering. Why should they have to worry about beating Republicans when we can beat ourselves up?

Does the winner of the primary always win the general election? No -- but in the end it is up to the voters of the state that the elected official will represent. At least, it should be -- but then, I am naive and idealistic. Voters determining who represents them? Surely other, smarter people know more than the voters do.

If you believe that there are others who are smarter than the voters, and if you think that you may be one of them, then beware. Pride goes before a fall.

This past week, Rove's super PAC, American Crossroads, announced that it would soon be wading into Republican primaries. The subgroup, named the Conservative Victory Party, is being started because "there is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected," Steven J. Law, president of American Crossroads, told Jeff Zeleny of The New York Times.

Law laid out the goal of the organization: "We want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win."

Ah, there is the rub: "We want to pick the candidate."

It's not about policy, it's about power.

"It is a delicate and sensitive undertaking," Law continued. "Our approach will be to institutionalize the Buckley rule: Support the most conservative candidate who can win."

What happened to the Reagan commandment? In his 1990 autobiography, "An American Life," Ronald Reagan wrote: "Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican. It's a rule I followed during that campaign (1966 California governor primary) and have ever since."

The GOP's planned foray into primary politics is already creating a backlash among the grass roots.

Steve Deace, a nationally syndicated radio host located in Des Moines, Iowa, where there is an open Senate seat, wrote a scathing opinion piece that ran on Politico.com against this move by American Crossroads. "The leadership of the Democratic Party wants to run a country," he said. "The leadership of the Republican Party wants to run a party."

American Crossroads is not the only national group that is eyeing the Republican primaries. Americans for Prosperity's president, Tim Phillips, said this week that his group may, too.

Can you hear the Democratic Party cheering even louder? More Republicans to target one another, YEA!

As a Georgian, I'm partial to other Southern ladies (think "Steel Magnolias"). "The primary has to sort itself out in Georgia," Sue Everhart, chair of the Georgia Republican Party, was quoted as saying by Zeleny. "That's what primaries are for. But we cannot afford to take our eye off the ball. This is going to be a very important election, and it's paramount that Georgia keeps its Senate seat in Republican hands."

The goal is to create a better future for our children. If we can't articulate a better future and can only tear people down, Republicans will lose in the end.

The lady is right. Let's keep our eye on the ball.