Tony Katz
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When Karl Rove, the de facto Capo of the Republican establishment intelligentsia, took aim at the grassroots activists (the Tea Party), offering them up like Issac for sacrifice to the mainstream media and independent voters, he surely doesn't expect them to prostrate themselves at the Altar of Rove.

The Tea Party is ready to do battle. But before we count off our paces, perhaps Mr. Rove would like to rethink his challenge to a duel.

Rove's thesis - that the GOP has been held hostage by the Tea Party, which picks candidates that can't win, thereby sabotaging and embarrassing Republicans - is a lie on its face. It's not a half-truth or an exaggeration. It's a lie. Karl Rove Lies.

Ted Cruz, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Allen West - all had Tea Party backing.

Certainly Sen. Cruz is a solid Republican, with his enticement of Illinois business owners to move to Texas and his exquisite dress-down of Sen. Chuck Hagel during his Senate confirmation hearing. Sen. Lee is a star. Sen. Rubio has some worried regarding immigration reform, but perhaps a very public face needs to at least discuss the very important issues. Rubio seems interested in solving the problem, as opposed to President Obama, who seems interested only in taking credit for solving the problem.

Doesn't Mr. Rove want a Republican who is willing to attempt to be a leader?

Yes, Rep. West lost his re-election bid in 2012 to the racist Patrick Murphy. (When you make a TV commercial that shows a black man, West, punching a white woman in the face, you're a racist. I didn't make the rules, Chris Matthews did. Now live with it, racist Democrats!) While I strongly disagree with his vote on NDAA, West was largely good for the GOP.

Is Karl Rove saying that the GOP is better off without Tea Party favorite West? The Florida GOP thought so, as they worked hard to change district lines to make it harder for West to run. According to Javier Manjarres at Shark-Tank.net, at the time:

West’s congressional district inexplicably sheds the most Republican electoral support, in comparison to all other incumbent Republican and Democrat Congressman. A few weeks back we quoted an unnamed legislator saying that, “Allen West was screwed”, a statement which was originally made about made five months before the proposed maps were made public, leading insiders to believe that the fix was in against Allen West. But in light of (Florida House Speaker Will) Weatherford’s comment, it is increasingly clear that this is a fait accompli.

Michelle Malkin noted that Rove disingenuously lumps very different Tea Party candidates together, as the collective bane of the Party:

Rove and his Tea Party-bashing minions will point to the losses of Christine O’Donnell, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Sharron Angle, Ken Buck, and others as justification to tighten his grip on the party in the role of Chief Decider. But those are all very disparate cases. It is ridiculous, for example, to continue smearing and lumping Mourdock (a bona fide, grass-roots candidate and fantastic State Treasurer whose sin was to honestly state his views on life) with establishment incumbent Republican Akin (whose indefensible Magical Uterus Meme idiocy cost the GOP a winnable Senate seat).

Mourdock made a comment based on his views on the sanctity of life. Rather than an attempt to explain Murdock's statement, and beat back the MSM vultures, Rove went invisible. Obviously, winning the Senate means less to Rove than taking credit for the win...or so it seems.

One other point on Mourdock. The Tea Party support for Mourdock was based on his fiscal beliefs, not his views on abortion. His politically misguided, if heartfelt, comment, coming as it did on the heels of Aikin's asinine remarks, proved to be his undoing. It had nothing to do with the Tea Party. To say otherwise is a lie. Mr. Rove is lying a lot these days.

Since leaving the White House, Mr. Rove hasn't met with much success. He's raised incredible sums of money, but he hasn't put his money behind the right candidates. Rove's candidates don't win. Rove spent $127 million on TV spots for Mitt Romney. He lost 10 of 12 Senate races, and four of nine House races. His record in 2012 is 7-15.

He's the Charlotte Bobcats of politics.

The Tea Party has taken its lumps, some well-earned. (Note to Tea Party activists: Don't get off message. Ever.) But once again, Rove has underestimated the determination of the grassroots. Especially after the rigging of Rule 12 at the RNC convention, the grassroots will not shrink from his challenge.

Before Mr. Rove goes any further down this particular path, he might want to consider the areas of agreement between Tea Party and "establishment" Republicans. He might want to consider the need for committed activists who will walk the precincts, staff Get Out The Vote efforts and keep the GOP competitive with Progressives, who are mastering grassroots activism. (Do we need another repeat of ORCA? Do we, Karl?)

If Rove were a tactician, he would embrace the Tea Party based on its values, which were the values of Reagan, and not too long ago, Republicans. Once upon a time, Tea Party values - minus the racism - were Democrat values.

I implore Karl Rove to reconsider this misguided move, and Republicans to refrain from donating to his 527 and its new "Not Tea Party" spinoff. (Seriously donors, with a record like his, can you trust him with your money? Email me. Let's talk.) But he had better decide soon. The Tea Party is locked and loaded.

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Tony Katz

Tony Katz is a radio talk show host, writer, public speaker and cigar enthusiast. His show can be heard on 93.1FM WIBC in Indianapolis, and at TonyKatz.com.