Send Rover to the Dog House... Permanently

Karl Rove thinks the Tea Party is "not sophisticated."
SPIEGEL: Is the Tea Party movement a repeat of the Reagan Revolution?

Rove: It's a little bit different because the Reagan Revolution was driven a lot by the persona of one man, Ronald Reagan, who had an optimistic and sunny view of what the nation could be. It was also a well-organized, coherent, ideologically motivated and conservative revolution. If you look underneath the surface of the Tea Party movement, on the other hand, you will find that it is not sophisticated. It's not like these people have read the economist Friedrich August von Hayek. Rather, these are people who are deeply concerned about what they see happening to their country, particularly when it comes to spending, deficits, debt and health care.
I shouldn't have to point out how unhelpful this attitude is. I assume Rover wants to help the Republican Party, but I don't understand how he hopes to accomplish his goals by alienating legions of Tea Party conservatives with insulting generalizations.

Moreover, it's quite perplexing to hear a professional political analyst talk smack about millions of "unsophisticated" political amateurs when he himself is incapable of understanding how unwise it is to attack members of his own party during the time between the primaries and the general election.

When and if Rover tries to backpedal away from his "unsophisticated" statement, I won't be inclined to believe whatever he says. Ordinarily I might try to give the benefit of the doubt with a more charitable assessment, but Karl Rove has a brilliant mind and he knows well power of his words. He meant what he said, belittling connotations included.

Unfortunately, this deeply ingrained, destructive establishment attitude is all too pervasive in the GOP. Consequently, a great number of Republicans, "conservatives" and libertarians apparently would prefer to lose elections to statist Democrats than to be embarrassed by unsightly Tea Party rabble.

Rush is right. The ingredients for a third party revolt are already brewing and the GOP is adding fuel to the fire.

Update: The unenthusiastically anticipated walk-back/non-appology from Rover:
They are unsophisticated in the ways of DC, and they demand 100 percent of what they want and now.”

He continued: “Most of them are generally proud they are not from Washington — or wise in its ways...
Rover clearly thinks tea partiers are petulant rubes who are too stupid to take his sage, progressive Republican advice, but Rover has put his own immaturity on display. I think he's still sore about Tea Partiers in Delaware ignoring his pleas. Rover stooped to grace Delaware Tea Partiers with his glorious presence in a private meeting, but the Tea Partiers stubbornly refused to get behind his liberal Republican buddy, Cap-n-Trade Castle.

Has Rover's ego been bruised beyond all recognition? Let this video tell the story:

"NO ONE is going to tell us how to take care of business."

Update II: Rush provides his opinion on the matter:
I got a note today from a friend, "Why would Karl be saying this, Rush? You know Karl. Why would he be saying this? Why doesn't Karl learn to keep his mouth shut?"

I said, "Karl means to say this. Mike Murphy, all these guys, they think this."

It's not easy for me to say here, folks, it really isn't. But it's what ought to be a euphoric period still indicates that on the Republican side there are divisions and jealousies and egos and competition. And the simplest explanation is that the Tea Party cannot be claimed as credit by anybody. Nobody can say, "I am the Tea Party." Nobody can say, "I started the Tea Party." Nobody can say, "I saw the Tea Party coming, and I steered it." Nobody who makes a living generating political support, generating political donations, nobody in that business can point to the Tea Party and say, "I did it." So it's a threat.

It's a genuine effervescent, grassroots effort. Nobody has any control over it, nobody can honestly claim any credit for it, and therefore it's a threat.

Folks, I could give you the greatest analogy I ever could, but I would probably end my career doing so in talking about this program in its early days. None of the experts -- and they were all very nice people -- none told me it would work. They all told me it wouldn't work. Therefore when it did, none of them can say they had anything to do with it. So there was ambivalence about it while people were happy about it at the same time.

Same thing with the Tea Party movement. Any time people that are considered unprofessional or outside the professional realm enter somebody else's professional realm and shake it up, you have a bit of a threat there. And I think it's partially what's going on here.

Discussion: Memeorandum


  1. I would have to agree with Rove on this issue, my friend. If you look underneath of what he was saying you'd see that he was actually portraying the tea party as a genuine grass roots movement. and a grass roots movement by definition is not an organized movement. and the tea party is not ideologically driven but issue driven.

    and i doubt very seriously that many persons could explain the difference between the economic theories of hayek and the kenesian economic theories. you and i may be able to but i think we'd be in a very small minority.

  2. @Griper I see what you're saying, but if Rove only wanted to make a point about the level maturity or organization of the Tea Party, I think he would have said so.

    Rove did say this...

    "There have been movements like this before -- the Civil Rights movement, the anti-war movement, the pro-life movement, the Second Amendment rights movement. All of them popped up, insistent, loud, and relatively unsophisticated. They wanted everything now and for politicians to be with them 100 percent of the time. And after an election or two, people wake up saying, our system produces mostly incremental progress and takes time and compromise. That's exactly what's going to happen here. I meet a lot of Tea Partiers as I go around the country, and they are amazing people. Most have never been involved in politics before. This is their first experience, and they have the enthusiasm of people who have never done it before."

    That's fairly benign, but unfortunately he didn't stop there. Rove proceeded to draw distinctions between the Tea Party and the Reagan Revolution not just on issues of how well developed the Tea Party is at this point in time, but at a more fundamental level of attitude and intellect. Would Rove argue that in its infancy the Reagan revolution was disorganized, incoherent, morose and devoid of ideological consistency? I doubt it.

    I also doubt that most of the millions of people involved in the Reagan revolution (or any other popular movement, for that matter) could have participated in a thoughtful discussion of Hayek vs. Keynes, so I can't imagine what Rove was trying to say if he wasn't trying to belittle the Tea Party by commenting on their lack of appreciation for obscure economists.

    Final note: I don't agree Rove's assertion that the Tea Party has no ideological framework. I think the Tea Party is unified by an understanding of the danger of unfettered government power and the urgent need for constraints on the malignant growth of the Federal Government. Limited government, maximum freedom! Some may express that explicitly, others may understand it more intuitively, but that is what motivates the vast majority of Tea Partiers.

  3. We are both speculating about his intent but that only creates grounds for a healthy debate which is good, my friend.

    first of all my first comment was wrote based strictly upon the post as written. but let's compare what he said of both:

    1. the Reagan revolution was driven by the persona of one man. and that man was ideologically motivated. and that ideology had already been established as one. Reagan was a firm believer of the conservative republican ideology. the movement was well organized under this man. by this, i mean that it was a singular unit with a centralized leader and followers. and it got Reagan elected. this is true and i think you'll agree on this.

    now, none of this can be said of the tea party movement. there is no one person driving this movement. it is not organized into a singular unit and it is not ideologically motivated. it is still issues motivated.

    and yes those issues can be the framework of an ideology but it has not been created yet. and yes it can be well organized into a singular unit in time but it isn't now.

    you must remember Rove was being asked to compare the tea party as it is now to the Reagan revolution not to what the tea party is capable of becoming.

    i see no insult in Rove's words. in fact, based on the accomplishment of the tea party i'd say that Rove was actually praising them because what they have accomplished goes against everything he believes in to accomplish things in politics.

    as to the later remarks that you provided he was only making a prediction based upon the past as any prediction is made. that is all anyone can do. and the odds of probability declares it a valid prediction unless the tea party movement results in becoming an anomoly. either way it is just a fact of politics.

    Rove is a professional in politics and i see his remarks from this standpoint. he is presenting a picture of the tea party in terms of his own profession. and i think he presented a picture that shows he understands the movement very well in terms of his profession.

    Compare his words to the words of others in his profession, especially of those on the other side, and i think you might come to a different understanding of what he was communicating in regards to the status of the teea party movement.

  4. Don't get caught up in Semantics. I suspect Carl Rove is VERY interested in our "unsophisticated" movement, but I also suspect politically he is astute enough to have enough respect for us AMERICANS that we are not going to be counted out.

    I'm not counting C.Rove out just yet. We may need his political savvy, but the first time he *ick** us over... he's way out. BTW Carl Rove has taken enough Heat that maybe he's got a righ to speak his mind and maybe we should listen without rancor?

  5. @Griper Check out my update above.

    Rove is smart enough to know that he shouldn't openly trash the Tea Party movement. But apparently he's not smart enough to put his own petty personal disagreements with the Tea Party aside as we approach the elections.

    Now's just not the time for Rove to make unflattering remarks about people who will be voting overwhelmingly for Republicans, no matter how accurate he thinks those unflattering remarks may be.

  6. "Now's just not the time for Rove to make unflattering remarks about people who will be voting overwhelmingly for Republicans, no matter how accurate he thinks those unflattering remarks may be."

    i think you are making too much of it based on the words he used like "sophisticated." the word has nothing to do with "class" as he is using it. don't see it on a personal level and don't get caught up emotionally.

    if you use this definition of sophisticated what he says is true.
    "finely experienced and aware < a sophisticated columnist>"

    all he is saying that the average tea party member is without experience and is not aware of the ways of doing things in DC.

    he is not implying that they are without class as the word is usally used.

    when you use this defintion you'll see that
    what he is saying is that the tea partiers want everything now but are not aware of the fact that is not the way things gets done in DC. it takes time and compromise. and he has made a very good point.

    then when you add in the fact that many are first timers the use of that definition makes even more sense. and he has nothing to apologize for.

    and look at the sentence:

    "He continued: “Most of them are generally proud they are not from Washington — or wise in its ways. These are characteristics of new movements, and because it’s real and from the grassroots up, it’s one of the most powerful forces in American politics"

    he is declaring that everything he said about the tea party is the reason for what they have become. i can't think of a more flattering thing to say about the tea party than that.

    remember, politics is about power not flattery.

  7. Great arguments, both having merit.

    I am not a huge Rove fan because he is "establisment Republican", but I believe he has made some valid observations.

    The pot was stirred creating further thought on the subject. A good thing.

  8. @Griper I'm not sure that calling the Tea Party "real" and "powerful" is intended as a complement. I can think of quite a few unfortunate political movements that have been "real" and "powerful."


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