Blaming the Tea Party For Bush’s Mess

A group aligned with Karl Rove’s super PAC believes it can rescue the Republican Party from itself. These self-appointed saviors of the GOP call themselves the Conservative Victory Project, but many Republicans suspect they’re out to prevent conservative primary victories.

This new outfit’s spokesman claims, “Our party has lost six Senate seats over the last two election cycles not because of our ideas but because of undisciplined candidates running weak campaigns.” There is more than a kernel of truth to this. Todd Akin and Christine O’Donnell were terrible candidates whose abysmal performance in turn highlighted gaffes by other slightly less ham-fisted GOP candidates, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

But Akin wasn’t necessarily the tea party favorite in the Missouri Republican primary. Democrats spent heavily to promote his candidacy for a reason. Moreover, in only two of those six races — Delaware and Indiana — was the establishment candidate a sure bet to win the race the conservative upstarts ultimately lost. Unless you believe, for example, that a candidate who blows a primary lead against Sharron Angle would have proved more adept against Harry Reid.

Moreover, Tommy Thompson, George Allen, Rick Berg, Denny Rehberg, Linda Lingle, and Heather Wilson were all establishment favorites in the primaries. They all won the Republican nomination. They all lost the general election.

It also seems likely that Senators Pat Toomey, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul will do more to advance conservative principles than Arlen Specter, Charlie Crist, David Dewhurst, and Trey Grayson would have.

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