Chris Cillizza offers analysis of Rove’s latest attempt to be relevant after removing all doubt that he is a hack. Cillizza asks if it will work. It won’t work. But, not for the reasons he offers (1. Money isn’t everything and 2. $ could be used to go around the base). He is right about money not being the panacea to weed out the loons. Most of the money raised by Rove and company will be spent on television ads. One brief look at the data from the 2012 election should have been enough to discredit the assumption that tv presence increases a candidates performance with voters.
In the first place, key demographics aren’t watching traditional television anymore in the same ways…particularly the demographics that the GOP so desperately needs. Secondly, saturation happens quickly and the message is undermined by the repeating annoyance of the medium. Finally, (a point recognized by some GOP’ers) is that what helps you win elections is organization on the ground. Volunteers tend to be true believers. So, if the establishment seeks to bypass the believers to appeal to some mythical Independent…there is NO evidence to support such a bet.
Cillizza’s second point–that this new SuperPAC could be used to extend the parameters of the base is also not reality-based. In this imaginary world where Independent voters are courted by the establishment GOP successfully–how exactly can you “grow” enough to side-step your core political constituency? This will only cause the AM radio crowd to become even more furious at Washington Republicans. In order for Independents to return to the GOP, the base of the Party would need to be decimated or peel off into another party all together.
Classic example: Chris Christie. The minute I heard the reaction of the GOP base to his “embrace” of Obama during Sandy–I predicted that he would run in 2016 as an Independent. The Conservative base will not forgive him and he won’t want to cater to them. Does anyone think there are enough “moderate” or Independent Republicans to support a candidate through the GOP primaries? (Can you say Huntsman?)
Liberals seem to believe that at some point the crazies will leave the GOP and the reasonable people will take the reins. I have yet to be convinced. The reasonable people have been giving away their Party since Reagan and will not be able to pull it back from the edge now just because it is causing them to lose in repeated humiliation. The Tea Party isn’t going anywhere–but they are getting older. And some of them have begun to openly speculate whether or not they should shut up about social issues and keep the focus on fiscal issues. You know, the old *wink wink*.
Conservative Christians will simply not comply with this plan. And the famous three legs of the GOP stool will never again touch the ground simultaneously. The damage has been done. And any money given to Rove and his “victory fund” will be as fruitful as his prediction about Ohio on Election night.