Conservative media figures are giving the thumbs down to Fox News analyst Karl Rove's new effort to police the Republican Party against the influence of the Tea Party.
Over the weekend the New York Times reported on a new group, The Conservative Victory Project, backed by "the biggest donors in the Republican Party" and members of the Rove-affiliated group American Crossroads. Reportedly the group will recruit more mainstream Republican candidates while protecting incumbent Senate Republicans from challenges on the right. The Times described it as "the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party."
The response from conservative media figures has been almost uniformly negative, with many citing American Crossroads' poor performance in the 2012 election and President Obama's election after years of Rove's work in the Bush White House as evidence against him.
Newly signed Fox analyst Erick Erickson sarcastically noted: "The people who brought us No Child Left Behind, Medicare Part D, TARP, the GM bailout, Harriet Miers, etc., etc., etc. are really hacked off that people have been rejecting them." Erickson added, "I dare say any candidate who gets this group's support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement."
Daniel Horowitz, a front page contributor to Erickson's RedState.com described Rove's group as "snakes in the GOP grass," and described the group's name as "Orwellian" since "they will never tell you how they plan to achieve conservative victory without running conservative candidates."
In response to Rove's announcement, Fox News contributor Michelle Malkin asked, "Who needs Obama and his Team Chicago to destroy the Tea Party when you've got Rove and his big government band of elites?" Addressing Rove, she wrote, "You and your Incumbency Protection Racket are the problem, not the Tea Party."
Ben Shapiro of Breitbart.com accused Rove of "quietly undermining conservatism" and described Rove and his allies as "the Bush insider team that helped lead to the rise of Barack Obama," and whose advice "led to the epic Romney defeat."
W. James Antle III pointed out in The Daily Caller that many candidates favored by the Republican establishment in 2012 -- likeTommy Thompson, George Allen, Rick Berg, Denny Rehberg, Linda Lingle, and Heather Wilson -- "all lost the general election" and that "if the Tea Party is to blame for anything, it is not distancing the party from Bush enough."
WorldNetDaily, linking to the New York Times story, described the effort in a headline as "Rove Doubles Down In War On Conservatives."
Rick Moran, writing at American Thinker, said "this kind of bloodletting is self-defeating."
With such a negative reaction from the right, will Rove use Fox to promote fundraising for this effort, as he has done so often in the past?