Fox News political analyst Karl Rove and Erick Erickson, the network's newest contributor, are at war over the political direction of the Republican Party.
On Saturday The New York Times reported that Rove was backing the Conservative Victory Project, a new group supported by "the biggest donors in the Republican Party" and Rove's colleagues from his American Crossroads super PAC. According to the Times, the group was created with the explicit purpose of pushing back against efforts by Tea Party conservatives to force the party to the right through the support of far-right candidates:
The biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts who Republican leaders worry could complicate the party's efforts to win control of the Senate.
The group, the Conservative Victory Project, is intended to counter other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles. It is the most robust attempt yet by Republicans to impose a new sense of discipline on the party, particularly in primary races.
The Times went on to report that the creation of the group demonstrates "the establishment is taking steps to fight back against Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that have wielded significant influence in backing candidates who ultimately lost seats to Democrats in the general election."
But Tea Party-affiliated conservative media figures aren't going quietly, and some of the fire at Rove is coming from inside the Fox News tent. Erickson, who has regularly supported right-wing primary candidates over less ideologically rigid Republican ones, writes today on his RedState blog that GOP candidates supported by Conservative Victory Project should be targeted for defeat. He also mocks the effectiveness of American Crossroads, writing, "Thank God they are behind this. In 2012, they spent hundreds of millions of rich donors' money and had jack to show for it."
From Erickson's piece:
American Crossroads is creating a new Super PAC to crush conservatives, destroy the tea party, and put a bunch of squishes in Republican leadership positions. Thank God they are behind this. In 2012, they spent hundreds of millions of rich donors' money and had jack to show for it.
It is interesting though. 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. In 2012, about the only successful Republican candidates were the ones who directly rejected the legacy of these people.
So now they will up their game. They don't like being shut out. They blame the tea party and conservatives for their failure to win primaries. They'll now try to match conservatives and, in the process, call themselves conservatives.
I dare say any candidate who gets this group's support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement. They've made it really easy not to figure out who the terrible candidates will be in 2014.
It will be interesting to see if Fox provides Erickson with the same airtime to denounce Rove's organizations as they've historically given Rove to promote them.
UPDATE: Other media conservatives are attacking Rove for forming this new group.