NEW YORK —
On the same day Establishment Republicans prescribed solutions for the future of the party, top conservatives here ripped into GOP strategist Karl Rove and his new Super PAC that will aim to weed out more conservative candidates it views as unelectable.”Look at the stage at CPAC just a couple days ago. Who are the rock stars of the GOP?” Matt Kibbe, executive director of FreedomWorks, asked an audience of influential conservatives at the monthly New York Meeting confab. “They’re exactly the candidates that the Republican consultants said could not possibly win. Not now, not ever.”
Kibbe then took not-so-veiled shots at Rove for supporting Establishment Republicans in recent high-profile Senate races — David Dewhurst over Ted Cruz in Texas, now-Democrat Charlie Crist over Marco Rubio in Florida, and turncoat Arlen Specter over Pat Toomey in Pennsylvania’s 2004 race.
“I remember when Karl Rove was still in the White House and he said that Arlen Specter is the best we can do in Pennsylvania,” Kibbe said. “Fast-forward to Obamacare — who was the 60th vote?”
“Spector the Defector!” someone in the audience whispered.
Kibbe chided Rove for trying to wipe out members of the party with whom he did not see eye to eye.
“Isn’t that what we believe in? Don’t we believe in competition — in the democratization of politics in allowing for competitive primaries? Do we really want Karl Rove to decide that?” Kibbe said, to applause.
“No!” the audience shouted back.
Later in the meeting, pollster Pat Caddell loudly blasting the Republican Party for allowing consultants to run their campaigns. He painted the 2012 election — which saw several Republicans forfeit once winnable Senate races — as a disaster.
“Until you have outside experts who are not pledged to protect that consultant lobby establishment, then all of this is crap,” Caddell said. “My argument with Republicans — you want to solve your problem? You need to first start with the truth.”
Caddell added: “It’s like Pearl Harbor. Election Day was like Pearl Harbor, and you people are still pretending it didn’t happen.”
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