Echoing general Republican dismay over Tea Party devotee Christine O’Donnell’s extreme views, GOP operative Karl Rove unloaded his contempt for O’Donnell on Sean Hannity’s show yesterday. Bemoaning O’Donnell’s win as a loss of a Senate seat, Rove said “it does conservatives little good to support candidates” who “do not evince the characteristics” that “the voters are looking for.”
In rebuffing Hannity’s defense of O’Donnell, Rove launched into a list of “the nutty things she’s been saying,” like her claim that Castle supporters would “follow me home” and “hid[e] in the bushes” outside her home. To punctuate his point, Rove slammed her “serious character problems” for saying Castle “had a homosexual relationship with a young aide with not a bit of evidence to prove it”:
ROVE: It does conservatives little good to support candidates who at the end of the day while they may be conservative in their public statements do not event the characteristics of rectitude, truthfulness and sincerity and character that the voters are looking for. […]
But we also can’t make progress if we have candidates who got serious character problems, who cause ordinary voters who are not philosophically aligned with us to not vote for our candidates out of concern of what they said and what they do. … But look, she attacked him by saying he had a homosexual relationship with a young aide with not a bit of evidence to prove it.
HANNITY: She said in that interview she was not making that accusation.
ROVE: That was the second interview. She had already previously spread the rumor. Come on! Look, she’s got a chance now. Let’s you and I have a private side bet on this one. I think at the end of the day she has to answer these questions in a way that people of Delaware find convincing or we are going to find ourselves with somebody who says conservative things, but doesn’t have the character that the people of Delaware want to have.
Rove’s disgust with O’Donnell’s irresponsible tactics is ironic. In a 2004 Rove profile, one of Rove’s campaign staffers revealed that making sexual innuendos was a “standard practice” of the GOP strategist. In his 1994 campaign against Democratic judge and former president of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect Mark Kennedy (AL), Rove’s operatives initiated a baseless “whisper campaign” to smear Kennedy as a “homosexual pedophile” in order to “counter the positives” of Kennedy’s volunteer work with children.
Like O’Donnell, Rove regularly repeats falsehoods to discredit those who oppose his agenda. But the success Rove’s agenda sometimes requires even the denial of personal facts. As the Atlantic’s Andrew Sullivan notes, in order to guide the GOP “into anti-gay wedge politics in the last decade,” Rove had to “den[y] that he was aware his own father was gay” despite being “comfortable with” his father’s sexual orientation.”
O’Donnell dismissed Rove’s attack today, calling him a “so-called expert” whose “credibility was hurt last night.” Flaunting her win on Good Morning America, she mused that this “unfactual” “so-called political guru” should be “restoring his reputation” today by “eating some humble pie.”
TPM notes that Rove is getting criticized by conservative activists for his stance on O’Donnell.
,On Fox News today, Sarah Palin responded to Rove’s O’Donnell criticism. “We love our friends there in the machine, the expert politicos,” she said. “They need to realize the the time for primary debate is obviously over and it’s time for unity. …We need to go forth and conquer for the American people.” Later Palin added, “It is time to put aside internal power grabs and greed and egos in the party and fight united.”