David Frum

02.14.13

The Karl Rove Backlash

Ben Jacobs, writing for the New Republic on the Iowa Senate race, describes what happens when local activists and politicians think they're being treated shoddily:

Prominent Republican activist Craig Robinson was less guarded in his assessment, saying “the last thing you want to do in politics is tell someone that they can’t do something.” “Conservative activists are rallying around King,” he says, “not because he’s the best guy,” but out of resentment that Karl Rove would launch a preemptive strike against a fellow Republican. He went on to grouse that Rove “buried more Republican candidates than any other consultant.”

King, while remaining noncommittal about a Senate run, is already capitalizing on the resentment, sending out a fundraising appeal claiming “Karl Rove and his army have launched a crusade against me.” Latham, for his part, has kept quiet, though has changed the name of his fundraising committee from Latham For Congress to Iowans For Latham. As one Democratic strategist pointed out, Latham’s political operations have always been “deliberate and professionally managed” and he’s unlikely to be reprinting all his campaign stationery for kicks. However, former Republican state party chair and 2002 gubernatorial nominee Doug Gross still places the odds of Latham running at “50/50.”