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Rove: Public 'Enraged,' GOP Should Focus on Debt Ceiling Fight

Image: Rove: Public 'Enraged,' GOP Should Focus on Debt Ceiling Fight

By Elliot Jager   |   Thursday, 03 Oct 2013 06:49 AM

Republican strategist Karl Rove, writing in The Wall Street Journal's opinion pages Wednesday, warned that "the public is increasingly impatient, even enraged, with Washington's dysfunction."

He implied that senate Republican tactics are politically hard to defend, and urged GOP congressional leaders to be ready to hit the ground running for the bigger fight ahead: the debt-ceiling vote.

In advance of that October 17 deadline, Rove advocated having "a serious debt-ceiling plan ready quickly." Otherwise, he warned Democrats led by President Obama and, alluding to Tea Party stalwarts, "a faction within the GOP's own ranks – can whipsaw the party."

Rove made this stark warning: "Whoever misplays the debt-ceiling debate" could suffer "enduring political damage."

In the present government shutdown crisis, Rove nevertheless sees Democrats appearing as "inflexible, unreasonable obstructionists" for refusing to negotiate with Republicans.

The former deputy chief of staff to President George W. Bush, who now runs his own political action committee, also made these key points:
  • Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid along with Tea Party Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee all wanted to shut down the government.
  • The president unwisely doesn't want to offset a debt-ceiling increase with future spending reductions.
  • Reading the political lay of the land on Obamacare, the White House already caved, delaying the employer mandate.
  • Republicans are shrewdly pushing to delay the individual mandate too.
  • Hypocritical Democrats want to retain insurance subsidies that are exclusive to members of Congress and staff. "But Americans want Congress to live under the same laws it passes for the rest of us."
  • For the coming deficit battle, some Senate Republicans want to bundle mandatory and discretionary spending cuts "in the president's own budget with an equal amount in Republican suggestions for future spending cuts." It's a pressure tactic that might work, but if it doesn't Republicans better have a marketable Plan B.
Analysts say Rove, who reflects the values of the Republican establishment, is determined to obstruct tea party influence in the GOP. His American Crossroads super PAC has been spending to block tea party-endorsed candidates from being nominated as Republicans.

Some on the Left are keen for the tea party to dominate the GOP in the belief that while tea party activists are highly mobilized their views have no broad national constituency and will drag the entire GOP down.

One left-wing MoveOn.org campaigner told Politico that he had been "reaching out to some of the tea party folks" finding, sometimes, "that our interests align."

Rove's Journal op-ed appears to be part of his campaign to save the GOP from itself.

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