Kibbe: Rove's Plan to Protect GOP Incumbents is 'Political Suicide'

Tuesday, 05 Feb 2013 04:40 PM

By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter

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FreedomWorks President Matt Kibbe tells Newsmax that a new Karl Rove-backed group is seeking to protect incumbents who “are afraid of a tea party challenge” — and he calls the effort “political suicide.”

Kibbe also discloses that his group intends to target in GOP primaries incumbents who don’t consistently support conservative principles.

Tea party-affiliated FreedomWorks was founded in 2004 and claims to have millions of members nationwide.

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Former George W. Bush adviser Rove’s group, American Crossroads, has formed a new organization called the Conservative Victory Project that will target Republican candidates it deems unelectable. The organization was formed because of concerns that candidates like Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock were costing the GOP congressional seats.

Commenting on the group’s efforts, Kibbe says in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV: “It’s all about stifling competition. It’s all about protecting incumbent senators who are afraid of a tea party challenge, afraid of actually standing on their record.

“If you think about what Karl Rove is trying to do, he’s going to eliminate this whole new breed of Republican that’s repopulated the party, bringing all this energy. There would be no Marco Rubio, no Pat Toomey, no Mike Lee, no Rand Paul if this type of apparatus was successful.

“So it’s a really bad idea and if you look at our record on balance, we have in fact brought new energy to the Republican Party and it’s vital that we continue to do so.”

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In a statement issued on Monday, Kibbe called this group “Orwellian.”

He tells Newsmax: “They seem comfortable with the fact that even though we have $16 trillion in debt, even though before the tea party emerged they were losing elections, that somehow we’re the problem. But I don’t think that’s true.

“We’re looking for candidates that stand for the principles the Republican Party supposedly espouses. And it’s political suicide to come after members simply because they stand in Washington for what they ran for in their elections. That’s exactly what we’re looking for in candidates.”

Referring to observers who have likened this conflict to a civil war within the Republican Party, Kibbe says: “Actually, I liken it to gang warfare because nobody performed in the last election the way we had hoped.

The tea party, although we succeeded with [Rep.] Ted Cruz and [Sen.] Jeff Flake, didn’t win all the elections we wanted to win. But of course Karl Rove didn’t win any elections and he spent a lot of money losing.

“The inevitable bottom-up disciple of grassroots America is a genie that you can’t put back in the bottle and Karl Rove or anybody else can’t stop that. You would be smarter to embrace it.”

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Tea party-affiliated groups are said to be targeting Republican senators they deem less than conservative or who are considered RINOs — Republicans in Name Only — and according to published reports, Sens. Lindsey Graham and Lamar Alexander have been named as possible targets.

Asked if FreedomWorks will target Republicans in the primaries, Kibbe responds: “Yes, we’re definitely looking at the potential of targeting both House and Senate Republicans that have disappointed again and again and again. It’s too early to say where that will be. We’re certainly looking at those two races and others as well.

“But we learned our lesson in states like Missouri in 2012 (when Todd Akin ran for the Senate). We need to find the right candidate and we need to make sure that we unify all our disparate voices behind one candidate instead of splitting our vote.

“The only reason that Todd Akin made it to the general election was not because the tea party supported him, but because the tea party split its vote between the other two candidates who were challenging him. That will be a new test for us. Can we become sophisticated enough to find that one candidate that’s 90 percent of what we want?”

As for dealing with the deficit and federal spending, Kibbe says: “At some point somebody has to stand in front of the railroad tracks and say, enough is enough.

“[Republicans] need to write a budget resolution, they need to let Paul Ryan do his work, they need to put it on the table, and then they need to insist that Democrats do the same because as far as I’m concerned Republicans have been negotiating with themselves.

“There are laws on the books, the budget laws, that require Harry Reid to write a budget resolution by April 15. They’re required to reconcile that by Oct. 1. They haven’t done it.”

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Summing up FreedomWorks' stance on immigration reform in general, Kibbe says: “We think that anybody that wants to come to this country legally to work, to be productive members of our community, we want those folks. But you’ve got to follow the laws and you shouldn’t arbitrarily change the rules of the game after other people have followed those laws.

“I don’t think that President Obama wants to solve the immigration problem. He doesn’t want to solve the fact that the INS is completely dysfunctional and that you have all this illegal traffic because the legal system doesn’t work. He just wants an issue and we need to be careful about that.”

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