Why Brulte Will Relish Rove’s Speech to the CA GOP


By snagging GOP strategist Karl Rove as the featured speaker at the California Republican Party convention in March, former legislative leader Jim Brulte – who won’t take over as CRP chairman until the day after Rove speaks – has already begun trying to alter the role his party plays in statewide politics.

What better audience for Rove’s newfound anti-extremist message than the most entrenched ideological Republican activists – delegates to the state GOP convention – in the largest state in the nation?

For those who might have missed his ecdysis, the cold-blooded Rove has regenerated himself as the Conservative Victory Project, targeting unelectable candidates in Republican Senate primaries. This from the architect of George W. Bush’s rise to power who used proto-Tea Partiers as his shock troops. This from the mastermind of the monumentally unsuccessful right-wing American Crossroads super-PACs that spent about $300 million in 2012, including $30 million on behalf of Tea Party candidates.

Lock and Load Rove, who was always more at ease among the country club Republicans, is taking up his squash racquet against the pitch fork brigade of the chapel Republicans – the same forces he used to catapult his client Bush in 2000 and 2004.

He’s right, of course. Republicans have no chance of creating an electoral majority by lashing itself to the “legitimate rape” wing of the GOP. But who can buy the Reptilian Mr. Rove as a voice of reason and principle?

Jim Brulte, apparently. It was Brulte – a longtime ally and pal of Rove’s — who got Bush’s Brain to agree to speak to the state GOP after an initial invitation from outgoing Chairman Tom Del Beccaro.

Brulte is a radical pragmatist. His definition of ideology is what works. Sure, he’s a conservative Republican, who was willing to bottle up the state budget in order to cripple Democratic Gov. Gray Davis in hopes of recalling and replacing him.

But he was also a deal maker, willing to horse-trade a loss for one Republican principle for the victory of another. He’s not part of the Tea Party Wing of the GOP that sees all compromise as capitulation. He actually believes government should govern.

What, Me Worry? In his bid to become chairman of the California Republican Party, however, Brulte is assiduously avoiding talking about anything having to do with policy and politics: immigration, abortion, taxes, gay marriage, legislative compromise or anything that smacks of substance.

For him, it’s all about operations, party building, fund-raising, mechanics. Right. As if backing down the ultra-conservatives who have outsized power in the CRP isn’t critical to returning the party to relevancy.

So who will deliver the message to the California Republians? The man who once called Brulte “our political brains and insightful wizard in California.”

There are plenty of chapel Republicans who don’t buy Rove’s new theology. They still like the unreconstructed Barry Goldwater: “Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue.” The Rushbo Wing of the GOP is not warming to Rove’s new persona. How he’ll go over when he speaks to the California GOP luncheon will likely depend on who buys tickets to the luncheon.

The Calbuzz Chordata Bureau will be watching to see if Brulte’s lips move when Rove is talking.

From Deborah W. Trounstine’s Aptos Art

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There are 13 comments for this post

  1. avatar Hank Plante says:

    Rove is a terrible choice for a party trying to re-brand itself. It will only reinforce the notion that the Grumpy Old Party has no solutions for 21st Century California.

    • avatar dmiller says:

      No surprise, Brulte is a consultant to lobbyists in California. Same old GOP image, a political elite ruling class out of touch with the people.

    • avatar Sideline says:

      I agree. It’s a reach back into the Machiavellian past, in which dirty tricks and whisper campaigns substituted for anything-the-public-might-actually-want. We have heard that the Party wants to change its approach and soften its message, but without a change in its fundamental policies, it’s the same old mix of Talibani misogyny, corporate boot-lickin’ and gun-nuttery.

      Even the immigration debate is guaranteed to be an entertaining affair, with one side of the GOP pushing for more relaxed importation of cheap labor and the other side taking the White-hood approach against the scary swarthy barbarians at our southern gate. If not for ingenious gerrymandering, there would not be many (R)’s at all in D.C. Rove is not relevant to the possible reemergence of the Party, a Party that is barely relevant itself.

    • avatar dmiller says:

      David Miller for CRP Chair http://www.vote4miller.net http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvTq9lcIIZc

      Visit David’s website and watch his video. We need leadership that is going to fix the Brand. The problem is not money or volunteers.

  2. avatar panterazero says:

    In my view there is one key question for 2014: Will the Redstate/Club for Growth/Tea Party Express community get so disgusted with the R* establishment that they’ll seek to form a national third party? And if so who will raise, and who will provide, the kind of money they’ll need to be taken seriously?

  3. avatar chrisfinnie says:

    I certainly agree with the Calbuzzard’s appraisal of Mr. Rove as a fellow out for the main chance.

    However, I also caution anybody against doing a Faux Noise analysis and predicting the end of the GOP. As Sideline correctly observes the Republicans did a good job of gerrymandering the states they controlled. They did a good job of controlling a lot of states just before the new lines got drawn. They’re working really hard to limit who can vote. In short, their message may resonate with a shrinking number of voters, but their party is really, really good at this sort of tactical warfare.

    That said, I hope they keep putting up candidates like Richard Mordoch, Todd Aiken, and all the rest of the loud-mouthed loonies they have been fielding. Because Rove is right that they’ll keep losing elections if they do. Even radical conservatives like Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie know that.

  4. avatar chuckmcfadden says:

    “ecdysis”? (3rd graf.) Good Lord, what is Calbuzz coming to?

  5. avatar panterazero says:

    @chrisfinnie, We can worry a little less — a little — secure in the knowledge that Christie and Jindal are disdained by the hard-shell right as squishes. The R*’s will of course have a presidential candidate in 2016, but I rejoice at the money and energy they’re going to waste in the choosing. It’ll be worse than last year.

  6. avatar chuckmcfadden says:

    “integument”? Good Lord again.

    • avatar 3alarmer says:

      Chuckles, this is the kinda thinking that has given the Rove brothers, Carl and Ham, free reign in the definition of political language……kudos to Calbuzz in any attempt to elevate the dialogue. And ecdysis …….well how often do you get to call out a snake in such highfalutin terminology ?

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