GOP infighting turns ugly over ‘hater’ comment

By David Ferguson
Thursday, February 7, 2013 15:12 EDT
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Karl Rove via screengrab
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A simmering feud within the ranks of the Republican Party has erupted into a boil as each side has gone public with its grievances. According to the Wall Street Journal‘s Washington Wire blog, the purportedly pragmatic establishment wing of the party, as embodied by Karl Rove, is attempting to shed the hard right tea party wing of the GOP. The small, noisy constituency of arch conservatives aren’t going down without a fight, however, as accusations and insults like “cranks,” “bigots” and “haters” have flown back and forth.

On Thursday, a group of prominent supporters of arch conservative author and “family values” scold Brent Bozell, including Tony Perkins, Richard Viguerie and Phyllis Schlafly sent a letter to Steven Law, the president of Karl Rove’s electoral Super PAC Crossroads GPS that accused Rove and Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio of being members of the “consultant class” that is attempting to undermine “good conservatives and Tea Party leaders and members.”

They were protesting remarks made in an interview on Wednesday with Washington, DC talk radio station WMAL, in which Collegio called Bozell a “hater” for his constant attacks on DC Republicans. Bozell and his allies took umbrage and are now accusing Collegio and, by extension, Rove of being the conservative movement’s real problem.

“We cannot and will not abide the unjust, personal broadside your aide Jonathan Collegio leveled against a man whose family has dedicated itself to advancing the cause of liberty for over a century,” they wrote to Crossroads President Steven Law. “On behalf of the conservative movement, we are demanding you terminate Mr. Collegio.”

The controversy is erupting just as former Republican rainmaker Karl Rove is attempting to recapture some of his lost luster after a series of stinging electoral defeats by forming a new PAC, the Conservative Victory Project, designed to weed out and defeat extreme right wing candidates who have been driving voters away from the Republicans in recent years. The Conservative Victory Project is an offshoot of the Crossroads PAC, which, according to the Sunlight Foundation, spent more than $100 million in donor money in 2012 only to see all of its candidates lose.

The signees of the Bozell letter attacked the Conservative Victory Project as being contrary to true conservative principles.

Collegio’s remarks echoed those of an unnamed Republican Party official, who told Politico that the GOP is attempting to “marginalize the cranks, haters and bigots — there’s a lot of underbrush that has to be cleaned out.”

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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