With the battle won by the ultra-right in Delaware, the national conservative pundits who backed Christine O’Donnell in last night’s GOP Senate primary have turned on a man who is presumably one of their own: Karl “The Architect” Rove. After Rove bemoaned O’Donnell’s nomination as the end of the GOP’s chances to take back the Senate in a heated interview with Sean Hannity last night, pundits and tea partiers have slammed him as a traitor and even called for Fox News to suspend him as an on-air analyst.
In one five-minute interview, it seems, Rove went from keeper of the conservative cause to the next Jane Hamsher in the eyes of those who are ostensibly his allies. It’s a stunning turn against the man who has recast himself as a right-wing media darling since Bush left office, and suggests that the next war on the establishment from angry conservatives could be aimed in part at the man who for close to a decade was the progressive movement’s enemy number one.
Here’s Rove on Hannity:
And here’s how it played:
“I just finished watching Karl Rove trashing GOP Senate primary winner Christine O’Donnell. It was on Sean Hannity’s FNC show. Might as well have been Olbermann on MSNBC,” Michelle Malkin wrote on her blog last night. “The establishment Beltway strategist couldn’t even bother with an obligatory word of congratulations for O’Donnell.”
Over at HotAir, Malkin’s take was reposted it under the simple headline, “War.” This morning, HotAir blogger Ed Morrissey took his own shot at establishment figures like Rove who he said should get over Mike Castle’s defeat last night and hop aboard the O’Donnell train. Morrissey writes that establishment GOP types should rally around their nominee in Delaware, just as they would expect O’Donnell’s supporters to do if Castle had won.
“Rarely have I seen such childishness from the supposed leaders of a political establishment, who set the very rules and customs they now want to ignore because they just got embarrassed on a national stage,” Morrissey writes. “Grow up, shut up, and get to work.”
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Tea Partiers Storm DC For Second (And Smaller) 9/12 Rally]
Malkin seems to agree. “Rove came across as an effete sore loser instead of the supposedly brilliant and grounded GOP strategist that he’s supposed to be,” she wrote. “Expect more Washington Republicans to start sounding like Tea Party-bashing libs as their entrenched incumbent friends go down.”
Dan Riehl, a conservative who blogs at the site RiehlWorldView.com, went the farthest in his attacks on Rove, calling on Fox News to “suspend” him and “investigate” reports that he tried to tip the balance for Castle in behind-the-scenes meetings with tea partiers in Delaware last year.
“Especially given his comments on Fox News tonight, until this is resolved, it seems impossible to trust Rove as an objective analyst,” Riehl wrote. “In terms of the conservative movement, we should not simply ignore him, but proactively work to undermine Rove in whatever ways we can, given his obvious willingness to undermine us.”
According to one of the key tea party leaders who helped push O’Donnell over the finish line last night, Delaware 9/12 Patriots executive director Russ Murphy, Rove held a meeting with O’Donnell supporters last year where he implored tea partiers to bury the hatchet with Castle and get behind a Republican that could win. Speaking after O’Donnell at the Delaware victory party last night, Murphy delivered what he said was “a message” to Rove after the Hannity interview.
“With all due respect, no one is going to tell us how to take care of business,” Murphy said.
Watch Murphy talk about Rove at the O’Donnell rally below. His speech starts at 13:02: