The Other McCain

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Paranoid Theory: ‘Karl Rove Was Out Raising Money to Keep Santorum Alive’

Posted on | November 15, 2012 | 53 Comments

James Yanke at Reaganite Republican links to an article at Business Insider in which Grace Wyler gives credence to a paranoid theory offered by evangelical leader David Lane:

Karl stepped on Rick Perry and then Newt Gingrich every chance he got — albeit with deceit and sophistication — and elevated Mitt Romney at strategic, crucial points along their way to the Republican nomination — Rove’s candidate.
As an example of how sophisticated Rove is…Karl Rove was out raising money to keep Santorum alive until they could kill Newt — Santorum basically ran for Governor of Iowa in 2011, visiting all 99 counties; Santorum, out of Iowa, had no organization, no money and no chance in 2012 to be the Republican nominee; he was only a stalking horse for Mitt Romney — Rove kept Santorum alive until he could kill Rick Perry first, and then Newt Gingrich.
It’s instructive to note that Santorum placed 3rd in the South Carolina Presidential Primary the third week of January, and placed 3rd again the next week in Florida — yet Rove [by encouraging GOP donors to donate Santorum] was able to parlay two third place finishes into a $1M shot of money to keep Santorum alive…this is political gamesmanship on a whole other level, plus access to unlimited money.

This is insane in so many ways I don’t even know where to begin. It is obviously false to claim that Karl Rove raised a dime for Rick Santorum’s campaign. Nearly all of Santorum’s post-Iowa fundraising surge was in the form of online contributions from small donors.

So why on earth would David Lane say such a thing? In February, after Santorum won the trifecta — Colorado, Minnesota and Missouri — his underdog campaign caught the attenton of Annette Simmons, wife of Texas billionaire Harold Clark Simmons. Mrs. Simmons is a devout Christian who doesn’t pay much attention to politics, but news reports about Santorum’s strong Christian values appealed to her. So she told her husband that she was thinking about making a donation to Santorum. The Wall Street Journal reported March 23:

Mr. Simmons wondered about the prospects of the former Pennsylvania senator. He called his personal political muse, Republican strategist Karl Rove.
“Is he worth investing into his super PAC?” Mr. Simmons asked. He rose from his leather recliner in the den and stood at a bay window overlooking swans gliding on a lake encircled by 17,000 tulips. “Does he have a chance?”
“Yes, I wouldn’t count him out,” Mr. Rove said. Mr. Simmons’s wife, Annette, who was keen on Mr. Santorum, promptly donated $1 million to his super PAC, cash badly needed for an ad blitz ahead of the Super Tuesday primaries.

Keep in mind what the situation was in February: Michelle Bachmann had quit after Iowa, Perry quit two days before the Jan. 21 South Carolina primary, and Gingrich had gotten stomped by Romney in both Florida and Nevada. Then came Feb. 8, when Santorum won all three contests, while Gingrich placed third in Colorado and fourth (behind Ron Paul) in Minnesota (Newt didn’t make the ballot in Missouri).

So if any well-informed person were asked, “Does Santorum have a chance?” the obvious answer would be, “Yes, I wouldn’t count him out.” Yet this is twisted by David Lane — who backed Gingrich from start to finish — into a conspiratorial plot. Furthermore, the idea that Perry and Gingrich lost because Rove “stepped on [them] every chance he got” is blatantly counterfactual:

  • Perry self-destructed in two debates in Florida (Tampa Sept. 12, Orlando Sept. 22), and was never a viable contender thereafter. Whatever prospects there might have been for resurrecting the Texas governor’s campaign ended at the Nov. 9 debate in Michigan, when Perry forgot how to count to three: “Oops.” By all normal logic, Perry should have quit after his fifth-place showing in the Iowa caucuses, but instead let himself be persuaded to continue on to South Carolina, only to end up quitting the Thursday before the Saturday primary and endorsing Gingrich.
  • Gingrich was buried in Iowa by a blitz of Romney attack ads, recovered to win South Carolina, then buried against in Florida. As I have extensively documented, Gingrich’s campaign suffered from an unsustainable “burn rate.” Gingrich’s campaign went into the red in late January due to an ill-fated decision to attempt to fight Romney in the expensive Florida TV market and never recovered its financial balance. Newt reportedly spent the days before the Nevada primary desperately ”dialing for dollars” (and thereby missed a scheduled appearance with the state’s popular Gov. Brian Sandoval) because of the campaign’s money troubles.

So, on the basis of a single datum — the Harold Simmons call to Karl Rove in February — David Lane has ginned up a conspiracy theory that falsely portrays Rick Santorum as a Rove-controlled stalking horse for the Romney campaign. Paranoia is not an ideology.

UPDATE: It is necessary, in order to understand how absurdly misguided David Lane’s paranoid theory is, to look at the vote totals in the three GOP contests that took place on Feb. 8:

MISSOURI PRIMARY:
RICK SANTORUM …. 55%
MITT ROMNEY ……… 25%
RON PAUL …………….. 12%

COLORADO CAUCUSES:
RICK SANTORUM …. 40%
MITT ROMNEY ……… 35%
NEWT GINGRICH …. 13%
RON PAUL …………….. 12%

MINNESOTA CAUCUSES:
RICK SANTORUM …. 45%
RON PAUL …………….. 27%
MITT ROMNEY ……… 17%
NEWT GINGRICH …. 11%

No intelligent person could look at those results and say that, as of Feb. 9, Newt Gingrich was better positioned than Rick Santorum to defeat Romney, and yet this is what David Lane wants you to believe: That somehow, as a result of Karl Rove’s Machiavellian scheming, Newt got cheated out of the nomination because Annette Simmons gave a million dollars to Santorum’s Super PAC in February.

UPDATE: Linked by Becca J. Lowerthanks!

 


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Comments

  • dimonddragon

    EXCEPT you’re still an asshole plugging the GOP Establishment line.

    And WHERE exactly WAS Romney after he sewed up that nomination? Certainly not out there every day bashing Obama, which he SHOULD have been doing. Barely a peep out of Romney calling out Obama’s disastrous policies from the time he sewed it up to the Convention.

  • dimonddragon

    You’re still a ridiculous asshole.

    You are right about one thing, though. Many factors DO go into winning. One of them is supporting a candidate that the BASE can go out and WANT to vote for. The Establishment courted DEMOCRATS and LIBERALS in “open primary” states in order to give us Romney. Just look at the County results in Open Primary states and the distribution of votes.

    Some of us WERE out there discussing the ACTUAL ISSUES, Romney-Care being the big issue, but smaller ones of Romney flip-flopping on abortion, some of his compromises with the Mass. Legislature, and unfortunately his Mormon religion (which 10% of Republicans indicated they COULDN’T vote for a Mormon).

    We were told that the Independents would carry us to victory if the TEA Partiers played nice. We’ve seen exactly how that works out, and they’re NOT going to listen in the future.

  • dimonddragon

    Of COURSE one candidate’s success came at the expense of another candidate’s success. That is the nature of an election. There are only a finite number of voters, and they only get to vote once in a primary, and largely only give donations to their ONE preferred candidate. As candidates dropped out of the primary, they realigned to the next closest candidate to their original position. Some of those voters were not committed to their new candidate, and thus waffled between Santorum and Gingrich.