In the latest development in the ongoing battle over the future of the Republican Party, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accused top GOP strategist Karl Rove of building a Tammany Hall-style party machine in which candidates are chosen and financed by "a bunch of billionaires" across the country.
Rove has come under fire from tea party groups after he helped launch the Conservative Victory Project earlier this year, which will support candidates considered to be more "electable" than far-right tea party contenders.
Writing in Human Events, a conservative newspaper, Gingrich criticized Rove's efforts to rebuild the party, calling it an "an invitation to cronyism, favoritism and corruption":
I am unalterably opposed to a bunch of billionaires financing a boss to pick candidates in 50 states. This is the opposite of the Republican tradition of freedom and grassroots small town conservatism.
No one person is smart enough nor do they have the moral right to buy nominations across the country.
That is the system of Tammany Hall and the Chicago machine. It should be repugnant to every conservative and every Republican.
While Rove would like to argue his “national nomination machine” will protect Republicans from candidates like those who failed in Missouri and Indiana, that isn’t the bigger story.
Republicans lost winnable senate races in Montana, North Dakota, Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Florida. So in seven of the nine losing races, the Rove model has no candidate-based explanation for failure. Our problems are deeper and more complex than candidates.
Handing millions to Washington-based consultants to destroy the candidates they dislike and nominate the candidates they do like is an invitation to cronyism, favoritism and corruption.
In the piece, Gingrich also went after Stuart Stevens, a top adviser to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, for the Republican failure to reach more minority voters in 2012, and criticized Romney for his comments about immigration during the Republican primaries. (Gingrich appeared with Stevens on ABC's "This Week" last Sunday, where they tussled over the shortcomings of the Romney campaign.) He also said in Human Events:
The Romney campaign decision to savage first Governor Perry and then me on immigration destroyed any chance to build a Latino-Asian appeal.
The Romney formula of self-deportation (which must have seemed clever when invented) led to a collapse of acceptability.
The most powerful Obama ad in Spanish-language media was Romney talking about self deportation.
The fact that Stevens can’t acknowledge any of this tells you how hard it will be for some in the consultant class to learn anything about winning in the 21st century.