GOP strategist Karl Rove and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) are apparently in one of those "war of words" thingies that happens from time to time. Last month, MLive.com reported that Rove had expressed his disapproval of Amash's bespoke libertarian ways at the Aspen Ideas Festival (of all places), telling the Aspen Ideators in attendance that Amash was "the most liberal Republican" and "far more liberal than any other Republican."
"And why? Because he is a 100 percent, purist libertarian," Rove said, "and if it's not entirely perfect, 'I'm voting with (Democratic House minority leader) Nancy Pelosi."
Well that's nice, but according to OpenCongress, "Nancy Pelosi and Justin Amash have voted together 477 times on roll call votes since January, 2007 in votes where neither abstained, representing a voting similarity of 22%." I understand that Rove and Amash do not see eye-to-eye on things, but someone nevertheless needs to show Karl Rove how to use the Internet. (Maybe Rove got his information on the voting similarities between Amash and Pelosi from a tipster in Ohio?)
At any rate, Amash went on the "Laura Ingraham Show" Wednesday, and disputed all of this, saying, "First, I vote yes most of the time. I'm one of the most independent members of Congress, but I vote yes most of the time. Second, I vote least often with Nancy Pelosi of any Republican in Congress. I have the least similar voting record to Nancy Pelosi."
From there, Amash offered some personal observations of Rove: "He doesn't like Rand Paul, he doesn't like Ted Cruz, he doesn't like me, and I think that's pretty obvious." Amash chalked it up to "tensions" between "the Bush Republicans of the past 10, 20 years, and the newer Republicans that are getting elected."
Rove's place in the conservative firmament, post 2012, has been somewhat fraught. Earlier this year, Rove launched his Conservative Victory Project, with the intention of "counter[ing] other organizations that have helped defeat establishment Republican candidates over the last two election cycles." Almost immediately, he picked a fight with Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), on the grounds that King had a "Todd Akin problem." Mind you, it was never explicitly stated that Rove objected to King's views, on social issues or anything else. The objection was simply over "message discipline," which is a fancy political euphemism for "knowing when to keep quiet about the policies you explicitly support."
The thing is, though, that unlike former Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.), no one is running around saying that Justin Amash is saying things that are preventing Republicans from getting elected. Rove's basic problem with Amash isn't the "message discipline," it's the message itself. Unfortunately, Rove finds himself in the position of having to watch as a message he doesn't like ascends in popularity with the GOP base. Which is perhaps why Rove feels the need to tell people at the Aspen Ideas Festival a bunch of verifiably untrue things. (He will still get invited back to the Aspen Ideas Festival, of course.)
But if the plan is to paint Amash as a Pelosi-phile ... well, that strategy is not going to work. And so it's worth pointing out here, just for the LOLs, that Nancy Pelosi was a no vote on the Amash-Conyers amendment. In fact, Pelosi brought an alternative “fig-leaf” amendment to the floor, with the help of ... John Boehner -- who I'm pretty sure is not going to get in dutch with Rove over this collaboration.
Nice try Karl, good effort, but Amash wins this round.
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