“Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” President Ronald Reagan called it the 11th Commandment.
The GOP in general has been fairly disciplined in the last couple of decades. But on Wednesday–which would have been Reagan’s 102nd birthday–it was clear that the Commandment no longer holds sway. In fact, the party is engaged in something of a civil war.
Fresh off his own failed 2012 election prophecies, Karl Rove is spearheading the new anti-Tea Party movement designed to oust far-right candidates from political races. He’s founded a new SuperPAC, the Conservative Victory Project. Rove insists he’s not trying to start a rift between the establishment and Tea Party wings of his party, but the right sees his move as a threat.
Republican strategist Hogan Gidley echoed Rove’s concerns on PoliticsNation Wednesday, complaining that there can be “people on the right side who are not practical about moving this country forward.”
“It’s all or nothing with some people and I just don’t think you can govern that way,” he said.
Those same “all or nothing” types on the far right may claim to appreciate Reagan, but many mainstream Republicans believe that right has veered far from Reagan’s version of conservatism. No one made that point more clearly than Jeb Bush, who said last summer than neither his father nor Ronald Reagan could win a primary in today’s Republican party.
Rove might be breaking Reagan’s 11th commandment, but given how far right some have gone, it’s entirely possible Reagan would be willing to break it too.