Senate candidate Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, speaks at the 2014 Iowa State Fair Soapbox in Des Moines, Iowa, August 7, 2014.
Photo by Tom Williams/Getty

Karl Rove’s group blasts Bruce Braley for agreeing with Karl Rove

The fact that Karl Rove’s Crossroads operation is launching a new attack ad in a key U.S. Senate race is about as common as the sunrise, but Daniel Strauss notes why the group’s new commercial in Iowa is a little different than most.
A new attack ad by the Karl Rove-founded group American Crossroads included a curious citation: a widely panned Heritage Foundation study on immigration reform which was co-written by a scholar who once argued against letting immigrants with low IQs into the country.
 
The ad attacks Rep. Bruce Braley, the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Iowa, on Obamacare before pivoting to immigration reform. At 0:21 into the ad text reads “Bruce Braley: Giving Lawbreakers Food Stamps and Medicare”; at the bottom is a citation to “The Heritage Foundation, 5/6/13.”
The commercial is online here.
 
At first blush, it looks like just another lazy, generic attack ad, aired by a group that clearly doesn’t think highly of voters’ intelligence. It even includes, for the third consecutive cycle, ridiculous claims that the Affordable Care Act “cuts” Medicare – a claim that’s been discredited countless times, and given the Republican agenda, a claim that doesn’t even make sense.
 
But just below the surface, Crossroads is playing an even more bizarre game. For one thing, it’s citing research from Jason Richwine, who gained national notoriety after arguing that white people are inherently smarter than people of color.
 
For another, the anti-immigration message is itself hard to take seriously. Under comprehensive immigration reform, undocumented immigrants can eventually become citizens, making them eligible to receive the same benefits of citizenship as everyone else. By this reasoning, Iowa’s Bruce Braley supports “giving lawbreakers food stamps,” but so too does John McCain, Marco Robio, and plenty of other Republicans.
 
Indeed, let’s not overlook the inconvenient detail that Karl Rove’s group is attacking the Iowa Democrat for agreeing with Karl Rove.
 
Dave Weigel reported this morning:
It’s just a little jarring to see this message coming from American Crossroads. Karl Rove, who raises funds for the group, has spent more than a decade telling Republicans that they need to be careful about how they discuss immigration if they want to win Hispanic votes. “It is … important that Republicans avoid calling a pathway to citizenship ‘amnesty,’ Rove wrote a year ago.” And here’s Crossroads, telling Iowans that any pathway to citizenship is amnesty. It’s a long, long way from the Bush presidential campaigns.
 
“Seems to me that, if there’s a story here, it’s that Rove and American Crossroads supported the same amnesty that they’re hitting Braley for supporting in that ad,” Richwine told me in an email.
If this sounds vaguely familiar, there’s a good reason for that: last month, a Karl Rove-backed group in Kentucky started attacking Alison Lundergan Grimes for, you guessed it, agreeing with Karl Rove on immigration.
 

Crossroads GPS, Immigration Reform, Iowa, Jason Richwine and Karl Rove

Karl Rove's group blasts Bruce Braley for agreeing with Karl Rove