This story was highly predictable. Republican political maven Karl Rove is someone who above all wants a strong GOPer to get the Presidential nomination so Republicans can win the White House and perhaps get total control of Congress. He has tossed verbal cold water on the hot conventional wisdom and rhetoric surrounding some Tea Party favorites such as failed Delaware Senate candidate and Tea Party favorite (for a while) Christine O’Donnell and Sarah Palin. He is believed to favor a “establishment” type candidate such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney — and some believe his views also reflect the viewpoint of the Republican Party’s still powerful Bush family wing.
So it’s no surprise he should get on Fox News and list what he considers to be the hottest Tea Party favorite political property in the GOP (for this week, at least), former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain:
Rove is indeed analyzing Cain as a political pro — as a product. He’s not giving an analysis from the standpoint of how he or other Republicans would like Cain to look but how Cain WILL look to many independent voters or non Tea Party Republican voters, let alone Democrats.
And Cain’s reaction? Also predictable — and also probably accurate in many ways:
Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain says GOP strategist and former top Bush aide Karl Rove is deliberately trying to talk down Cain’s campaign in order to benefit rival candidate Mitt Romney.
Appearing on Fox News Monday morning, Rove produced a whiteboard on which he had written a list of recent and not-so-recent Cain gaffes: statements on abortion, taxes, terrorism, neoconservatism, the Mideast, and others. “The whole effect of this is to not create an image, I think, of him being a flip-flopper,” Rove said. “I think it’s to create an image of being not up to the task.”
“It’s a good thing the voters are not looking at Karl Rove’s little whiteboard,” Cain said in a phone conversation from a stop in Chicago Monday afternoon. “I believe it is a deliberate attempt to damage me because I am not, quote unquote, the establishment choice. But why not go with the choice that the people seem to like?”
Cain accused Rove of bias in favor of candidates with big organizations, lots of money, and prior experience in political office — all things Cain doesn’t have. “What has Karl Rove done?” Cain continued. “If I become the nominee, he has given Democrats talking points for a commercial to attack me. It makes no sense unless it’s a deliberate attempt on his part to try to push me down so that the candidate he wants rises to the top.”
When asked which candidate he believes Rove supports, Cain said, “I believe he wants Romney to get it.”
The most accurate response to that assertion would be: “Duh!”
So here’s a case where both Rove and Cain are correct.
Another certainty: Rove is not in Rick Perry’s cheering section. Expect to hear more from Rove on Perry if Perry (as some expect) rebounds after some recent hires of hard-nosed political pros who should be making Mitt Romney quite nervous. A fact: for all his media visibility, there are few signs that Cain is creating the kind of organization needed to mount a serious campaign. Which means it’ll likely come down to Romney versus Perry.