Maryann Tobin

After taking a beating in the 2012 elections, Republicans agree that the party needs a makeover. However, fundraising heavyweight Karl Rove of super PAC American Crossroads fame believes it’s going to take more than simple rebranding to bring the GOP back to power. According to Rove, the problem is the candidates.

“Akin lost a Senate race in Missouri to Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill in part because he told a local TV station an untrue statement that women who are raped rarely get pregnant because their bodies can shut it down. Meanwhile, Mourdock, the GOP candidate in Indiana who lost to now-Sen. Joe Donnelly after Mourdock suggested in October that pregnancies from rape are God’s will,” according to a Feb. 6 report byKevin Cirilli in Politico.

But let’s not forget that candidates like Akin and Mourdock get on the ballot in the first place because Tea Party fundamentalists give them primary victories. When they face-off with less neurotic candidates in the general election, they lose. There are simply not enough voters out there buying into the idea that America would be a better place if only we could get rid of every part of the federal government that cannot be used to stop women from having abortions and birth control pills.

Still, Rove seems convinced that if he could just throw enough money behind less crazy candidates, the GOP would start winning elections.

In an effort to do just that, Rove has launched The Conservative Victory Project, a super PAC intended to squash allegedly unelectable fanatics before they ever get to the general election ballot.

The suggestion that there is something wrong with far-right candidates has been met with backlash from Tea Party backers, who vow all-out war against Rove and his Conservative Victory Project.

While Rove and the Tea Party fight it out with giant piles of money, the real winner will likely be Democrats who have not gone out of their way to offend large mainstream voting blocks, like women, and people who want Congress to do something about creating jobs.

It may take more than one more election cycle for Rove and the rest of the Tea Party to realize that the Republican Party needs more than money to win votes.

Republicans need to demonstrate that when they are elected, they can do more than just sit in Washington and do nothing but try to roll back decades of progress while complaining about Barack Obama. They also need to have ideas that are based in something other than fear of the Boogeyman, who has so far failed to appear anywhere but in the conservative blogosphere and in Karl Rove’s mind.

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