A civil war seems to be brewing within the GOP as Karl Rove has decided to take on the Tea Party with the "Conservative Victory Project," a group designed to take out conservative Tea Party candidates who challenge those supported by the more moderate GOP establishment. In response, Judson Phillips, head of the Tea Party Nation, posted an open letter on Monday in which he calls Rove the "poster child for crony consultants."
In his letter to GOP donors, Phillips said they are about to become a political football for the next two years.
He added that Rove's project "has nothing to do with conservatives and will achieve about as many victories as Rove engineered in 2012," which Phillips counted as "zero."
"Karl Rove says he wants to stop unelectable candidates and he cites two Tea Party candidates. They are Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin," Phillips said.
Phillips called Mourdock, the Indiana conservative who beat Richard Lugar, a "great candidate" who was taken out by a "gotcha question" from the media.
He also reminded readers that Akin, who sparked controversy with his "legitimate rape" statement, was not a Tea Party candidate.
"He was a candidate of massive ego and limited intellect," Phillips wrote. "Democrats crossed over and voted for him in the primary because [they] thought he would be the weakest candidate."
"If Karl Rove wants to throw out bad candidates, I have four words for him. John McCain and Mitt Romney," he added.
Phillips then said that donors would be better off giving money to Bernie Madoff than the GOP, saying they would get a better return on their investment.
Calling Rove the "poster child for crony consultants," Phillips said that if the GOP had any sense, it would give Rove a "dishonorable discharge" and ban him from any future campaigns.
He then encouraged donors to consider the Tea Party, the conservative small-government group instrumental in the 2010 election.
Since announcing his "project," a number of grassroots conservatives have fired back, accusing Rove of undermining the conservative base in order to prop up failed establishment candidates.
“The Tea Party, which may nominate losers from time to time, also brought the Republicans their historic 2010 Congressional victory. If Tea Party candidates lose, it’s because they weren’t good candidates; if GOP establishment candidates lose, it’s because they weren’t good conservatives. The choice for actual conservatives should be easy,” Ben Shapiro wrote at Breitbart.com.
Shapiro also said that Rove's American Crossroads and groups like it "have run the GOP into the ground."
RedState's Erick Erickson also had harsh words for Rove's effort.
"I dare say any candidate who gets this group’s support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement," he wrote.