Karl Rove is probably the master of getting Republicans to say the right thing, at the right time, for the right reasons. So when Rove himself delivered some off-color remarks of his own, it's a surprise to almost everyone.
The comments in question occurred this morning at a high-powered fundraisers' breakfast, Bloomberg Businessweek reports, at which the former Bush campaign guru made a joke about Missouri Senatorial candidate Todd Akin.
"We should sink Todd Akin," Rove laughed. "If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”
Akin has been an albatross around the Republican Party's neck ever since a series of unfortunate comments suggesting that the female body can cancel pregnancies that might result from "legitimate rape." This scientifically illiterate gaffe has drawn virtually universal condemnation from both conservative pundits and activists, and the GOP establishment. Akin is widely thought to be unelectable, in a race that Republicans badly want to win in order to take over the Senate.
Rove's joke expresses - rather more bluntly than usual - the frustration of anti-Akin Republicans who see the Missouri Senate candidate as delusional in his refusal to back out of the race. Indeed, at this point, Akin is only supported by a vocal contingent of social conservatives including Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
However, whether the fundraising and political power of this group will be sufficient to grant him electoral success after being abandoned by the rest of the GOP and, indeed, the rest of the conservative movement is a very open question.