Last week Karl Rove made his intentions clear: He’s going to bat for who he and the GOP establishment feel can “win” an election. Rove does not put much value into what the candidate’s actual ideology is, which is kind of a sticking point for everyone who feels betrayed by the GOP (aka actual conservatives). What does Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks feel about the Rove startup?
Transcript of the interview is below:
GLENN: Freedom Works is a group that has really changed the landscape, and I have to tell ya they have been under attack like nobody’s business from the establishment. And the establishment is very powerful and very, very clever, and I am proud to stand with Matt Kibbe and his crew at Freedom Works. And Matt is on the phone with me now. Hi, Matt.
KIBBE: Hey, Glenn, how you doin’?
GLENN: I’m good. I ‑‑ I will tell you that I am ‑‑ I heard last week about Karl Rove and his plan. Basically he announced an attack on you guys, to stop anybody who’s stopping these establishment members of congress or the Senate, stop anybody who’s trying to take him out. And that’s you. I mean, you guys are the ones who have done it. That’s the TEA Party.
KIBBE: Yeah, he’s specifically talking about some of the candidates who won but also guys like Richard Mourdock who put his foot in his mouth and didn’t quite make it. But no, they’re going after us, and I think that the measure here as uncomfortable as it is, all of us should be a little bit proud that we have the establishment so freaked out that they’ve decided to just come after us straight up. That tells me that we are accomplishing something, we’re shaking things up. I think it’s a paradigm shift and unfortunately none of us, Karl Rove batted zero. We got a few guys over the finish line like Ted Cruz and Jeff Flake.
GLENN: Which is great.
KIBBE: But because there wasn’t a clear winner, it’s a little bit like gang warfare now. They are trying to take us out and we’re trying to defend our position based on the principles you were just talking about.
GLENN: But I will tell you this, man: I think if we play a national game, we lose. But if we play a local game and a state game, we win. I mean, look at the difference in the states. Because people, you know, in the TEA Party, the 9/12 project, Freedom Works, we’re playing it at the state and we’re winning. Look at the gains that conservatives and free market‑minded people have made in the last four years, all on the state level.
KIBBE: Yeah. And if you think about it, it’s very consistent with our principles again. We believe in local. We believe in bottom up. We believe in individual autonomy governing at the local level, not some top‑down dictate from a czar. And that’s ‑‑ when you think about our principles, I draw all my strategic influence from the principles. You’ve got to think locally. You’ve got to respect the bottom‑up power of citizens in an open‑ended democracy and you’ve got to let them make the decisions. And that’s exactly what the establishment is fighting. But I think, you know, it’s not that complicated for us to figure out how to win because it’s very much dictated by the values in the Constitution, the values and individualism, that responsibility that each of us have to hold our politics and our government in check so that it doesn’t steamroll right over us.
GLENN: I know that the mainstream media wants to seem like there’s a war in the GOP, and they’ve been doing this for a while and trying to make us look like the extremists, but we’re just the ones holding fast to the principles. Since when has that become extreme. And they’re trying to ‑‑ they’re trying to stir this war up, but there really is a war in the ‑‑ there’s only going to be one survivor, don’t you think? It’s either going to be the establishment or it’s going to be the grassroots, one of the two.
KIBBE: But they are trying to put the Genie back in the bottle. I don’t think that you can control freedom, and with the Internet and with talk radio and the decentralization of information, there’s no way that grassroots America’s going to sit back down and do as they’re told. And I think that’s ‑‑ that’s the desperation that you see on the other side. They see what’s coming and they liked it the way it was. So I do think that they’re pushing against a string when they try to stop millions and millions of voices who have power that they didn’t have before.
GLENN: That is exactly why the president is issuing his executive order on the Internet tomorrow. He’s asking companies to be responsible and just ‑‑ just answer these few things for us as the government and do these things. And I mean, it is the ‑‑ it’s the beginning gateway to control of the Internet, I believe. But we’ll ‑‑ we’ll see his executive order tomorrow.
I said a couple of weeks ago I’m done with the GOP. I think most people are. They’ve shown themselves to be waste of time and waste of skin really, quite honestly, most ‑‑ most times. When they do ‑‑ when we are strong enough in states and even like Ted Cruz, they spent money against Ted Cruz. They have done this with a lot of Freedom Works and TEA Party candidates. They try everything they can to make sure those guys do not get in. Isn’t it time just to say, “I don’t really care, and it’s time for a third party.”
KIBBE: You know, I think it might be. The only hesitation I would have is that there’s a lot of legal barriers to a third party. The GOP and the DNC have strategic advantages in the tax law and how campaign finance allows them to do certain things that a third party can’t do. But I’m starting to think that it’s possible. Because I used to say we had to take over the Republican Party. I’m open to the possibility that, you know, if the GOP doesn’t want us, we should go somewhere else.
GLENN: That’s right.
KIBBE: But I’m not so convinced that we haven’t already taken over the GOP. And if you look at who we’ve repopulated the Republican Party with purely by accident; we weren’t setting out to create more diversity, we weren’t setting out to create the GOP stars that would show up on the convention floor in Tampa, but lo and behold who did you see? You saw Ted Cruz. Tim Scott, the only black person in the Senate, TEA Party insurgent from South Carolina. Marco Rubio. You go down the list of all these young stars that the GOP has now embraced as their own. Guess what. They were candidates that the GOP opposed every step of the way.
GLENN: Yeah, but you also have people like John Boehner who is just an abomination to freedom. He is a huge barrier to freedom.
KIBBE: Yeah, I think you’ll find establishment guys like that, sort of leftovers from a bygone era in every political party. Politics is not the most beautiful thing in the world and I think if we created a successful party, built a stage that became the new winning majority, all of a sudden everyone would pretend to be us. And I think if you look at John Boehner and Eric Cantor and a lot of the Republicans that are essentially protecting the status quo, at one time or another maybe in their careers, even today they pretend to be us. They talk the talk but they never ‑‑
GLENN: You can see them through them, though. The American people, I’m not really worried about ‑‑ I’m not really worried about cash, quite honestly, because I think the Internet has made people so free and it’s ‑‑ I trust somebody, a friend of mine sending me something and saying, “Hey, this guy is really good.” I trust that much more than an ad, and look how much Karl Rove spent. I mean, you know, the TV ads and all that stuff, we don’t buy that stuff anyway. We want to hear it from our friends. We want to be involved at the grassroots level. We really are doing ‑‑ you know, they accused us of Astroturf. They’ve got all the Astroturf, and the GOP is part of it as well. They are trying to talk the talk. But the good news is we don’t buy it. We don’t buy it. And more and more people are saying, “You know what? I used to be a diehard. I gave money. I campaigned. I’m not going to work for them anymore. I’m not going to give my money to them anymore because I don’t believe them. I think the GOP has a massive wake‑up call coming their way because they will just find themselves alone with a few old people, you know, with lots of money, and what’s that going to get you? That’s going to get you lots of ads on TV that nobody will believe.
KIBBE: Yeah, David Dewhurst, I think he outspent Ted Cruz 5 to 1 and, you know, the TV ads don’t matter that much anymore. This is ‑‑ again this is why they are so freaked out. Freedom is trending and to go back to the Internet, that is the fight. I think civil liberties and free speech on the Internet is perhaps the most important fight.
KIBBE: Because that’s the vehicle by which people beat the government.
GLENN: All right. So give me one thing that we should watch for on the State of the Union tonight.
KIBBE: Watch him not talk about anything that matters. Literally.
GLENN: I see that every day.
KIBBE: He’s going to talk about infrastructure which is code for more spending and more Keynesian expansion of projects that don’t matter based on money that we don’t have and probably printed and created out of thin air. And he’s going to talk ‑‑ the irony is he’s going to talk about expanded power for the EPA even though places like Pennsylvania, the energy boom in Pennsylvania, North Dakota perhaps was the source of the few votes that he did get.
GLENN: Yeah, his win.
KIBBE: It’s the irony. But he’s going to talk about all the wrong things. He’s going to go so far left that he’s going to create a real problem for his own party because they still have to win in red districts and red states, and that’s a huge opportunity for us in 2014.
GLENN: All right. Matt, God bless you. We’ll talk to you soon.
KIBBE: Thanks, Glenn.
GLENN: You bet. Matt Kibbe. You know, I don’t trust organizations. I trust people. And I’ve seen Matt Kibbe for a long time behind the scenes, and I trust Matt Kibbe.