You have to wonder what Karl Rove is up to with these offhand remarks so damaging to Republican candidates. Without a doubt there's no love lost between the groups Perry represents and those that Rove represents, but there's more at work here than that. Rove is not simply a political commentator, but a player himself in the Republican sweepstakes.
See what you make of this from this morning:
GEORGE STEPHANPOLOUS: And a lot of questions about how how Rick Perry will handle this test. So much talk about his books and what he’s written in his books, “Fed Up!” Questioning the 16th Amendment, which imposed the income tax. The 17th Amendment, direct election of Senators. And I think he’s gotten the most attention for what he said about Social Security, calling it a Ponzi scheme. Compares it to a “bad disease” that’s been “imposed on us for 70 years.” You know how much trouble that can be for a Republican candidate in a general election. So how does he handle it and must he disavow some of these statements in the book.
KARL ROVE: What they’ve done thus far is, I think, inadequate. Which is to basically say, “look, we didn’t write the book with the presidential campaign in mind.” Well, okay, fine. But they are going to have to find a way to deal with these things. Because, as you say, they are toxic in a general election environment and they are also toxic in a Republican primary. If you say Social Security is a failure and ought to be replaced by a state-level program, then people are going to say: “What do you mean by that?” And make a judgment based on your answer to it. Each candidate has strengths. Each candidate also has challenges. This, for Governor Perry is his challenge. Now he’s got formidable strengths. But this is his biggest challenge.
Note that George Stephanopoulos didn't use the word 'toxic', he used the phrase "trouble...for a Republican candidate in a general election." Karl Rove offered the much stronger, more loaded term 'toxic'. And without a doubt this was intentional too. Rove seems to be doing his part to keep the whisper campaign going that Rick Perry is simply unelectable running for President. And if this were a rational electorate he'd probably be right. But Rove knows full well that all Rick Perry has to do is pass through the completely insane Republican primary system to become legitimatized. That is, taken seriously by the mainstream media, no matter how crazy and destructive his ideas are.
UPDATE: John Amato:
Karl Rove is part of the right-wing Village and they all want Mitt Romney to be the candidate running against Obama because they believe he has the best chance to win so they have been attacking all the tea party candidates during the primary season. That's my humble opinion, of course.