September 28th, 2010
05:14 PM ET
11 years ago

Plouffe: Republicans are getting 'the Mike Castle treatment'

Akron, Ohio (CNN) - David Plouffe, one of President Obama's top political advisers, said Tuesday that the Republican Party has been overwhelmed by a "Beck-Palin-Limbaugh wing" that will make it impossible for the GOP to nominate a viable general election candidate in 2012.

"If you are a moderate Republican thinking about running in a primary for any office in 2011 and 2012, you are going to have to think twice, because you are going to get the Mike Castle treatment," Plouffe said in an interview in Ohio, where he is campaigning for Gov. Ted Strickland. "So they are going to nominate more and more extreme Republicans who are doing very well among that Palin-Limbaugh-Beck base."

The soft-spoken Plouffe spent the day appearing with Strickland at a rowdy union hall in Cleveland and a more subdued room of college students at the University of Akron, offering stern warnings to Democrats about the consequences of staying home in November and allowing Republicans to implement "the same economic policies that led us to the brink of a great depression."

Though he stressed that he and other top Democrats remain focused on the midterm elections, he said the GOP's lurch to the right is certain to hurt the party beyond November.

Pointing to Senate nominees like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul, he said moderate voters are sure to be turned off by Republicans who support privatizing or scrapping Social Security.

"This is particularly dangerous in presidential years, where turnout is larger, you have more moderate voters, and turnout spikes among some of our core groups," he said.

Plouffe insisted that the White House is not preoccupied with Sarah Palin, despite frequent references to her by the president and other top administration officials.

He also dismissed as "nuts" Palin's suggestion, made in her memoir and in a recent tweet, that Obama's new chief-of-staff Pete Rouse borrowed the 2008 campaign theme of "Change" from her 2006 gubernatorial bid.

"We don't spend much time thinking about her," he said. "I think that long term, the more sway and power she has in the Republican Party, the worse off the Republican Party will be."

"If the Republican Party believes that Sarah Palin is their savoir, more power to them," he added. "It will be a fascinating primary because no matter whether she runs or not, that Limbaugh-Palin-Beck wing of their party is going to be the most dominant factor in most primaries and caucuses. In Iowa, in South Carolina, in Nevada, so you are going to have to nominate someone that does well in that wing."

Filed under: 2012 • David Plouffe • Glenn Beck • Republican Party • Rush Limbaugh • Sarah Palin
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. REG in AZ

    Plain and simple, the truth is that the Republicans won’t ever solve the problems. There are those of us who would really like that to be different but the reality is that their ever solving, not just giving lip service and a lot of subterfuge to disguise and then rationalize, is impossible. Their focused and disciplined commitment is to their personal and political ambitions at any cost, which totally occupies them with being ‘puppets’ for Special Interests and the influential, powerful and extremely wealthy few who they feel support and enable them and who literally ‘pull their strings’. Their actions for the last ten years totally substantiate that and leave no doubt; they clearly demonstrated their unity in supporting all Bush-Cheney did in placating and patronizing Special Interests and the select few while giving the people only apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge, and since, in again being irresponsible and arrogant in withholding any cooperation and instead faulting and obstructing everything to ultimately be serving only Special Interests and the few. They are tied into and dependent on those who ‘pull their strings’ and who ‘call the shots’ and who even pick the candidates (by their ‘puppet’ qualities instead of by their qualifications). The Republican Party has been totally consistent and the resulting frustrating futility and the significant cost for the average American has been totally obvious to anyone who can just avoid being swayed, manipulated and conned.

    There are those who claim to be ultra-conservatives and who greatly benefit from putting their substantial power, influence and money into controlling the Republicans’, both Tea Party and regular. The resources they make available, both overt and covert, and the commitment they demand really make it impossible for the Republicans to deviate. The creative subterfuge and the organized, sponsored and extensive efforts they undertake to sway, manipulate and con public opinion are impressively offensive. John Dean (a self-proclaimed Goldwater conservative and past member of Nixon’s staff), in his book “Broken Government”, recognized the extent of the cancer when he said that the Republicans “with their current mentality were simply incapable of responsibly governing”. All we have to do is look at recent history to see where the majority, including the total middle-class, consistently looses ground as only the very wealthy gain under Republican control. It is a shame but unless we recognize reality and actually become offended by the insult of the constant deception and of being taken for granted and then totally reject them, we could be returned to ‘more of the same’ which just favors the few and caused all of the problems. That is what everything they say/do is attempting to accomplish, whether Tea Party or regular, a return to ‘more of the same’, where once more there would be the subterfuge to maintain the status all over again.

    September 28, 2010 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  2. J.P.

    Gee, thanks Mr. Plouffe. We all know you have the best interests of the GOP at heart. Thanks for the advice.

    September 28, 2010 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  3. Michael1959

    Obama and the Democrats offer only scare and fear. They can not talk/run on their accomplishments as there are none.

    September 28, 2010 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  4. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans have called on Karl Rove to slap the "Tea Party" back under the rocks. The question is if Rove is too late. LOL

    September 28, 2010 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  5. Eric

    Uh dude, why exactly do you care?

    Me thinks the man protests too much. He's showing you what he fears the most.

    The tea party is going to clobber hopenchange.

    September 28, 2010 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  6. kakaraka

    Gop Tea Party right wing candidates will be badly disappointed in this election. They base their hope on these phony and biased polls conducted by pro-republicans pollsters. A normal middle class american will never ever vote for these radical, extremist tea baggers republicans who want to dismantle the department of education, privatize social security and medicare, repeal health for poor in the name of small government while in the same fighting for the tax cut for companies which ships jobs overseas and millionaires, half-millionaires who save their money in foreign bank accounts. Only the clueless right wings nuts GOPers tea bagers can ever think to vote for these morron republicans who just block the democrat bill that will prevent companies from shipping our jobs overseas. America, vote the GOP, Tea Party of NO this November. Their so called pleade to America was written by lobbysts. You know what I mean by this. Special interests are backing hard GOP in this election. Defeat them America. Vote them out.

    September 28, 2010 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  7. Can't We All Just Get Along?

    The ONLY member of the republican party with any integrity, character, class and intelligence is Colin Powell. Everyone else is a dunderheaded idiot with less than two working brain cells. There's not a single viable candidate that has any sense or intelligence in the GOP universe.

    September 28, 2010 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  8. Paul from Phoenix

    Moderate Republicans who refused to reign in spending during the Bush years are a big reason why we are where we are today. Why should the GOP vote in those people like Castle again? The Tea Party is more fiscally based. When people on both sides of the isle realize that, they will begin to understand the anger eminating from that group, and realize that the drunken spending in Washington has got to stop!

    September 28, 2010 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  9. Dave

    You sold us leftist Obama as a centrist, maybe they find someone like you who can make the case for rightist being centrist!
    The public believed you, so they may believe anything!

    September 28, 2010 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  10. stufit

    Sounds like Mr. Plouffe may be the advisor who coined the phrase "summer of prosperity" or told Obozo he needs to attack Fox. Very elitist, very arrogant, very demeaning and degrading. That's the way you win elections ask the rest of the Democrats running for Congress. And Mr. Plouffe, hope you and your advice to this incompetent, inept, corrupt union toady president stick around for the 2012 elections.

    September 28, 2010 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  11. Rick McDaniel

    While conservatism may be a bad word to the Dems, it is what this country was founded on, and it is what is needed to return this country to viability.

    September 28, 2010 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  12. John Brown

    The new name is Republican Tea Party. It's just bought by Koch industries and Murdoch Inc money. It's the party of super rich American. They want to be master slave for the rest of us. The 98% or the super poor American.

    September 28, 2010 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  13. jim

    At least there are no bearded marxist being supported by the republicans runniing for the Senate like in the state of Delaware where Coons is being backed by the national democratic party.

    September 28, 2010 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  14. James in Columbia MO

    It's a shame really. I'm a Democrat, but Congress needs more people like Representative Castle, no matter what their political stripe may be. I'm expecting two years of complete opposed to the partial gridlock we've had the last two years.

    September 28, 2010 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  15. Eric in Denver

    Moderate republicans (Castle is more liberal by the way) crippled the republican party during the Bush era since they were spending like democrats. More people in this country identify themselves as conservatives than any other designation so Mr. Plouffe as usual is irrelevant. November 2 can't come soon enough. The socialist party is going down.

    September 28, 2010 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  16. D. Bunker

    Wow, Michael, project much? And JP, believe it or not, even those of us who lean left would prefer a sane and reasonable GOP. Sadly, that appears to be an impossibility at this point in time.

    September 28, 2010 10:30 pm at 10:30 pm |
  17. valwayne

    That's exactly what Jimmy Carter, and the left wing gaggle around him, said about Ronald Reagan in 1978 and 1979, before he ended their reign of incompetence and disaster, and get our nation back on the road to prosperity and strength. The first two years of Obama and the Arrogant left wing Elites have been far worse for the nation than anything Jimmy Carter did, but the Democrats are arrogantly telling the American people to take it whether they like it or not! The Republicans on the other hand are cleaning house. If the nation turns back to them to get away from the arrogance, corruption, and failure of Obama, Pelosi, and Reid they don't want to send the same old same old back. Republicans voters have made it clear to their candidates that the same old spending, earmarks, and corruption won't be tolerated while the nation is in so much trouble. So the nation can listen to Obama read from a Teleprompter about change, or they can vote for real change with the Republicans.

    September 28, 2010 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  18. Marc S

    I think the Democratic Party is making a huge mistake trying to be dismissive of the Tea Party movement as some sort of Palin/Beck fringe of the GOP, it's not that simple. I am not a Tea Party member myself but I can tell you that their views resonate amongst many voter, even in urban areas. In Philadelphia for instance their views are gaining traction oddly enough from actions by local government. Most notable is the failed attempt at a sugary drink tax. People, including Democrats, are seeing actions like this as a microchasm of government intrusion into their private lives. Many of these people are not fans of Palin and probably don't even know who Glen Beck is, however they do know the Tea Party is saying what they think.

    September 28, 2010 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  19. Democracy NOT = free market capitalism

    With free trade, free market capitalism, China and the rest of the world love the naive republicans..... the pollyanna republicans allowed wall street to kill middle class 401k and house values and for the past 10 years the republicans have subsidized corporations to move their manufacturing and technology jobs overseas........ again, China loves the republicans and their child like ideas of free market in today's global economy....... America needs to fight back for its jobs; unions need to give and corporations need to give..... but we know that the republicans are too weak and stupid to change even at this dangerous point in time for America

    September 28, 2010 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  20. Edward Nashville, TN

    We need a third party in this country that is moderate. The democrats are just as stupid and extreme as the republicans are. Nothing ever gets done because it is all about the job and staying in power not doing what is right. Terms limits would be a big help!!!

    September 28, 2010 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  21. Democracy NOT = free market capitalism

    As for the christian taliban tea party, my worry is that they would start yet another republican, unfunded war over religion at a cost of another one trillion dollars which is off-the-scale as compared to Obamacare

    September 28, 2010 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  22. Pete

    My fellow union members aren't idiots . We see Obamacare will screw us down the road with more taxes for healthcare . Our younger members see they will have to tow the line for big government which they don't want. That's why we support the tea party fiscal policies and that's why Obama is a one term president. Hell even his supporters don't care to much for him anymore . Last week obama couldn't fill a hotel ballroom here in NYC with tickets going for $50.

    September 28, 2010 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  23. Russ

    Rick McDaniel
    The country was not founded by conservatives, it was foundad by liberal dems. The conservatives of the day were the Torries who were from England if you remember.

    September 28, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  24. biggeorge22

    Conservatism is what kept this country into slavery, suppression of woman, forced children into harsh labor, restricted access to abortion except for the wealthy, resisted financial regulation (We know what that did to us) and I can go on.

    Conservatism by definition" "A political philosophy or attitude emphasizing respect for traditional institutions, distrust of government activism, and opposition to sudden change in the established order." That definition, if followed, would leave us a third world nation because the world now moves to fast. You need to keep pace and being conservative will leave us in even worse shape. Look at 8 years of conservative garbage under GWB. We cannot go back to that again!

    September 28, 2010 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  25. T'SAH from Virginia

    Plouffe hit the nail right on the HEAD – the moderate RepubliCAN'Ts – while they are 'halfway' embracing the Tea Party because they feel they are WINNING – are in DEEP trouble when they run and cannot be as FAR RIGHT and EXTREME as the Tea Party!!!

    I like that – the "MIKE CASTLE TREATMENT" – MCT!!! It will all backfire in the END!!!

    DEMOCRATS – STATE the CASE and mean it – UNITE the BASE and believe in it and we will WIN this RACE in November 2010!!!

    This is T'SAH – the Original – and I believe and approve this message!!

    September 28, 2010 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
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