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Karl Rove takes on the tea party. Is a GOP civil war looming?

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Conservative pundit Michelle Malkin called the move "doubling down on stupid" and added: "Who needs Obama and his Team Chicago to destroy the Tea Party when you’ve got Rove and his big government band of elites?" Likewise, RedState's Erick Erickson writes: "I dare say any candidate who gets this group’s support should be targeted for destruction by the conservative movement. They’ve made it really easy now to figure out who the terrible candidates will be in 2014."

The question is what, exactly, the GOP establishment thinks its "Todd Akin problem" really is. Are they just hoping to weed out clumsy, unprofessional candidates who are prone to saying kooky-sounding things? Or is this an effort to bring the party back to the center – meaning, will they target those whose views on issues like abortion (no exceptions in cases of rape and incest) are out of the mainstream? 

Our sense is that, in theory at least, it's more the former than the latter.

As many on the right have pointed out, for every Akin out there, there's a tea party-backed candidate with equally conservative views who won a contested primary and went on to win the general election.

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