If you are going to launch a new effort to shape the the Republican Party, The New York Times is probably not the best outlet to let break the news. But that is where news broke this weekend that some of “the biggest donors in the Republican Party are financing a new group to recruit seasoned candidates and protect Senate incumbents from challenges by far-right conservatives and Tea Party enthusiasts.” This new “Conservative Victory Project” is backed by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads 527 organization and its goal, according to Crossroads president Steven Law, “will be to institutionalize the Buckley rule: Support the most conservative candidate who can win.”

RedState already has two posts up on the Times story, and Daniel Horowitz is the least forgiving:

In light of their smashing success electing candidates like Tommy Thompson, Rick Berg, Denny Rehberg, George Allen, Heather Wilson, and Linda Lingle, they will expand their roadshow into the primaries during the next election cycle in search of the next candidate who is indistinguishable from his/her Democrat opponent. … One by one, people like Karl Rove seek to crush another sacred belief of the conservative base. All social issues? Gone. Enforcement before amnesty? No way. Stay strong on taxes? Forget about it. Fight Obamacare? That’s a done deal. Folks, we must win back the soul of the Republican Party before we can affect any positive change.

RedState founder Erick Erickson is a little more generous:

The problem will not be the weeding out. Certainly some candidates should be weeded out. Todd Akin should never have gotten the nomination, but tea party groups in Missouri were too divided to rally against him. Weeding out candidates will not be the problem. The problem will come when conservatives do rally and Karl Rove disagrees. In calling his group the “Conservative Victory Project” he intends to lend a veneer of conservative credibility to candidates who may not be in the same way the Bush Presidency tried to create “big government conservatism.” … Count me out.

Missing from both Erickson’s and Horowitz’s posts is any mention of the one candidate actually named in the article as a target for “weeding out” by Rove: Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who has expressed interest in running for retiring Sen. Tom Harkin’s Senate seat.

Do Erickson and Horowitz support King? If all Rove does is weed candidates like King out, as Erickson admits someone should have done to Akin, will Rove’s effort really be that bad?

Allowing The New York Times to frame the “Conservative Victory Project” as a establishment-vs-Tea-Party story was a big mistake. We’ll see if the group can recover from this rocky start.

From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: New Obama rule would spare churches but not believers
David Freddoso: Waterboarding when there is no immediate threat
Tim Carney: Sugar industry would wither without big government
Michael Barone: Fewer dollars and babies threaten social programs
Byron York: GOP aims to ease bloodshed in 2016 primary debates
Conn Carroll: America’s governing party

In Other News
The Wall Street Journal, Low Rates Force Companies to Pour Cash Into Pensions: U.S. are companies pouring cash into pension plans now being battered by record low interest rates. The drain on corporate cash is a side effect of the U.S. monetary policy aimed at encouraging borrowing to stimulate the economy. Companies are required to calculate the present value of the future pension liabilities by using a so-called discount rate, based on corporate bond yields. As those rates fall, the liabilities rise.
The New York Times, Broad Powers Seen for Obama in Cyberstrikes: A secret legal review on the use of America’s growing arsenal of cyberweapons has concluded that President Obama has the broad power to order a pre-emptive strike if the United States detects credible evidence of a major digital attack looming from abroad, according to officials involved in the review.
The Washington Post, FCC Plan Envisions Wireless for the Masses: The federal government wants to create super WiFi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month.
The New York Times, Rise in Oil Tax Forces Greeks to Face Cold as Ancients Did: Unemployment is at a record high of 26.8 percent in Greece, and many people have had their salaries and pensions cut, but those are not the main reasons so few residents here can afford heating oil. In the fall, the Greek government raised the taxes on heating oil by 450 percent.
The Hill, Secret House group close to immigration-reform agreement: A bipartisan group of House negotiators is trying to release a draft bill directly before or after President Obama’s State of the Union address on Feb. 12.

Lefty Playbook
Richard Florida advises Obama to “build a lasting urban legacy” by creating a new federal Department of Cities.
Think Progress attacks New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for vetoing a minimum wage increase.
Brian Beutler maps out a Democratic plan to kill the Filibuster.

Righty Playbook
AEI’s Gary Schmitt says Chuck Hagel does not understand how the Defense Budget works.
Dan Mitchell on The ‘New Normal’ of High Unemployment.
Thomas Miller on Obamacare’s pressure points.