At fist blush, establishment candidates Charlie Crist and David Dewhurst probably both seemed like more “electable” choices than the alternatives. Every effort to block a Todd Akin (who, by the way, wasn’t the “tea party’ candidate — nor was he endorsed by groups like The Club for Growth), might inadvertently take out a Marco Rubio.

Aside from the unintended consequences (such as possibly strangling the future of the Republican Party in his crib), my concern is that Rove and his establishment allies are taking a confrontational approach to a problem that could instead by solved by working together with conservative outside groups. …

So here’s my proposal: What if — in addition to insisting candidates sign pledges and pass other litmus tests — outside groups also mandated that before receiving financial support, a candidate must also attend campaign training?

This can make a huge difference. Candidates running for Congress in 1994 were greatly aided by training tapes and manuals sent out by Newt Gingrich’s GOPAC in the early 1990s. For four years, I worked at Morton Blackwell’s Leadership Institute, which trains conservatives how to be more effective in the public policy process. They do tremendous work. They even have a TV studio where conservatives can practice debating and answering tough questions before going on TV.