Karl Rove's Money Trouble

After declaring a new national post-election holiday yesterday—Liberal Schadenfreude Day—we’re starting to think it should be a week-long celebration. So much to gloat over after all these years of despair! Our favorite gloat-worthy item on Thursday came courtesy of the Sunlight Foundation. The money-in-politics watchdog did a nifty calculation of the returns that 2012’s big spenders got for their money. It’s not complicated math: Sunlight simply calculated how much outside groups (super PACs, non-profits, and political committees) spent per “desired result” in Tuesday’s elections—supporting candidates who won, in other words, or opposing candidates who lost.

The two groups that fared the worst? Coming in dead last, in terms of “desired results,” was the National Rifle Association’s optimistically named National Political Victory Fund, which spent $11 million for a success rate of less than one percent. But the biggest money-waster of all, you will be eternally gratified to hear, was Karl Rove's American Crossroads super PAC, which forked out a whopping $104 million and had a “desired result” rate of 1.29 percent. That’s right, folks: The great genius of American Republicanism wasted more of his donors’ money than anyone else. (His non-profit group, Crossroads GPS, did marginally better—a 14-percent “desired result” rate.) Looked at one way, though, American Crossroads had a kind of perfect score: The super PAC supported zero candidates who won on Tuesday.

And whose money paid the highest dividends? Planned Parenthood’s two political funds—both with much less money than the aforementioned conservative groups—both had success rates of more than 97 percent. The League of Conservation Voters notched up a 78 percent score. And labor groups got some serious bang for their bucks: The SEIU’s two outside spending groups, for instance, had “desired results” in 74 percent and 85 percent of the races in which they invested.

The delightful takeaway: There’s a certain block-headed, bespectacled campaign wizard who’s going to have some serious explaining to do to some of the nation’s richest conservatives. For the man formerly known as “Bush’s brain,” it appears that his memorable Election Night meltdown actually wasn’t the lowlight of his week. And those mega-millions might be just a tad bit harder to come by in 2014 and 2016.

So They Say

"Regardless of what happens with his second term, Barack Obama’s great victory has already been won: We are all the other now, in some sense."

David Simon

Daily Meme: The GOP's Five Stages of Grief

  • The Republican Party has been ambling through the five stages of grief in random order post-Judgment Day, segueing from a nasty anger epidemic yesterday to steadfast denial today. The Republican Party isn't the problem! There must be something else wrong...
  • Ann Coulter insists the Romney blame game should end since he was "one of the best presidential candidates the Republicans have ever fielded." The real reason they lost? Insurmountable incumbency advantage.
  • National Review editorializes that "Social conservatives usually get unfairly blamed for Republican electoral defeats."
  • Erick Erickson thinks the problem is Republicans haven't been reminding people often enough about how awesome their platform is. The GOP just needs to trumpet its conservatism more!
  • And if the Republican Party isn't willing to embrace conservatism, a new third party can, says pizza gospel maestro Herman Cain. 
  • A former Bush State Department official thinks the past is destiny. "There is a new generation of Reagans and Gingriches out there somewhere." Hope springs eternal!
  • Former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour thinks Hurricane Sandy single-handedly side-swiped Romney's victory.
  • Karl Rove agrees.
  • Actually, scratch that. It was Chris Christie's fault. He's a regular Benedict Arnold that one, because he didn't only betray the party. He betrayed the founders.
  • Moderate Republican representative Steve LaTourette's response to the GOP denialism? "There's a one-word phrase we use in Ohio for that: Crap."
  • What emotion Republicans will experience next remains to be seen. Will we see bargaining? Depression? Anger again? One thing's for sure, we won't see "acceptance" for awhile—if ever. 


What We're Writing

  • Paul Waldman asks whether conservative media are hurting conservatives more than boosting them. (Spoiler alert: Yes, they are.)
  • Harold Meyerson explores the future of the white man's party. 

What We're Reading

  • Alec MacGillis notes that Rick Perry got some revenge on Election Day.
  •  What happens when a losing campaign disbands
  • Did Paul Ryan doom the Republicans?
  • More good stuff from Steve LaTourette: "You don't want to ditch your prom date unless you've got another one lined up. Romney never made the transition after that first debate, it was too late to convince people he was the dream date and he never closed the sale."
  • Sean Trende: Why did white voters stay home? 
  • Megan McCardle is determined to be a buzz kill about the “emerging Democratic majority.


Chart of the Day


A survey commissioned by the AFL-CIO shows that 16 percent of Obama voters waited in polling lines over 30 minutes long, while only 9 percent of Romney voters suffered the same boring fate. When you separate the answers by ethnicity, the problem grows—24 percent of Hispanic voters and 22 percent of African American voters waited in lines over 30 minutes long, while 9 percent of whites did.

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