Election's No. 2 loser was Karl Rove, and Democrats are openly gleeful (+video)
For all the criticism being heaped on Mitt Romney, GOP strategist Karl Rove is getting nearly as much. Will Rove's reputation as 'mastermind' strategist be permanently damaged?
Liz Marlantes covers politics for the Monitor and is a regular contributor to the Monitor's political blog, DC Decoder.
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Mr. Rove, of course, ran two of the biggest outside-donor groups this cycle, Crossroads GPS and American Crossroads, whose primary tasks were to help defeat President Obama and take back the Senate for Republicans. He raised hundreds of millions from wealthy Republican donors – and in the end, those donors got very little for their money.
Republicans not only failed to take the White House, but only two of the Senate candidates backed by Rove’s groups won. As a report for the Sunlight Foundation estimated, American Crossroads got a 1.29 percent return on its spending. Crossroads GPS fared slightly better, with a 14.4 percent return.
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Rove also publicly predicted that Mr. Romney would win with 285 electoral votes (he wrongly assumed Romney would take Ohio, Iowa, Virginia, Colorado, and Florida). And he was the center of a bizarre episode on Election Night when, live on Fox News, he accused the network of prematurely calling Ohio for Romney (he was wrong there, too).
Needless to say, this has all given the Left a gigantic case of schadenfreude. After Democrats suffered bitter defeats at the hands of Rove in 2000 and 2004, and then heard him endlessly referred to as a “mastermind” strategist and a political “genius,” many can barely contain their glee.
New York Sen. Chuck Schumer said at a Monitor breakfast with reporters on Thursday: “Karl Rove’s reputation is going to take a significant hit. If Crossroads were a business and Rove was the CEO, he’d be fired for getting a poor return for his investors.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) of Ohio – one of Rove’s top targets, who nevertheless won reelection Tuesday – couldn’t resist taking a direct shot on Election Night, crowing: “Karl Rove had a bad night.” And top Obama strategist David Axelrod said that if he were one of Rove’s donors, he’d “be asking where my refund was.”
Even many conservatives are taking Rove to task. Donald Trump, who was so upset about the election results that he called for a “revolution” on Twitter, was almost as unhappy with Rove’s performance, tweeting: “Every race @CrossroadsGPS ran ads in, the Republicans lost. What a waste of money.” Likewise, Richard Viguerie, a veteran GOP operative, wrote that "in any logical universe, establishment Republican consultants such as Karl Rove ... would never be hired to run or consult on a national campaign again – and no one would give a dime to their ineffective Super PACs, such as American Crossroads."