Karl Rove has always been a con artist. This year, it seems to have finally caught up to him.
We all saw it on election night, when Rove tried to pull a Florida in Ohio on the air on Fox News. As we also noted, you could see the sweat on Rove's brow and upper lip -- in part, doubtlessly, because his predictions of an easy win for Romney were beginning to reveal his actual incompetence.
Now the performance is raising all kinds of ethical and other questions about Rove's role and his behavior. Imagine our surprise.
But even more noteworthy is that the billions of dollars spent by his plutocratic "job creator" donors on the election was washed down the drain in the night's results:
A study Wednesday by the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks political spending, concluded that Rove's super PAC, American Crossroads, had a success rate of just 1 percent on $103 million in attack ads -- one of the lowest "returns on investment" (ROIs) of any outside spending group in this year's elections.
American Crossroads spent heavily, not just on Romney, but on attack ads on behalf of GOP Senate candidates in eight states -- thanks to mega contributions from conservative donors like metals magnate Harold Simmons ($19.5 million), Texas homebuilder Bob Perry ($7.5 million) and Omni hotel chief Robert Rowling ($5 million.)
The super donors didn't get much for their money. Six of the eight GOP Senate candidates that American Crossroads spent money to try to elect – Tommy Thompson in Wisconsin, George Allen in Virginia, Josh Mandel in Ohio, Richard Mourdock in Indiana, Denny Rehberg in Montana and Todd Akin in Missouri – lost their races, along with Romney. The group did, on the other hand, help to elect Deb Fischer in Nebraska and Dean Heller in Nevada.
(The Sunlight Foundation calculation of "return on investment" was based on the percentage of money it spent on individual races-- and since Crossroads spent the most on the races it lost on, the group earned its low 1 percent "return on investment" or ROI. A sister group, Crossroads GPS, which operates out of the same offices as American Crossroads but does not disclose its donors, fared little better, netting a return on investment of only 13 percent, according to the Sunlight Foundation report.)
In some ways, it makes you wish this level of incompetence would stick around for a few more years and waste billions more dollars on going-nowhere-fast right-wing campaigns. Which, no doubt, it will.