10 Reasons the GOP Is Really Messed Up -- According to Republicans
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Rove, who essentially created the model for post-Citizens United outside donor groups - or so-called "super PACs" - with American Crossroads, the group he co-founded, also conceded that super PAC money could have been more effectively spent in the 2012 campaign. He argued that too much of that money had gone to consultants, not targets.
Rove's group certainly did not produce the kind of financial return for which it had aimed: According to a study by the Sunlight Foundation just 1.29 percent of the nearly $104 million American Crossroads spent in the general election ended up going to a winning race.
Kevin Drum, writing at his Mother Jones blog, notes the irony:
If conservative billionaires are looking for something else to be mad about, I'd recommend the Romney campaign's apparent habit of paying about 50 percent more for TV spots than the Obama campaign. That helped line the pockets of the consultants who both recommended the buys and got the commissions for placing the spots, but it didn't do much to win the election.
In the end, it turned out that one side ran its campaign like a business, while the other side ran its like a local PTA. Ironically, it was the ex-community organizer who did the former and the ex-CEO of Bain Capital who did the latter.
But, wait -- it gets even better. Rove goes on to complain that the G.O.P. ground game just wasn’t up to snuff. As Madison notes, Rove, writing in his November 7 Wall Street Journal column, opined:
Tactically, Republicans must rigorously re-examine their '72-hour' ground game and reverse-engineer the Democratic get-out-the-vote effort in order to copy what works. For example, a postelection survey shows that the Democratic campaign ground game was more effective in communicating negative information. It would be good to know why -- and how to counter such tactics in the future.
(Note the use of the third person, as if Rove himself were not a Republican strategist.)
That whole reverse-engineering thing? Rove’s old buddy, Ralph Reed, was supposed to be doing just that for the G.O.P. through his Faith and Freedom Coalition, which was believed to have had a budget of tens of millions for the express purpose of applying Obama-style high-tech turnout strategies to drive socially conservative voters to the polls.
After the 2008 election, Reed told a conference of activists last June, he “felt like I had been hit by a truck,” and vowed “never to get out-hustled on the ground again.” Out-hustled he was, but for every microtargeted communication and fancy app employed by Faith and Freedom Coalition, you can bet a consultant took a cut.
So maybe Reed felt like his was run over by a tank on Nov. 7, 2012 -- or maybe he just repaired to his $2 million home in Duluth, Ga., and slept soundly.
10. Meghan McCain: Karl Rove sucks.
McCain, daughter of Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee John McCain, is a political force in her own right, and a pundit whose birthright is forgiven by the sheer fun of her delivery -- especially post-election. For the Daily Beast, McCain delivered a scathing on-camera commentary (video on last page of this article), complaining of the stupidity of the G.O.P.’s reliance on white men, which she says “is not a demographic anymore,” to deliver the goods on election day.
But the worst of her ire is reserved for Rove. “I hate Karl Rove,” she says in the video. “I have hated Karl Rove before anybody else hated Karl Rove. I hated Karl Rove when I was, like, 14 years old. I hate -- hate -- Karl Rove. I think he's an idiot, a pretentious blowhard, and I think he was ruined a lot of things for the Republican Party during the Bush administration. All these millionaires that keep giving him $400 million for him to not win one election -- maybe it's not working! Maybe it's not working.”