I've never fully understood how Karl Rove developed a reputation as a strategic genius.
In 2000, it was Rove's idea to keep George W. Bush in California in the campaign's waning days, instead of stumping in key battleground states. Bush lost California by a wide margin, and Rove's strategy practically cost his candidate the election.
In 2006, after nearly getting indicted, Rove's sole responsibility was overseeing the Republican Party's 2006 election strategy. He told NPR in late October that he'd found a secret math that gives him insights that mere mortals can't comprehend, and soon after, Democrats won back both chambers of Congress in a historic victory.
And then there's this year, when Rove's Republican attack operation spent nearly $400 million and lost just about every race it contested -- not to mention Rove's on-air tantrum that's already become the stuff of legend.
I think it's safe to say the bloom is off the rose.
"The billionaire donors I hear are livid," one Republican operative told The Huffington Post. "There is some holy hell to pay. Karl Rove has a lot of explaining to do ... I don't know how you tell your donors that we spent $390 million and got nothing."
Rove's operation is holding a phone call for its big donors today "to sum up the race." That ought to be fun, right?
There's also the question of Rove's future. Conservative activist Richard Viguerie said in a statement yesterday that "in any logical universe," Rove "would never be hired to run or consult on a national campaign again."
Media organizations will, however, apparently keep paying him. Rove, who inexplicably maintains a role as a media professional analyzing races he's directly involved in, still has his Wall Street Journal column -- he says today Obama is "lucky" Hurricane Sandy hit -- and seems unlikely to leave Fox News anytime soon.