Super-PAC Super-Team of Super-Villains?

Neslted in a long, unsettling piece by Washington Monthly alumnus Nicholas Confessore for the New York Times on the financial landscape of the 2012 general election is this arresting passage:

Restore Our Future, the “super PAC” whose millions of dollars in negative advertising helped bury Mr. Romney’s Republican rivals, will also shift its focus to the general election, officials familiar with its plans said. The group, which raised more than $43 million through the end of February, is hoping to reach the $100 million mark by the end of the cycle.

The super PAC will also have help from Mr. Romney’s allies and backers: Jim Talent, the former United States senator and a key surrogate for Mr. Romney during the primaries, appeared at a Restore Our Future briefing for donors in New York on Wednesday.

And people involved with the group’s fund-raising have in recent days approached Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino owner whose family contributed over $16 million to a rival super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich, to consider contributing to Restore Our Future. They have also approached Charles and David Koch, the wealthy conservative businessmen who founded Americans for Prosperity, a conservative advocacy group, according to two people with knowledge of the conversations.

Restore Our Future’s political director, Carl Forti, is also an official with American Crossroads, a pro-Republican super PAC that is planning to raise as much as $300 million to spend on the 2012 elections. Federal rules permit the two super PACs to coordinate directly with each other on raising and spending money, and Mr. Romney’s allies expect that Crossroads and other outside groups, like Americans for Prosperity, will spend up to $100 million against Mr. Obama.

Wow. Lined up like this, the rogue’s gallery of “independent” backers of Mitt Romney’s candidacy is quite a group.

It may be a while before it’s fully realized, but Restore Our Future may have just run the most effective negative campaign we’ve seen in some time during the GOP nomination contest. It was rivaled in nastiness only by Newt Gingrich’s Winning Our Future, bankrolled almost entirely by Adelson. The Brothers Koch stand at the Randian crossroads where personal greed and libertarian principle meet, and have had a massive, visigothic, destructive impact on policy at every level of government. In this company, American Crossroads’ Karl Rove, long a master on the financial underpinnings of politics (he started, after all, as a direct mail wizard), almost comes across as quaint, charming figure.

I don’t know if these worthies will ever get together in a single place at a single time to discuss their common work, but if they did, it would probably feel like one of those legendary Cosa Nostra summits. We may never again see the likes of this particular combination of avarice, talent, malevolent focus and permissive laws. If they are ultimately thwarted at the polls, it will be grounds for genuine celebration.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.