A Glimpse Into GOP Fundraising: Priceless.

March 4, 2010 at 1:29 pm (Political) (, , , , , , , )

Ben Smith at Politico dropped a bombshell about the RNC’s 2010 Fundraising strategy yesterday afternoon.

Manipulating donors with crude caricatures and playing on their fears is hardly unique to Republicans or to the RNC – Democrats raised millions off George W. Bush in similar terms – but rarely is it practiced in such cartoonish terms.

One page, headed “The Evil Empire,” pictures Obama as the Joker from Batman, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid are depicted as Cruella DeVille and Scooby Doo, respectively.

The document, which two Republican sources said was prepared by the party’s finance staff, comes as Chairman Michael Steele struggles to retain the trust and allegiance of major donors, who can give as much as $30,400 a year to the party.

The small donors who are the targets of direct marketing are described under the heading “Visceral Giving.” Their motivations are listed as “fear;” “Extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration;” and “Reactionary.”

Major donors, by contrast, are treated in a column headed “Calculated Giving.”

Their motivations include: “Peer to Peer Pressure”; “access”; and “Ego-Driven.”

One can understand how these types of tactics can be effective in raising money from a certain type of people. What is not understandable is how the RNC can keep its fundraising message separate from its public campaign message. It is not 1970. These messages turn off a whole lot more people than they appeal to. In an age of cellphone cameras, the old-fashioned wink-wink nod-nod rubber chicken dinner is not isolated from the rest of the world anymore. The Clinton’s learned that in the 2008 primaries.

Chairman Steele’s response illustrates that the right hand does not know what the right-er hand is doing at the RNC.


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Arithmetic Could Damn the Democratic Party in 2010

January 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm (Political) (, , , , , , , , , )

15.3 million Americans are officially unemployed.

In the wake of Tuesday’s Massachusetts special Senate election, politicians and pundits are tearing at their clothes trying to figure out the “why’s” and “how’s” of Senator-Elect Brown’s surprise victory. The Washington Post today, alone, has 17 pundits with 17 explanations and 17 solutions. While President Clinton roams the hallways of the Hart Building warning anyone who will listen about the electoral dangers of dropping health care reform from the agenda, Congress would be wise to heed the words of a younger candidate Clinton, “It’s the economy, stupid.”

Last year’s $787 billion stimulus package would have paid the wages of 17.5 million workers at the American median wage for one year. Americans can do arithmetic.

There is no doubt to an objective observer that – despite the pork and the goofy pet projects – the stimulus worked as intended. The middle-class tax cuts eased families struggling with increased household expenses and stagnant wages. The Dow is up 3000 points from this time last year. Unemployment leveled off (at a slightly higher percentage than the White House had bet – whoever decided to announce a number should be the first staffer standing in a soup line). Wall Street bonuses are more self-indulgent than ever. No doubt, this time next year, everything will be just fine. Eventually, millions of permanent private-sector jobs will flourish from the foundations of the stimulus package.

Would a member of Congress want to cross their fingers and hope that everything is fine by the time November rolls around?

Before every coward from a swing state in the House revolts, the Democratic leadership needs to take swift, decisive action to reassure the caucus if they hope to accomplish ANYTHING this year: reinstate the Works Progress Administration. Spend $200 billion and employ 4 million people, immediately. Reserve half the money to target swing districts. If the Democrat needs 10,000 votes, create 20,000 jobs. Put a donkey in the corner of the paycheck. Get the caucus back in order, pass something, call it “health care reform”, and declare victory. Get healthcare OFF the radar immediately and censure any member of the caucus that opens their mouth in front of a camera without including in every sentence the word, “Jobs.”

This trick is Tammany Hall 101 and as old as Julius Caesar.

Why? It works. Modern politics is not above this. President Bush wrote every American a $350 check in 2003 and was handily re-elected in 2004. The Republicans already telegraphed their strategy to this tactic with last year’s stimulus debate. Democrats already won the “tax cuts hurt us” argument in 2008 and should build off of that in 2010. Let the Republicans scream for a year about make-work. Every time a Republican slanders make-work and suggests tax cuts, the Democrat should tout their own middle-class tax cut and talk about “Main Street vs. Wall Street.” Democrats should define their make-work project NOW as “Main Street” and the voter will fill out the meme as to who backs “Wall Street” (hint: it’s the guy who starts every sentence with the words, “tax cut”).

A Republican cannot ride a populist tiger when they are kicking it in the chops.

If Massachusetts taught us anything, there is no safe district in 2010. As the party in power, the Democrats must define themselves before they are defined by their opponents. The only way a party in power can define themselves is through their work. Every Democrat can scream, “Jobs!” on every street corner; but if the economy has not turned around by November, no voter is going to agree that tax cuts, regulatory incentives, or targeted small-business loans were sufficient to warrant re-electing their first or second term Democratic member of Congress. A WPA program will, as history has proven, have little to no practical effect on the economy as a whole, but it is something tangible a candidate in 2010 can point to if this recovery proves more sluggish than anticipated. Better, a WPA program allows a Democrat to define themselves as “Main Street” before their opponent has the opportunity to define them as “Wall Street.”

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You Should Buy Chairman Mike’s Lil 12-step Book!

January 16, 2010 at 7:08 pm (Political) (, , , , , , , , )

Apparently, no one inside the GOP knew that Chairman Michael Steele was writing a book.  They sure did not appreciate him publicly deriding his party’s chances of reclaiming a chamber of Congress this fall.

Chairman Mike, “Fire me.  But until then, shut up.”

Of course, the folks who are in charge of hiring/firing Chairman Mike are soon to be taken on vacation to Hawaii, on the RNC dime, courtesy of Chairman Mike.  Mind you, these folks have tremendous influence and are very important to fundraising and mobilizing the grassroots to get candidates elected, but they have no actual political power.  These are EXACTLY the type of self-important people that will wilt under the fancy wine and dine.

Better yet, Chairman Mike has got the street-cred to back up his mouth.  The GOP won more than it lost in special elections last year and raised $84 million in an off-year.  Of course, Chairman Mike blew $90 million on silly local projects that reinforced his support amongst the GOP base while flipping the bird at the Beltway GOP.  Chairman Mike spent so much money that the RNC changed their spending rules and took away Chairman Mike’s RNC credit card.

So, going into a midterm where the GOP has their best shot since 1994 and after an amazing off-year fundraising spree, the RNC has a whopping $8 million in the bank.

Chairman Mike is a walking Guinness commercial, “BRILLIANT!”

All the while, on top of his $224,000 RNC salary, the GOP found out this week that Chairman Mike has been charging $20k a pop for speaking appearances and a PR firm independent of the RNC was setting them up for him.

If they were playing Halo, Chairman Mike would be screaming, “OWNED!” over a headset while his avatar squatted on the head of the GOP’s avatar’s corpse.

Chairman Mike’s manifesto must be revenge for Chip Saltsman’s Christmas card the year before last.  A man of Chairman Mike’s chutzpah deserves reward:  buy his book.  And, Chairman Mike, take ‘em all the way to the bank!

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