A RNC confidential fundraising presentation from a party fundraising retreat in Boca Grande, Florida held on February 18 was released to the media today. The document details the new RNC fundraising strategy for the upcoming midterm elections. Under the leadership of RNC Chairman Michael Steele, the RNC have lost a significant amount of large donors and they are now relying more on small donations than major contributors.
The new direction the RNC is taking is a campaign of fear-- by scaring the donors into thinking this country is headed towards socialism under the Obama administration. Though it is hardly unusual for both parties to use crude caricatures of the current administration to raise funds (former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush were both victims of this practice), “rarely is it practiced in such cartoonish terms,” says Ben Smith of Politico. One page, titled “The Evil Empire” depicts President Obama as the Joker from Batman, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as Cruella de Ville, and Senate Majority Leader as Scooby Doo. The document suggested that to get small donors to open their wallets, they needed them to feel the fear that this country is headed towards socialism—indirectly implying that their small donors are simple-minded people who are driven by primal fear and have no real perception of the big picture. For their wealthier donors, they plan to woo them with fancy retreats, "tchochkes" and promise of "access". It is unclear how only fancy retreats and ego-stroking methods will get someone to whip out their checkbook and write a big check to a party that is outdated and out of step with society, but obviously the RNC have done their homework before putting this presentation together.
Today is the first time Politico gained access to the full 72-page document; a copy of it was left behind at the location of the Republican party retreat, Gasparilla Inn & Club in Florida. Reporters started asking questions about the aforementioned document since last Thursday, the Republican Party reacted with panic, alarmed at the fact that someone was careless enough to leave a confidential document behind for anyone to pick up and hand it over to media. The Republican leadership have now tried to distance themselves from this document and is eager to point out that Chairman Michael Steele “did not attend, nor had he seen the document,” and further points out that Chairman Steele does not agree with the language used in this document and that this document will not be used again at future fundraisers.
It was obvious that after the general election of 2008, the Republican Party elected an African-American to head the RNC in an effort to show the country that the Republican Party was for “change” too. The only problem with his ascension to the chairmanship is that Steele has very little actual power; he is only serving as a figurehead for a battered party who needed an image adjustment. Chairman Steele had to apologize to Rush Limbaugh on CNN for calling him an “entertainer” and not to be taken seriously as a leader of the Republican Party. Steele had to go on national television and announce to the nation after his election to the chairmanship: “I am the head of the Republican party”, not that buffoon who rants on the radio everyday. Chairman Steele now is in an uncomfortable position of defending but distancing himself from this incendiary document, since the Finance Committee of the RNC prepared and distributed it, there is no backing away or denying its existence and intention.
Whatever lead or surge they felt Scott Brown gave them by winning the special Senate election in Massachusetts will soon evaporate. Scott Brown won the election because he seemed like an earnest man; he showed his constituents that he really cares about his country and that he will fight on their behalf. Whether using his old, beat up American truck as the main means of transportation on the campaign trail had much impact on his victory, no one knows, but Scott Brown comes across as a sincere and decent man and that’s why he won.
The RNC not only insulted the president and the presidency of the United States—the highest office of the land; they are insulting their own constituents and donors. The RNC insults them by suggesting that the less well off donors are simple-minded people who give in easily to unsubstantiated fear. Furthermore, If the RNC thinks by throwing a few "tchochkes" around the wealthier donors so they will open their checkbooks while sipping on champagne and munching on strawberries, they are sorely mistaken. The wealthy certainly did not get rich by being gullible and easily bought.
Democratic National Committee have since released a statement by their Communications Director Brad Woodhouse: "This revealing document proves what the Republican party has long denied, but now, by their own admission, the express strategy of the Republican party is not to offer new ideas, but ‘fear.’ Republicans can no longer deny that they are peddling fear when they are literally selling it as their path back to power.”