A copy of a secret special Republican National Committee presentation prepared by the party’s finance staff and delivered by RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart to top donors and fundraisers at a retreat in Boca Grande, Florida, last month was left in a hotel room. Now it’s public. There are no surprises in the presentation yet it shocks for delivering on Americans’ lowest expectations of the country’s politics.
One way and another, the presentation made predictably its way to Politico. Ben Smith did the write up:
The presentation explains the Republican fundraising in simple terms.
“What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House, or the Senate…?” it asks.
The answer: “Save the country from trending toward Socialism!”
The presentation divides fundraising into two traditional categories, direct marketing and major donors, and lays out the details of how to approach each group.
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.”
The presentation makes it clear that the Republican party is increasingly reliant on small “visceral giving”– the kind its finance department at least believes is motivated by reactionary fear. The presentation included the fact that the party’s average contribution in 2009 was $40, a “grassroots level contribution” that Smith says might help explain RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s increasingly strident tone toward the Obama Administration.
The presentation included images of the top members of what it called the “Evil Empire,” Obama appears as the sardonic joker of the Tea Party signs and Nancy Pelosi as Cruella DeVille, the Disney villain of 1001 Dalmatians. Harry Reid appears as Scooby Doo.
To many observers these kind of caricatures will come across as comic. To great masses of others, however, it’s $40 worth of scary. At least that’s how the RNC fundraisers are cynically betting.
Some choice slides: