Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Authoritarians always resort to fear mongering and scapegoating others as their "enemy." As George W. Bush so aptly put it, "you're either with us or against us." The power of hate to blind one to reason and judgment should never be underestimated or taken lightly as a motivation.
So it should come as no surprise that the Republican Party has resorted to fear mongering (once again) as its campaign strategy for 2010, as reported by Ben Smith at Politico. Exclusive: RNC document mocks donors, plays on 'fear':
The Republican National Committee plans to raise money this election cycle through an aggressive campaign capitalizing on “fear” of President Barack Obama and a promise to "save the country from trending toward socialism."
The strategy was detailed in a confidential party fundraising presentation [PowerPoint slides .pdf], obtained by POLITICO, which also outlines how “ego-driven” wealthy donors can be tapped with offers of access and “tchochkes.”
The presentation was delivered by RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart to top donors and fundraisers at a party retreat in Boca Grande, Florida on February 18, a source at the gathering said.
In neat PowerPoint pages, it lifts the curtain on the often-cynical terms of political marketing, displaying an air of disdain for the party’s donors that is usually confined to the barroom conversations of political operatives.
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!”
Manipulating donors with crude caricatures and playing on their fears is hardly unique to Republicans or to the RNC… but rarely is it practiced in such cartoonish terms.
[Watch Michael Steele try to disown and run away from the unflattering caricatures of his own Republican donors on Faux News.]
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 was prepared by the party’s finance staff according to two Republican sources.
The 72-page document was provided to POLITICO by a Democrat, who said a hard copy had been left in the hotel hosting the $2,500-a-head retreat, the Gasparilla Inn & Club. Sources at the event said the presentation was delivered by Bickhart and by the RNC Finance Chairman, Peter Terpeluk, a former ambassador to Luxembourg under President George W. Bush.
The RNC reacted with alarm to a question about it Wednesday, emailing major donors to warn them of a reporter’s question, and distancing Steele from its contents.
* * *
The most unusual section of the presentation is a set of six slides headed “RNC Marketing 101.” 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 slide also allows that donors may have more honorable motives, including “Patriotic Duty.”
A major Republican donor described the state of the RNC’s relationship with major donors as “disastrous,” with veteran givers beginning to abandon the committee, which is becoming increasingly reliant on small donors.
The party’s average contribution in 2009, according to the document, was just $40, and the shift toward a financial reliance on the grassroots may help explain Steele’s increasingly strident tone toward the Obama Administration.
While the crude portrayal of Obama may be – as Steele ‘s spokesman put it – “unacceptable,” other elements of the presentation may be of equal interest to close political observers.
The RNC plans to raise $8.6 million from major donors alone in 2010, less than 10% of its total 2009 fundraising take [$81 million], which was primarily from small donors."
The RNC’s aim, according to one section of the document: “Putting the Fun Back in FUNdraising.”
Eric Alterman at The Daily Beast has more reporting Playing the Fear Card – Page 1:
The document is breathtaking in the contempt demonstrated for Republican supporters, expecting them to insist that a president who, on the one hand, is accused by his own supporters as being overly cozy with Wall Street and the pharmaceutical industry—to say nothing of his hawkish foreign policy—while he's also dubbed the second coming of Joe Stalin. "What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House, or the Senate…?" the memo asks. The answer is apparently a series of cartoons in which Obama is portrayed variously as The Joker, and “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leaders Harry Reid are depicted as Cruella DeVille and Scooby Doo, respectively.”
The document, which stretches on for 72 pages, has been both defended and disowned by RNC Chairman Michael Steele’s staff. This is understandable. On the one hand, it’s bad form for a party to admit that the only way to excite its base is to treat them as, er, mentally challenged. On the other hand, the guys who came up with it are themselves big-money guys and so were all the people present for the horror show they presented.
* * *
The small-donor schmucks—the ones who give of their tiny incomes so that fat cats might enjoy even more tax breaks—are to be shaken down on the basis of their stupidity. Under the heading “Visceral Giving,” the rich Republican folk seeking to bilk them describe their rationales for giving as “fear” (of a black planet?) based on “extreme” feelings and a “reactionary” outlook. The commies at The Nation could not have put it any better themselves. Meanwhile, the fat-cat donors are credited with more “Calculated Giving.” They don’t trumpet the scare tactics: Rather, they need to have their egos stroked with “Peer to Peer Pressure” and “access.” Both, presumably, get their tctotchkes, though one imagines they get more tasteful—or less scary—as one moves up the money ladder. (An aside: The party also appears to be selling meetings with Washington Post—and ex-New York Times columnist—William Kristol. I know that op-ed page is a mess, but can that really be kosher with Post policies?).
Brent Budowski at the Hill's Pundit's blog writes Republican National Committee advocates a party of hate:
The issue is not merely the fundraising poster that was an open call to fear and hate using language and pictures that no major American political party has ever used. The issue is that the modern Republican Party does not have opponents, it has enemies. The modern Republican Party does not seek to win a debate, it seeks to destroy its opponents.
This poster is sick, demented and un-American in its use of fear and hate to slander President Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif). It is un-American to call the nation to fear. It is un-American to call the nation to hate. It is un-American to use slander and lies to divide Americans against each other.
How dare these people wave the American flag while they dishonor our basic values with their despicable appeals to the darkest impulses of the most radical extremes.
We have reached the point where rallies include posters of the president with references to Hitler so offensive that they were roundly condemned by religious leaders, while certain Republican leaders in Congress, instead of condemning them, giving rousing speeches to cheering audiences in front of radical rightists waving signs of hate.
Republicans should reread the farewell speech of Richard Nixon, who admitted he was so full of hate for opponents that he destroyed himself.
Republicans should consider why Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln would be thrown out of the modern Republican Party and would be Democrats if they were alive today.
Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele should fire everyone associated with this poster and issue a personal apology to President Obama, Majority Leader Reid, Speaker Pelosi and members of both parties who are offended by this slanderous partisanship.