Skip to comments.Exclusive: RNC document mocks donors, plays on 'fear'
Posted on 03/03/2010 3:33:22 PM PST by Former Military Chick
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, 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 partys 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 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 partys 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.
Under Steele, the RNC has shifted toward a reliance on small donors, but the document reveals extensive, confidential details of the strategy for luring wealthy checkwriters, which range from luxury retreats in California wine country to tickets to a professional fight in Las Vegas.
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 Thursday, emailing major donors to warn them of a reporters question, and distancing Steele from its contents.
The document was used for a fundraising presentation Chairman Steele did not attend, nor had he seen the document, RNC Communications Director Doug Heye said in an email. Fundraising documents are often controversial.
Obviously, the Chairman disagrees with the language and finds the use of such imagery to be unacceptable. It will not be used by the Republican National Committee in any capacity in the future, Heye said.
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 RNCs relationship with major donors as disastrous, with veteran givers beginning to abandon the committee, which is becoming increasingly reliant on small donors.
The partys average contribution in 2009, according to the document, was just $40, and the shift toward a financial reliance on the grassroots may help explain Steeles 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, which was primarily from small donors."
The center of that plan is an extensive, and colorful, schedule of events. Along with traditional fundraisers with conservative luminaries including Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes, the party plans to raise $80,000 for a trip to London to meet David Cameron, the British Conservative Party leader, on September 17.
The RNCs Young Eagles younger major donors and the only group, according to a major donor, continuing to pull its weight financially are invited to a professional bull riding event in October, expected to raise $50,000, and to a no-holds-barred Ultimate Fighting Championship fight in Las Vegas the same month, expected to raise $60,000.
The RNCs aim, according to one section of the document: Putting the Fun Back in FUNdraising.
CORRECTION: The RNC raised a total of $81 million in 2009. An earlier version of this story understated that figure.
Politico has a photo from the power point slide.
However, it should be done with a bit more class.
The truth normally does offend many.
Conservatives aka Tea Party people sit on their hands AGAIN
in the 2010 election cycle like they did for McCain.
I almost have to wonder if the document was created by a Democrat to make the Republicans look bad.....
Oh please, left in a hotel room?
Sounds like the Democrat Lite party. Lame. Image button pushing.
Smells like a plant to me. Awfully convenient.
I actually would agree to give some thought to that opinion. It is just very odd timing that this got into a democrats hands and than into Politico’s hands.
I like Italian Sausage, do not like to see it made, rather like not wanting to know what goes on behind the scenes of the RNC.
Great comment, thank you.
“The presentation was delivered by RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart to top donors and fundraisers at a party retreat in Boca Grande, Florida...
In neat PowerPoint pages...displaying an air of disdain for the partys donors”
Um, if the document was presented in front of a group of donors, I don’t think they were trying to hide something from donors. Politico, dinosaur media on the Internet.
If true, this doesn’t surprise me. And the sad part is they don’t need tricks and tactics to get donors—large and small—to open their wallets this time around. Look at the fortune Brown raked in. Conservatives know the next few rounds of elections are life and death. The RNC is using old tactics and missing the boat, but that isn’t new.
That is the odd point of this document, I mean the RNC has been under fire and frankly I get it. But, the timing it does make one wonder how this got into a democrats hands.
Of course POLITICO sent this out breaking, I suppose it is a feather in their cap if true, but what a house keeper found it and gave it to a democrat? I mean, I don’t know paper’s being left end up in the hands of a democrat instead of the trash can?
It is very odd to be sure.
I actually like Politco, well as much as one can like any media organization.
You are right, if presented what is the shock value. Unless, it was prep FOR a future mailing and they were working through the kinks and now it is getting out there before the mailing.
No big deal.
I would wager money that the Dummies Power point presentation would make everyone throw up.
None of the big wigs were there, move along nothing to see here.
Big donors have already indicated they are picking candidates to donate to. In two years the RNC may well be in a store front in D.C handing out bumper stickers.
People should damn well be afraid of Barack Obama and a slide towards socialism. All you have to do is look at the abject poverty and dysfunctionality of socialist societies.
People should damn well be afraid of doing nothing.
Some things should not have hard copies made
True, this is really our time to shine and tricks aren’t needed.
Sure, gimicks abound in any election cycle but this just seems to be all about red meat and now if true only give’s the left talking nitwits something to bloviate about ...
Great comment, thank you.
Bummer is scariness incarnated. This strategery should be about as easy as falling off a log.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.