Image via WikipediaExclusive: 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, 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 – 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.
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 reporter’s question, and distancing Steele from its contents.