Friday, March 05, 2010

Fallout from the RNC PowerPoint presentation continues....

It appears that the GOP's 72-page PowerPoint presentation is creating some serious public relations damage for the party. From the Washington Post:

National Republican leaders scrambled Thursday to control damage caused by an internal party document that caricatures President Obama as the Joker and stokes fear of socialism to raise money in a critical election year.

The 72-page PowerPoint presentation reveals the blunt appeal to emotion that both parties use to motivate donors and prefer to keep private. But its release online and consequent cable chatter became an unwelcome distraction for Republicans, because the strategy it outlined fit squarely with Democrats' portrait of the GOP as the party of "no."

"You don't defend it," Republican National Committee Chairman Michael S. Steele said Thursday in an interview on Fox News. "It was unfortunate. Those were images that were uploaded off the Internet. They've been out in the public domain for a while. A staffer was putting together a presentation for a small group of nine or 10 folks and thought they would intersperse their presentation with humorous shots. They're inappropriate."

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), a member of the Republican leadership, said: "There is no place for this. Obviously when you're fundraising . . . you want to make direct and succinct points, but using these sorts of tactics is certainly not something that any of us ought to condone."

Said Tom Rath, a former RNC member from Concord, N.H.: "We're not going to win the election by drawing those kinds of comparisons. We're going to win the elections because we have one view of government and how the economy ought to work and American security."

There are a couple of things I want to say about this fallout. The first, obviously, is that RNC Chairman Michael Steele refuses to accept responsibility, and will probably not fire the "staffer" who added these images in the presentation in the first place. It is certainly ironic that Steele first tells Fox News that "You can't defend it," and then goes into a long-winded defense of how the images were "uploaded off the Internet." You do not upload off the Internet, you download from the internet. Yes, I even missed that one as well. Finally, when the images were "uploaded off the internet," Steele claims that some "staffer" thought it would be funny to add these "humorous" shots in the presentation. And since Michael Steele didn't know about this presentation before the Politco story broke, then Michael Steele isn't responsible for it. The WaPost reports that:

Steele said he found out about document on Wednesday, when Politico obtained it and posted it on the Internet. His spokesman, Doug Heye, said he also had not seen the document and would not say who approved it beyond Robert Bickhart, RNC's finance director, who made the presentation to donors in Boca Grande, Fla.

Next question I would have to ask is to RNC Communications Director Doug Hey, who said in an email to that;

“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.

Now Heye is telling the WaPost that he hasn't seen the document, but is giving out PR-quotes on how Steele "disagrees with the language and finds the use of such imagry to be unacceptable." These guys can't even line up their ducks in a row!

The WaPost also reports that the RNC Finance Chairman Peter Terpeluk Jr., is listed on the PowerPoint document. Terpeluk was a former ambassador to Luxembourg, the co-chairman for President George H.W. Bush's 1992 re-election campaign, and was a major fundraiser for Republican Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. Terpeluk refused to return the WaPost calls for a comment on the document.

Finally, I haven't heard anything from RNC Finance Director Robert Bickhart, who apparently approved the document and made the presentation in Boca Grande, Florida.

How much do you want to bet that neither Terpeluk or Bickhart will not get fired over this "Evil Empire" presentation?

The second point I would like to make is a comment that former RNC member Tom Rath told the WaPost on the document comparisons: "We're not going to win the election by drawing those kinds of comparisons. We're going to win the elections because we have one view of government and how the economy ought to work and American security." Rath may be correct that winning elections will be about making distinct comparisons on policy issues between Democrats and Republicans, but so far the Republicans have refused to provide any policy proposals on issues. Instead, the Republican Party presents fear-mongering, death panels, economic stimulus spending not creating a single job, Obama killing Granny, socialism, cries of deficit spending, and finally NO! The Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart nails it:

The bigger issue for Steele and the Republicans is that nowhere in those 72 pages is there a blueprint for how the GOP will go after the Democrats on policy or ideas. The American people are looking for answers to some very serious problems they and the nation are facing. If this is the best the RNC can do it might as well hand out DC Comics at its next "leadership" gathering.

Unfortunately, the GOP has staked this midterm election as an election to propagate fear-mongering, name-calling, and extremist rhetoric, rather than presenting their ideas on how to solve this country's serious, complex, problems. The question now is will the American people actually see through all this insane, childish, crazy-talk coming from the GOP?

Or will the American people get swallowed into Arkham Asylum?

No comments: