Thursday, March 4, 2010

GOP 2010: Mindless Terror, Now with Collectibles!!!

Yesterday, Politico published a piece of investigative journalism whose ramifications could be sharply negative for the Republican National Committee. Good for them! You knew they'd have it in them — eventually... reluctantly. You can almost picture beads of sweat erupting on the tech guy's face as he queued the update, each keystroke resounding in his ears like a hammer striking an anvil.

In the piece, Politico excerpted details from a leaked 72-page RNC document explaining how to better raise funds for 2010 GOP campaigns. Politico summarized the RNC strategy thus:
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."

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] 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...

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.
It seems like a great revelation, but it's not. It's an interesting story because GOP avarice and cynicism are so naked and well-documented, but aside from primary-source specifics, this is nothing you haven't heard before. This is all they ever do.

In 2004, the GOP strategy was to scare the shit out of you. John Kerry somehow not only wasn't a decorated war hero, but there was no way he could have learned how to conduct a war. Sure, George Bush managed to learn-by-doing when it came to starting and prosecuting wars, but this would never happen again. No other chief executive could be handed a war and use intelligence and good advice to figure it out. Turning over the United States to Kerry would have been like handing the keys to Baghdad to Muqtada al-Sadr and throwing a nude Lady Liberty into an unlocked death-row wing you'd just flooded with Astroglide. Still, Bush barely won.

In 2006, they tried this same strategy with House and Senate races, ignoring the fact that at least in House races, all the big decisions are local ones. The GOP loss was breathtaking. It also didn't hurt that the GOP felt defending the country wasn't so essential that they couldn't suspend national business to figure out whether somebody had the right to unplug a vegetable or devote a lot of off-hours to having gay sex with boys.

In 2008, they employed the same tactic again, as Rudy Giuliani — America's lisping bag of human excrement — kicked stuff off with a real bang (pardon me) by standing in front of a massive Big Brother television display of the smoking World Trade Center, reminding us to "never forget" because "9/11" because "terrorism" and also "firefighters," and, in conclusion, "liberals are the poison germs sickening the volk who, if elected, would stab our troops in the back." The bravura performance was just explosive (again, sorry) and devastating (oops), and where once had stood the edifice of progressive America there was just a smoking crater (what a fucking asshole).

The GOP lost again. So of course they're trying this tactic again. Just like they did last year when they considered realigning the party intellectually along a dynamic new program of name-calling.

But it makes sense. This is what you have left when you lack anything like a unified strategy for governance. Hell, when your only ideological basis is "government is a horribly mismanaged menace that keeps diverting money to the wrong things, most of which are owned by friends of ours," you can't campaign on anything like a core message. The GOP is adept at manipulating blocs of single-issue voters, but knitting them into a cohesive quilt is next to impossible. Besides, gay activists use quilts.

You can't get the same all-life-is-sacred message to the abortion voters in the same speech that you outline the "let's murder the shit out of some fuckin' ragheads" to your foreign-policy base. Your war on affirmative action won't play well to the same audience of Jews you just sold a "bulldoze Palestine" stump speech to, because many of them might have benefited from it. Economically speaking, you're not going to get much mileage from, "What we did from 2001-2007 to destroy the economy must be done to fix it. We have to do the same thing, only harder. You grind your teeth at night? CHEW MORE. You can't stop drinking beer? Switch to bourbon."

Thus the only card left is demonizing the opponent. And since the RNC elected Michael Steele its chairman to distance itself from the southern-strategy campaign slogan we all know they wish they could run with — "AIIIIGHHHH! NIGGER PRESIDENT!" — they have to go with generic fear again. Which is great for them, except for the fact that it doesn't work on two levels.

First, while red-baiting worked in the 1940s and 1950s because America was just entering the first generation of citizens raised by anything vaguely socialistic and thus unfamiliar with how well it could work within a democratic and capitalistic system, we've at this point reared a full three generations in a governmental support system that includes unemployment, social security, Medicare and student aid. Socialism just doesn't petrify as much when you've got people who owe their educations to it, have been on unemployment for months or rely on things like COBRA. Just look at the Tea Party phenomenon for a clue: you literally have people raging against Universal Health Care because they're afraid they'll lose their Medicare. It doesn't take a lot of work to point out that the purpose of both is identical, varying only by degree.

Second, there's already an established track record of "HOLY SHIT, WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE" failing. It barely worked in the midst of the Iraq war (probably incumbency alone pushed Bush over the edge), and it tanked during the height of the insurgency. It tanked again in 2008, despite all those invocations of terrorists and horrifying black community organizers who patrol neighborhoods with clipboards, shooting questions at people. It's enough to make you question if it ever works.

Really, can you imagine walking into a voting booth and saying, "Well, look, this guy shares my economic and social goals, but he is going to murder me"? Unless you're black and live in a southern city that can flood, can you imagine a thought process that includes total certitude that the candidate intends to stand idly by while you die? I realize that there are a lot of dumb people in this country and in every country, but outside of the "Birther" demographic it's really staking a lot of political capital to assume that a deciding majority will think, "This person has spent years of his life and millions of dollars seeking the highest office in the land because he really doesn't want to be famous for being the best president ever and actually is indifferent to the fiery death of people who might elect him or proclaim him wonderful later." Further, "People who run for president are really vain and want to be loved, but this guy doesn't care. This man would literally prefer to see potential fans and voters die." Sure, that makes total sense.

But see, dismissing the RNC 2010 tactics as only this is shortsighted. Okay, maybe this is what they do every time. But a fool overlooks what they've got waiting to blow the doors off the opposition. Again, from Politico (emphasis mine):
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.”
That's right. You ask what the brilliant strategy for RNC 2010 is? I give you:
Party Favors
HELL YES. The RNC has got this shit going on.

They looked at Washington, D.C., then the merchandizing for Twilight and thought, "Hey, why not us? Maybe we can finally make a buck, here." This is corporatized politics with perfect synergy. The business of America is moving product, and there's no product that moves harder and faster and more like a tiger or a mongoose than freedom.

Freedom is flying off the shelves. We've got kids with stapled fingers in Micronesia putting freedom together, and you would not believe the margin on it. It's sick.

Here's the thing, though: why stop at just moving freedom and "granting access" and doggie-bagging a bunch of Movado watches? If we're going to make liberty collectible, we've got to start moving an entire line of goods. Now, I'm just spitballing here, but let's see what we can do with the following:

Hummels for Hummers.

"Snowglobal Domination" — commemorative Sno-Globe scatters nuclear winter on Mecca.

Over 50 "Precious Moments" 9/11 Collectibles showing the World Trade Center during every second of its collapse, lovingly rendered in elephant ivory.

Laminated copy of a House bill to make the Franklin Mint part of the United States Treasury.

Commemorative waterboard for pool exercise, leg strengthening.

Half-baked Alaska at every attendee's table (undigestible).

An official Pat O'Brien's Hurricane glass with a giant hole in it.

Small ceramic figurines of black men in suits with goofy white makeup on their faces (it's cool, it's Obama as the Joker) that you can put on the lawn next to your mailbox to tell everyone else that you're TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY — YOU CAN KEEP THE 'CHANGE,' Sambo.

A set of lead-tainted dinnerware so you can savor the flavor of non-government intervention.

A Chia Head of Oliver North that only sprouts when watered with the blood of tyrants.

G. Gordon Liddy's Home Locksmith Set.

Shards of the True Cross (surgeon's shavings from Ronald Reagan's vertebrae and collarbones) dipped in platinum.

Complimentary mirrored wingtips for "stall" surveillance.

A die-cast Dale Earnhardt #3 Car with a Dale bobblehead popping out of the sunroof and shaking its oversized mustache back and forth across the top of the car, which has been glitter-paint graffitoed "OBAMACARE."

Pictures of exploded Afghan and Iraqi children next to pictures of aborted fetuses, with "YES/NO" subtitles printed in hues discernible even to the red/green colorblind.

A 200-image photo album of starving non-white people macro'd with bold IMPACT FONT just like "Fail Blog."

Airbrush-on-black-velour mural of Elvis Presley, Ronald Reagan, Chuck Norris and George W. Bush winning the WWE Royal Rumble by throwing LBJ, Obama and Carter over the top rope, while Norris delivers a Sean Michaels superkick to FDR's Face so hard it throws him AND his wheelchair through the Spanish announcers' table.

Do you doubt the power of that kind of merchandizing? Do you think we can't franchise Ronald Reagan's America in every town? Ahahaha, next thing you're gonna tell me is we can't retake the White House in 2010. NOBAMA! NOBAMA! NOBAMA!