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What that RNC presentation didn't say

After flipping through the 72-page PowerPoint presentation
from the Republican National Committee Finance leadership meeting
, I'm increasingly convinced that Chairman Michael Steele and his cohorts are determined to remain a regional reactionary second-rate party.

Lots of folks are focused on page 29, "Motivation to Give." Some think it's belittling of small donors, coddling of major donors and treats both like mindless saps. But anyone who has raised money for any organization knows that you have to understand what will motivate people to give you their hard-earned money. And, sorry to say it, but people like tchochkes. Don't believe me? Watch them rifle through their gift bags at the table of a fundraising dinner or make a mad dash for the staffer holding said offering at the end of an event.

Quite a bit of attention has been paid to the images on page 31 under the comical banner "Evil Empire." The portrayal of President Obama as the Joker (as played by Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight") is odious. But there was nary a peep when Vanity Fair ran a similar caricature of President George W. Bush in 2008.

obamabush_joker.jpg

And likening Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to Cruella DeVille and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to Scooby Doo is childish. The two of them huddled as stand-ins in American Gothic is lame. Politics is rough but this is pathetic.

My concern is on page 30. "What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House or the Senate?," the presentation asks those gathered in Boca Grande, Fla., last month. The answer is "Save the country from trending toward Socialism." I understand the concern about the federal government's actions since the economy imploded on Sept. 15, 2008. But continuing to peddle in Socialism fear-mongering is nothing more than an effort to try to shake coins from a base energized by the Tea Party movement.

RNC Chairman Michael Steele has denounced this presentation. His spokesperson claims Steele didn't know about it, which I find odd considering it came from the RNC finance chair. But I'll take him at his word. 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.

By Jonathan Capehart  | March 4, 2010; 11:32 AM ET
Categories:  Capehart  | Tags:  Jonathan Capehart  
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Comments

They scare you don't they? Amazing. Otherwise you would demonstrate some intelligence and just ignore them.

Posted by: staterighter | March 4, 2010 1:16 PM | Report abuse

The ironic thing is that the more the Republicans talk about "Socialism", the more they bring it into the mainstream. You hear people today casually uttering the word on national television when two years ago it was confined to smoky basement-level bookstores and coffeeshops. Besides, if they paint everything Obama does as socialist, then the only logical conclusion when he passes a popular piece of legislation is that socialism isn't too bad. Oh the irony.

Posted by: klautsack | March 4, 2010 1:34 PM | Report abuse

...and the man behind the curtain?

Karl Rove, no doubt, author of Simple Sarah's "death panels" and the dark-side knight of Atwater, playing on the fears and ignorance of the simple minded.

Steele is lying when he says he knew nothing of this.

Posted by: coloradodog | March 4, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans "plan" is to fight Socialism, even if it means opposing everything that might benefit the American people. Some consultant got paid for that?

And their plan for the November elections is to brag about how they did nothing to help the American people after being responsible for starting two wars, bailing out Wall Street gamblers, shipping 8 million jobs to China and India and insisting that Congress not pass any legislation approved by a Democrat.

Sounds like the way to convince the voters to return them to Power!

Posted by: shadowmagician | March 4, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

The Republicans "plan" is to fight Socialism, even if it means opposing everything that might benefit the American people. Some consultant got paid for that?

And their plan for the November elections is to brag about how they did nothing to help the American people after being responsible for starting two wars, bailing out Wall Street gamblers, shipping 8 million jobs to China and India and insisting that Congress not pass any legislation approved by a Democrat.

Sounds like the way to convince the voters to return them to Power!

Posted by: shadowmagician | March 4, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Add up this most recent fund raiser pub. with the fake "census" forms sent out with a fund raiser at Blackwater and one gets a sense of weirdness surrounding the RNC and (R). I realize they probably don't care about appearances but the desperate air generated by these activities seems to be self defeating. I'm all for repub. failure but these antics bring down everybody.

Posted by: hoser3 | March 4, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Socialism, terrible until you tell my grandmother that we are going to take her Social Security away because it is too "socialist".

I guess that the principled right-of-center Republicans in Washington are an endangered species. Being in favor of a 33% tax rate instead of a 36% tax rate can be an honorable conservative position, but advocating a ZERO % tax rate gets all the media attention and donations.

Where are the Goldwater Republicans who believe government shouldn't tell people how to live their lives? The current crop believes that until they come across people they disagree with, such as gays, then they want government to tell people how to live their lives.

And when the Gov. of VA said in his reply to the state of the union address that he wanted to have government decisions made more locally, did that mean that the state of Virginia would defer to the counties of Virginia or was that just to grab power away from the Federal Gov't?

Posted by: cyberfool | March 4, 2010 2:18 PM | Report abuse

I think the difference between the Obama-as-Joker cartoon and the Bush-as-Joker cartoon is that the former is actually being peddled by the RNC and is being used to incite fear raise money, where as the DNC had nothing to do with the latter.

Posted by: menaman | March 4, 2010 2:20 PM | Report abuse

The more light that is shined on them the better people will understand why Health Reform had to be passed through reconciliation (reconciliaton - a bill has passed, yes passed, the House and Senate and it is reconciled because of admendments. Congress has voted on Health Reform and it PASSED).

How can a RNC committee put out a 72 page fundraiser "comic" and the RNC Chairman not know it exist?

Posted by: rlj1 | March 4, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

This is the reason I got out of the
Republican party. The party has been taken over by lunatics. McConnell and Boehner are EVIL. They have no solutions to anything. They are only good at spreading hatred, fear and racism. This will NOT get them elected. Nobody can be this stupid!

Posted by: Julescator | March 4, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

What that RNC presentation didn't say...

The truth.

Posted by: 1-20-09 | March 4, 2010 2:26 PM | Report abuse

I want Capehart to provide evidence of his outrage when Liberals portrayed Conddelezza Rice as Aunt Jemima. Please also provide evidence of your outrage when your fellow African American threw Oreo's at Michael Steele, called Collin Powel Bush's House Boy. Please provide evidence of your outrage when Howard Dean commented to a crowd that Republicans could not get this many black people in a room unless they invited the cleaning crew. Thanks!

Posted by: Cobra2 | March 4, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"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."

Yes, we are looking for ideas. By now I have concluded that we already have all of the ideas that the Republicans are capable of expressing. That is the saddest part of all.

Posted by: AMviennaVA | March 4, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Steele knew about this presentation until Politico got a copy of it!

Posted by: nomorewholefoods | March 4, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

I normally don't double post.

There is a huge world of difference between liberals (individual people) saying/doing nasty mean things (picture of Bush as Joker; if true-throwing Oreos at Steele; calling Rice Aunt Jemima & Powell House Boy). These were individual acts not - NOT - endorsed nor sanctioned by the DNC.

The powerpoint was done and disseminated by the RNC.

Posted by: rlj1 | March 4, 2010 3:03 PM | Report abuse

You're being way too dismissive of the joker image.

I find the Obama joker imagine deeply disturbing. I'm not sure exactly why, but I think it's because the gashes in the cheeks and the blackened eyes evoke something vaguely lynching-related to me, referencing (however deliberately) the history of physical brutality toward the black male body. The Heath Ledger images in the movie itself were disconcerting, but the race transposition really makes my skin crawl.

Posted by: uh_huhh | March 4, 2010 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Republicans should be called the "Party of Fear" instead of the "Party of No". If you remember, fear peddling was their main strategy when Bush was in office - didn't Ridge admit that the terror alerts were overblown for political purposes? Ari Fleischer warned journalists to be careful what they said. And Bush/Cheney had us all quaking in our boots about Saddam's non-existent weapons of mass destruction, or the imminent threat from North Korea or Iran. Be afraid! That was their message. Now the Republicans want us to be afraid of progress because it is "socialist" or "communist" (we should also throw "Hitler" into this mix, his name always seems to come up whenever wingnuts get together). Let's just hope this fear-mongering doesn't succeed.

Posted by: gposner | March 4, 2010 3:26 PM | Report abuse

My favorite part is page 10 of the powerpoint:

“In 2009 the RNC raised a total of $81,225,000 million”

Wow! That's enough to pay off the world's debt!

One nickname they'll never have is "The Party of Math"

Posted by: leftcoaster | March 4, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse


Once again Republicans are making no effort to reach out to independents and moderate Democrats with the IDEA that the GOP is interested in good government. They're not. They just want to win elections. Don't believe me? Look at their record.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | March 4, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

"I want Capehart to provide evidence of his outrage when Liberals portrayed Conddelezza Rice as Aunt Jemima. Please also provide evidence of your outrage when your fellow African American threw Oreo's at Michael Steele, called Collin Powel Bush's House Boy"
-----------------------------
You talk about liberals calling Ms. Rice Aunt Jemima. Which liberals? Was it printed in a DNC presentation? Or even throwing Oreo's at Michael Steel. Did that happen at an DNC event?

If not then you can't make the comparison. Look there have been plenty of events where the Obamas have been made fun of. There are too many times where people have compared the president to Hitler or curious George. Capeheart isn't even talking about those random events. He is talking about a RNC presentation that depicts the president as the Joker. That depicts the speaker of the house as Cruella Deville. Even if you don't agree with Capeheart, you have to admit that the RNC should be embarrassed. This is the only way the RNC can raise money, name-calling without giving a single point on how they are going to contribute to fixing this country.

Posted by: wmwilliams14 | March 4, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Are you kidding me? Comparing a caricature done by a for profit magazine with one done by officials of the Republican National Party is ridiculous.
One was done to illustrate an article in a magazine. The RNC doing it raises it to the level of "official" status.
Get a grip.

Posted by: capemh | March 4, 2010 4:00 PM | Report abuse

More slimey tactics from the Republicans. This is ethical?

"The Republican National Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee have mailed at least two fundraising appeals in recent months that prominently feature the word "Census" and "Official Document" on the document and envelope. The U.S. Postal Service ruled the mailings were legal because the documents did not explicitly use the words "U.S. Census Bureau" or the agency's official seal.

But Democrats, senior citizen and civil rights groups denounced the tactic, arguing it could confuse elderly Americans awaiting the arrival of the government's official decennial census survey. The Census Bureau will mail the forms later this month."

Posted by: Richard18 | March 4, 2010 4:03 PM | Report abuse

"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 Repubs don't want to spell out what they will offer as an alternative to the Democratic Party because they will scare off many of the independents, including some within the Tea Party movement, with their policies/ideas. All they want now is their $$. That's why it was a PowerPoint presentation about FUND RAISING!

Posted by: therapidone | March 4, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

Please provide evidence of your outrage when Howard Dean commented to a crowd that Republicans could not get this many black people in a room unless they invited the cleaning crew. Thanks!
++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Capehart, is this true? Talk about racism and something ugly to say. Why wasn't these comments made public? No what Barrack dissed Dean after the elections. Too bad he didn't have the ethos to publicly denounce him. Politics always gets in the way!

Posted by: bobilly2 | March 4, 2010 4:09 PM | Report abuse

The comparison of the RNC using an image of Obama as Joker to Vanity Fair showing Bush as the Joker is not an equal comparisson. The Obama as Joker image has been around quite a while. Why it raises a fuss now is that the RNC is using it. The DNC never used a Bush as Joker image in their literature.

Posted by: TomCantlon | March 4, 2010 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm an old white guy, but I can tell the difference between the Bush "Joker" as being artistically evil and the Obama "Joker" being more than just vaguely reminiscent of old time "vaudevillian black face." The Obama Joker was meant to have racist overtones. If I can see this, what do you think the entire African American population sees?

Posted by: jrussell1 | March 4, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I'm waiting for the simple folk to come on here and defend the GOP for viewing them as mindless simple folk to be manipulated with hate and fear.

Posted by: Andrea_KC | March 4, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Treating people with contempt is, well, contemptible. Our outrage should be kept is reserve for only truly appropriate occasions, but when unleashed, it should be apportioned in equal-opportunity fashion. People who don't like Obama being portrayed as the joker shouldn't call Sarah Palin "Caribou Barbie." Why is basic respect to hard to understand?

That said, the fact that this is an official Republican Party publication demonstrates the level to which that party is stooping. Goldwater and Bill Buckley are spinning in their graves.

And BTW, don't spend a cent on Rove's book. He should be paying US back.

Posted by: post_reader_in_wv | March 4, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Its funny..like all those cartoons on Bushie. Get over it. Actually Obama and Pukelosi have never looked better. Their pure evil shines for all to see....Change you can believe in....

Posted by: JUNGLEJIM123 | March 4, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Republicans are such cowards..

They invent illusions for people to fight.

Fei Hu

Posted by: Fei_Hu | March 4, 2010 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Did you just equate Vanity Fair to the Republican National Committee?

Ok great, next time the DNC does something dumb, I guess as long as we can find something equally offensive in the National Review it's all good right?

Not that I care, I don't find the Joker portrayal offensive, just childish, but if it was, it's silly to think that "Vanity Fair did it first" is a good defence.

Posted by: Scientician | March 5, 2010 12:34 AM | Report abuse

When you look at the answer that the RNC came up with when they asked what do you have to sell when you don't have the white house,, "FEAR"

This is classic fear mongering to people's darkest impluses,, Jesse Helms taught the Republican Party, post civil right, who to do this,, create an enemy and use it to scare people into irrational behavior,,

I grew up in the south in the 50s and 60s and have seen this all before

back then it was racism,, then it was communism that jesse used in addition to racisms,, the it was homosexuals,, and still racism and now its socialism,,,, BUT the ever present undercurrent of all this is Fear of the Black Man,, back them it was what he was going to do to your women and children, then it was that he was going to get your job,, and NOW he is taking over the country and turning it upside down and we have to take our country back,,,, "TEA PARTY"

Strip all the obfuscation away,, and It was Racism, Bigotry and Hypocrisy THEN and it is Racism and the rest of them NOW

Posted by: EastCoastnLA | March 5, 2010 1:58 AM | Report abuse

I remember the day when as a youngster my family was one of the few in my hometown who were Republicans. But we were proud Republicans, and so I remained for decades. Whenever I now see what those who profess to be “Republicans” are doing -- comics -- I ask myself if this is what they have come to? Is our beloved country not deserving of something better than comics? Is my former beloved party being taken over by idiots??? I can only say that I am happy that my parents and grandparents lived at a time when it was honorable to be a Republican and not now when their party looks like a bunch of fools!

Posted by: Formerrepublican | March 5, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I remember the day when as a youngster my family was one of the few in my hometown who were Republicans. But we were proud Republicans, and so I remained for decades. Whenever I now see what those who profess to be “Republicans” are doing -- comics -- I ask myself if this is what they have come to? Is our beloved country not deserving of something better than comics? Is my former beloved party being taken over by idiots??? I can only say that I am happy that my parents and grandparents lived at a time when it was honorable to be a Republican and not now when their party looks like a bunch of fools!

Posted by: Formerrepublican | March 5, 2010 8:49 AM | Report abuse

I remember the day when as a youngster my family was one of the few in my hometown who were Republicans. But we were proud Republicans, and so I remained for decades. Whenever I now see what those who profess to be “Republicans” are doing -- comics -- I ask myself if this is what they have come to? Is our beloved country not deserving of something better than comics? Is my former beloved party being taken over by idiots??? I can only say that I am happy that my parents and grandparents lived at a time when it was honorable to be a Republican and not now when their party looks like a bunch of fools!

Posted by: Formerrepublican | March 5, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Vanity Fair and the Republican National Committee are as different as night and day. The Republican Committee play play book explains last August Town Meetings. They were all on the say page. I, of course, knew this all along -- this 72 page of instructions Just Confirms it. Interestingly, I've been watching MSNBC all morning, it is now 9:45 - that 72 page playbook hasn't been mentioned. I wonder why.

Posted by: phyllisr5 | March 5, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

Now when I receive these fund raising letters from the RNC, I just throw them in the trash, then donate to the Democrats, Independents or Tea Party candidates.

Regular Republicans like me have become digusted with the leadership of Michael Steele, and the Palin and Glenbeckistan [Robert Byrd] branches of the party.

Ronald Reagan would not recognize this new GOP.

Posted by: Gone_Rogue | March 5, 2010 1:40 PM | Report abuse

The RNC powerpoint presentation that takes pride in manipulating its small donors through fear of socialism, fear of change, and just plain fear is no different from what Tom Frank chronicled in What's the Matter With Kansas: the rank-and-file Republican with family values were just pawns for the leadership that posed as their advocates but really only wanted their votes, their grass-roots support and their money. They got little or nothing in exchange. Same party, same tactic (though I must wonder if the Democratic leadership also doesn't play a similar cynical game)

Posted by: gratianus | March 5, 2010 2:23 PM | Report abuse

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