How conservatives are influenced by fundraisers who don't care about winning elections
Are Tea-Baggers suckers if GOP fundraisers and pundits know their candidates and issues can’t win? Are GOP fundraising organizations and pundits doing the “Texas Two-Step” with their base? That is, are they getting people angry and scared on issues that can’t possibly be changed just to collect more money?
Republicans can’t win and they know they can’t win. Their best hope is to stir up local trouble and to inhibit national progress. The tactics range from filibusters to accepting sequestration. Add in more than forty attempts to repeal “Obamacare” and stonewalling judicial appointments.
“Since 2007, the Senate Historical Office has shown, Democrats have had to end Republican filibusters more than 360 times, a historic record.” So what is the use of all of the inactivity, rhetoric and a recalcitrant leadership pushing policies and positions that are clearly widely unpopular?
I remember this line from President Clinton’s impeachment defense: When someone says this isn’t about money it is usually about money and when someone says, this isn’t about sex it is usually really about sex.
Stirring up the right wing base and making false claims about Obama will not win many elections. The strategy certainly isn’t working at the national level. Birthers can call him a Kenyan socialist all they want, only a small portion of the American populace believe in this falsehood.
The GOP strategy couldn’t possibly be about money could it? My first career was in non-profit fundraising. Emotional pitches make people give more money to causes they already believe in.
Stanford’s Deborah A. Small, George Loewenstein, and Paul Slovic described it another way; “feelings, not analytical thinking, drive donations.” The more horrific and offensive to the audience, the bigger the donations. Conservative writer Peter Wilson admits that the GOP is doing it, but they suck at it. In “Lame GOP Fundraising Efforts” it is his claim that democrats excel at the very thing I say republicans are doing.
Here’s what’s worse, the party leaders enjoy a literal “halo effect, ” a term that psychologists sometimes apply to brand marketing techniques. In this case, Ronald Reagan is their saint. If you stand in front of a crowd of Tea-Baggers and say “Ronald Reagan” the money pours in.
The false dichotomy they set up is constant. The GOP stands for Ronald Reagan, guns, God and all who oppose what they say are going to hell. It is almost… why should I say almost? It is the same thing as a preacher telling you to tithe to avoid going to hell. Does it matter? Supposing all of that is OK and we let the GOP go the way of the do-do bird. At the same time, they’ll ignore us and let us burn eternally.
I’m sorry, we aren’t that lucky. When twenty-six states, a state governor and a board of education all find agreement, but a GOP led committee disagrees, we get statements like the following: “Gov. Beshear fully supports the science standards adopted by the Kentucky Board of Education and is disappointed that the … subcommittee did not approve them today”
What’s so awful about the proposed standards? Maybe the GOP took issue with “The Next Generation Science Standards” saying “From an aspirational standpoint, the framework points out that science and engineering are needed to address major world challenges such as generating sufficient clean energy, preventing and treating diseases, maintaining supplies of food and clean water, and solving the problems of global environmental change that confront society today. ” Oil and Coal lobbies hate stuff like that.
Speaking at a private fundraiser in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire a couple weeks ago, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney cautioned Congressional Republicans against forcing a government shutdown in order to stall the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Turning to the 2016 presidential race, Romney also warned Republican voters against casting an “emotional vote, a protest vote, an anger vote” in the GOP primaries.
This Romney quote was reported on a website that, under a banner reading “Inside the White House” boasted two potentially far more interesting stories, “Obama Scandal Brings Shame Unseen Since Clinton Era” and “Obama Administration May Have A Fourth Big Scandal” but they both link to advertisements for financial services.
I’m suggesting that individuals who work in GOP fundraising and lobbying aren’t trying to accomplish anything political. They aren’t trying to pass laws or elect officials. They’re simply collecting fees. Perhaps GOP donors know their issues and candidates enjoy no popular national appeal. Maybe donating to them is just a “feel good” purchase. We’ll call it “political retail therapy.”