There’s a great piece in the New York Times laying out the many woes facing NRCC chair Tom Cole, including this particular gem illustrating the lack of enthusiasm amongst the Republican base:
Many conservative activists have become so dissatisfied with the party’s heresies, particularly on immigration and government spending, that as Cole’s staff took over, the committee’s fund-raising pleas were being ignored and, on at least one occasion, returned in an envelope stuffed with feces.
Because, of course, stuffing an envelope with shit is one of those “conservative values” we hear so much about. It is a fascinating (if lengthy) read, and I’ll probably come back to it in a later post, but I just wanted to highlight the following tidbit regarding a meeting Cole held with an unnamed Congressional challenger:
Cole began to talk through Republican figures who might be brought in to help raise cash. If McCain were the nominee, Cole and the candidate agreed, donors would turn out for a fund-raiser he headlined. Cole mentioned Bush, but everyone thought that would be a mistake. “I think this cycle he and the vice president are going to be doing a lot of fund-raisers in the South and the Plains,” he said, and everyone guffawed in agreement. Even for an audience of Republican donors, in politically contested parts of the country, the president provokes complicated feelings. On another occasion Cole said to me, “I love the president, but his appeal isn’t universal.”
Huh. It would be “a mistake” to bring the President of the United States in to raise money for a Republican candidate. I wonder where they got that idea?
Back in August, when a coalition of national and local bloggers set an ambitious $100,000 fundraising target to help Darcy Burner counter President Bush’s funder on behalf of Dave Reichert, I was very clear about our objective:
Sure it’s a lot of money, but money seems to be the only political currency Republicans understand. Reaching our target will not only send a strong message that we want our troops out of Iraq, it will also teach other Republicans that bringing in Bush isn’t worth the financial and political cost, thus neutralizing the GOP’s most effective fundraiser.
In fact, we raised $123,000 from over 3,400 donors… and President Bush virtually disappeared from the Congressional fundraising scene. Mission accomplished.
I know there are some in the netroots who worry about turning their blogs into online ATMs, but I’m not one of them. The money we raise, and our growing ability to focus national resources into local races, is absolutely crucial to extending our influence and challenging the longstanding political hegemony of corporate America. We may never be able to get money out of politics, but at least we’re beginning to even the playing field. And the powers that be are beginning to take notice.
Speaking of which, it’s the end of the quarter, so please show Darcy some love.