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March 6, 2010

Internal memos cause external scandal

by Colin Wiencek, Online Photo and Video Editor
American politics have always been plagued by scandal. Last year, media coverage focused mainly on Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich's attempt to sell President Obama's senate seat. But a major recent scandal has gone unnoticed by the mainstream media.

Crude cartoons are given as examples of anti-Democrat propaganda that fundraisers are encouraged to use to drum up support. Courtesy of Politico
Crude cartoons are given as examples of anti-Democrat propaganda that fundraisers are encouraged to use to drum up support.
In July 2009 the Republic National Committee (RNC) released an internal memo urging Republican congressmen to slow health care reform to a grinding halt by using any and every tool available to them. According to the Huffington Post, the memo suggested the use of tactics of questionable ethics, including booking surrogates on radio and TV and engaging in dramatic protests outside Democratic events. The Huffington Post also notes that ironically, the memo's authors encourage readers to portray the president as the one acting out of political motivations.

But that memo was just the tip of the iceberg. This week, a new memo became public that did not merely suggest, but urged RNC fundraisers to use fear tactics to pressure, in the RNC's words, "low dollar donors" into contributing.

According to a slideshow presentation recently obtained by Politico, RNC fundraisers were supposed to use "visceral" techniques including "fear and extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration." The slideshow proceeds to ask, "What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House or the Senate?" The answer: "Save the country from tending towards Socialism."

Then, under the heading of "The Evil Empire," the official document shows crude caricatures of major White House and Congressional leaders - Obama is shown as the Joker from Batman, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are depicted as Cruella DeVille and Scooby Doo, respectively.

In Washington, questionable ethics are not unusual but the sources of fear-mongering are usually politicians or extremist groups. When the national representatives for the entire Republican party exploit fear in order to leverage funding, the tactics become obscene. For an organization that claims to protect the homeland from terrorism, the RNC seems close to advocating terror itself.

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  • Turmanator (View Email) on March 6, 2010 at 10:55 PM
    What a interesting and fantastic article. While it's disheartening that the Republicans would stoop to that level, it's not exactly surprising. Thank you Colin for helping to expose this.
  • Yahh Trick on March 7, 2010 at 3:11 PM
    Is this for real? This is disgusting.
  • Republican, FTW on March 8, 2010 at 1:53 AM
    Oh no, we're going to hold rallies and make caricatures. WE MUST BE EVIL.

    Seriously guys? Who hasn't seen Bush drawn with giant ears, and anti-war mobs?

    Obama as the Joker? Oh no, I'm so offended! Those terrible Republicans! They're so unsensitive and cruel! Really? Really?
    • Colin Wiencek on March 8, 2010 at 7:31 AM
      I think the issue here is that the national Republican party is not only okaying these actions, but urging their staff to use them. I think you would be hard pressed to find an example of the DNC approving the use of such tactics. Remember we are talking national party organizations, not local or state level politics.
  • Locke on March 9, 2010 at 7:32 AM
    republicans are disgusting. purposely doing everything they can to stop something that will help america? I've always said to be a republican you either have to be heartless, greedy, or ignorant and these republicans from the RNC are proving that to be true.
    • Blue on April 23, 2010 at 12:45 PM
      dont be so nieve
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