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Financing fiasco a clear sign that GOP is getting desperate

December 09, 2007|By JONATHAN BURRS

Desperation, hopelessness, a state in which all hope is lost or absent, accurately reflects the so-called leadership at nearly every, if not all, levels of the GOP. Just when I was beginning to believe the Republican National Committee was on the verge of pursuing viable methods and strategies for generating member interest, GOP leaders reaffirm their commitment to attaining another "good ole fashioned" beatdown in the 2008 elections.

While Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are on pace for record-setting campaign fundraising and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has raised $56.6 million and has $29.2 million at its disposal, the National Republican Congressional Committee has only raised $40.7 million, with a cash balance of $2.5 million, forcing the GOP to take last-ditch efforts to raise money for party candidates - clear indicators of a party in desperation.

The most humorous political gimmick comes from first lady Laura Bush peddling the official 2008 RNC calendar featuring none other than (drum roll please) our commander-in-chief President Bush and undoubtedly his fearless associate, with five years of student deferments avoiding the Vietnam War, Vice President Dick Cheney.

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To think any person would want a calendar that featured President Bush is one thing, but to suggest a "gift" of at least $25 nearly brought me to tears laughing. It almost seems as if the Einsteins who came up with this fundraising gimmick are unaware of the president's horrendous approval rating. Considering Bush's overall approval rating and subsequent job performance over the past seven years, they'd be lucky if they were able to give those calendars away.

Well, I hope the GOP checks this political gimmick up as a big fat "L" and braces for all the losses that are to follow. In fact, the GOP is so desperate right now that it has begun to use a strategy of enlisting wealthy candidates willing to use their own money to run for office, a past strategy that has proven to be ineffective. In 2006, for example, only two of the 10 candidates who spent mostly their own money on their own races for House seats won the elections, according to an analysis of finance records and election results.

Self-financed, deep-pocketed congressional candidates are nothing new for either party. However, the Democrats do not have a concerted campaign to find such candidates, while the Republicans describe the recruitment of these candidates as central to their plan for the 2008 elections.

The Republican recruiting process typically starts with party strategists identifying wealthy contributors, businessmen or individuals who have helped finance their own races in the past. Party officials then try to provide extra help developing strategies and finding consultants and staff.

GOP leadership is clear: Just forget about little things like having a message that resonates with voters or that stimulates genuine interest in the election as long as these people have lots of their own money and are willing to spend it - those are the people Republican leaders are recruiting to represent the party.

"National Republicans are in disarray, forcing them to recruit inexperienced and unprepared self-funders," said Doug Thornell, a spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

And while the Democrats take full advantage of exposing this obvious weakness, Republicans seem in denial and oblivious to the fact that Americans want real leaders who are going to represent the interest of the common person.

I could be wrong, but when I last checked, most extremely wealthy people were unable to identify with the plight of the common person, making it virtually impossible for them to represent the common people's interest!

So there you have it. If it doesn't make good political sense, then that's exactly what GOP leaders plan on doing. And while they are at it, why not throw the election straight down the toilet?

After all who needs to win? Second place doesn't seem that bad, right? Apparently the shellacking from last election wasn't good enough to teach them a lesson - or maybe it's just some sick need for political masochism.

Whatever it is, the one thing the GOP will definitely accomplish is losing.

Jonathan R. Burrs is a Hagerstown resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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