I don't know if my good standing as a GOP Team Leader will withstand the tabulation of my answers to the Republican Party Census Document, or the bald fact that there is no check enclosed. If they had the vaguest notion of my political leaning they'd boot me off their electronic and print mailing lists, I'm sure. But as a potential donor, I am very much a person of interest to them as they ramp up for the 2006 election campaign. And as one of their youthful (ha!) and wired members, I am in the vanguard: my "new GOP CENSUS is among the very first to be mailed. President Bush is counting on all of us."
My RNC Membership Card and the Census Document arrived on the same day in separate envelopes (delivered for non-profit postage, by the way, thanks to the special privilege the parties provided themselves).
Fundraising lore says the cover letter should be 4 pages long, and the (2 page) questionnaire had one of those. The "Your Membership Card Enclosed" mailing was more direct, however, with a simple 2-page pitch that was all about "just win, baby" and us vs. them language. On "Friday morning," Ken Mehlman warns that "the Democrats will do everything they can to stop us."
What is it the Republicans are for, though? "The positive vision President Bush has for a safer, stronger, more prosperous America." The "Bush Agenda" is the codeword for all things Good and Right most of the time, but what is that, exactly? "From making the Bush tax cuts permanent to reforming the tax code to make it simpler, fairer and more pro-growth, from fixing our nation's immigration laws to securing the homeland," your support is blah blah blah. That's all there is, in a thousand words.
Can that really be enough to motivate a contribution?
This provides more specific agenda information, in a convenient push-poll format. Let's just say if you were test-guessing, you could probably figure out the correct answer for all of these, and "Undecided" is not it.
Do I support President Bush's initiative to promote the safety and security of all Americans?
How can I say "No" to safety and security? They don't break it down to specifics, and inquire about whether I'm happy to forgo the right to be secure in my person, house, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures without a Warrant being issued based on probable cause. Is indefinite suspension of habeus corpus ok? "Rendition" to some other country for whatever unusual punishments they might provide? Torture, if the Vice-President deems it necessary?
Such a rich history behind Door Number One, and my only opportunity is "Yes," "No," or "Undecided."
"Do you support the use of air strikes against any country that offers safe harbor or aid to individuals or organizations committed to further attacks on Americans?"
This is getting right to the point. Should the President be empowered to wage pre-emptive war? Preventative war? Punitive war? Remember, there are individuals or organizations committed to further attacks on Americans out there. The time-bombs are ticking. Yes, No, Undecided?
"Do you continue to support increasing the amount of security at airports, train stations and all governmental buildings including monuments and museums?"
Security is number one on the agenda, obviously, Mr. Bush's strong suit (given that he's Commander-in-chief and all), and why he is still living in the White House.
Economic issues are number two.
Should the Inheritance or "Death Tax" be permanently repealed? Do you support President Bush's pro-growth policies to create more jobs and improve the economy? Do you think Congress should focus on cutting the federal budget deficit by reducing wasteful government spending?
We're asked to suspend disbelief here, and accept that the stated purposes and goals are more important than actual results. Do you continue to support an economic program that sounds good, while it's focused on enriching the powerful at the expense of our nation's welfare for generations to come?
Education keywords: "more accountable," "restore local control," "higher standards," "teaching our children to read."
Indeed, I believe we all should be held to higher standards. The President and Vice-President should be held to the highest standard of fulfilling their oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, for example.
Social issues: "allow private religious and charitable organizations to do more," "ban partial-birth abortion," "save Social Security," "Federal Marriage Amendment."
Defense Issues are brought up again, and I'm a little surprised this is all the way at the bottom of the page. "Do you think U.S. troops should have to serve under United Nations' commanders?" There is nothing stronger than "No," no possibility of partial qualification other than the full and traitorous "Yes."
"Do you agree that our top military priority should be fighting terrorists?" ("Yes, so GET OUT OF IRAQ" is not one of the answers offered.) Widowed at the top of the next page, "Should the U.S. continue to work on building a defense shield against nuclear missile attack?"
It all seems so simple and obvious when they ask these questions, doesn't it? Who could oppose a shield against attack?
"Do you support the election of Republican candidates across the country and rebuilding our majorities over the next ten years?"
When I read this out loud to Jeanette, we responded in incredulous chorus: rebuilding our majorities?!
Nobody signs up for continuing support of the status quo, after all. The cover letter details the alarum: "Our margins are razor-thin. Liberal Democrats in the U.S. Senate can still kill almost any legislation that President Bush proposes and they can stop his appointment of judicial nominees. So real reform depends on maintaining and expanding our Republican majorities in the House and Senate, not just now, but over the next 10 years."
"The last three national elections have been extremely close. In 2002, we came within a few thousand votes of losing the House and Senate to the Democrats and liberal special interests." (As opposed to maintaining the control of the conservative special interests through our remarkably effective K Street Project.)
In 2004, Bush "won re-election by just 3%." "In fact, if 60,000 votes had gone the other way in 2004 . . . John Kerry would be President today.
"That's why your REPUBLICAN CENSUS DOCUMENT is so important."
"The Democrats are pulling out all the stops to win big in 2006. While claiming to represent the 'values and priorites of the American people', liberal Democrats have compared President Bush to Adolf Hitler and Saddam Hussein . . . denounced Republicans as 'evil' . . . and obstructed positive reform at every turn."
Just in case you haven't been sufficiently motivated by the Democrats "favoring partisan politics and obstructionist tactics over honest debate and genuine ideas," there are the damnable liberal special interest groups including the Trial Lawyers to motivate a contribution of $500, $250, $100, $50 or even $25.
"Liberal special interests and some unions will continue to hire hundreds of 'professional activists' and put them in place in targeted congressional districts around the country. Working together with the radical environmentalists and ultra liberal groups, these organizers will set their sights on taking back Congress this year."
(Note that liberal is the canonical bogeyman. No "left-wing," or "radical" (other than of course the radical environmentalists) or the yesteryear "Communist" menace. Now it's just liberals. What's worse than a liberal? An ultra liberal.)
After selecting whether to join the RNC for $500, $250, $100 (which will pay "to mail 250 more CENSUS DOCUMENTS to registered Republicans"), $50, $25 or Other $, OR $11 "to cover the cost of tabulating my survey," there is one more SPECIAL QUESTION FOR RNC MEMBERS ONLY.
"From what source do you receive most of your news and political information?" The 12 categories no doubt reflect how they apportion their ad spend:
Watch your mailbox: "Based on your answers, the RNC will mail an additional 5.5 million GOP CENSUS DOCUMENTS to your fellow Republicans in the next 4-6 weeks to unify and build our Party for the 2006 mid-term elections and beyond."
Tom von Alten tva_∂t_fortboise_⋅_org