POLITICS: Campaigns

To the RNC: I have a fundraising idea for you

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Campaign Finance,2014 Elections,2016 Elections,Campaigns,George W. Bush,Richard Nixon,RNC,OSHA,Becket Adams

Dear Republican National Committee,

You unveiled recently a fundraising gimmick involving $18 mugs that read “I miss George W.,” referring of course to our 43rd president.

On your fundraising page, you said the following: “In the White House, President George W. Bush took on tremendous challenges with great courage and character. He put the nation’s best interests over his own.”

“This is what is missing in the White House right now — and that’s why we miss W. so much,” the page added. “In honor of President George W. Bush’s leadership we’re offering a blue, special-edition 'I Miss W.' coffee mug."

As I noted earlier, this schtick is a bit confusing given that Bush left the White House in 2009 an extremely unpopular man.

True, Bush's approval rating has recovered slightly from his all-time low of 25 percent in 2008, but is that because voters love him or is it simply because they dislike President Obama? That is, when compared to Obama's inept and feckless leadership, perhaps criticism of Bush has merely softened.

This doesn't necessarily mean voters have suddenly come around to loving the former Texas governor. It certainly doesn't mean that they love him enough to plop down $18 for a mug.

This is where we get into a real issue with your all's Bush nostalgia routine. See, contrary to the popular narrative that the Tea Party is the right's “racist” response to the Obama administration, the limited-government movement is in a very big way also a direct response to the big-government, big-spending policies of the Bush era.

The Bush administration spent too much and it embraced the doctrine of bigger and more intrusive government.

So who, dear RNC, are you trying to attract with this Bush gimmick? Sure, there are voters who will crawl over broken glass to vote Republican this November. These voters will probably buy your Bush mugs. But shouldn't you also try to appeal to a wider base, including the many, many people who are not too keen on Bush?

Conservative voters, by and large, would like to see lower taxes and a smaller, more efficient government. And although there are many nice things that can be said about Bush as a person, one would be hard-pressed to say his administration promoted these things.

In short, pitching Bush-nostalgia ahead of the 2016 election seems a bit ... silly.

But while you're in the mood to look backwards when you should be looking forward, why not raise funds off another big-government Republican president?

How about Richard Nixon, the president who brought us the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Air Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration police force?

Because a fundraising pitch for the man who oversaw probably “more new regulation” under his watch “than in any other presidency since the New Deal” would go over so well with the Tea Party folks you all are going to need to win in November.

Just go all in and pitch voters with Richard Nixon gear. Here's something I made to help get the ball rolling. I hope you like it:

(Image courtesy Zazzle)

Surely this onesie and this mug will help you broaden your reach, RNC. Onward to victory and all that.

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