Political Hay

Listed For Life

Clueless direct mailers at the Republican National Committee don't know the meaning of rejection.

By 5.2.06

Send to Kindle

At least when Santa makes a list, he checks it twice. Or at least that's what the song tells us. The Republicans apparently don't check their lists -- mailing lists that is -- at all.

I recently received yet another of those "I don't want to believe you've abandoned the Republican Party, but I have to ask...Have you given up?" letters from the Republican National Committee. You know, the one that says "our records show we have no yet received your [fill in the year] Republican National Committee membership contribution.

I dare say the RNC records indeed show this in my case. I haven't sent the RNC a membership contribution (or any other kind, come to that) since the Old Cowpoke -- God bless his soul -- was dozing in the White House. But I receive this letter, and countless others, every year. This constant stream of unrewarded correspondence leads me to believe the RNC will drill dry holes longer than W did back in his Texas oil business days (or, no oil business in W's case).

When I receive these letters I write, "Yes, I gave up on a directionless, unprincipled, testosterone-free Republican Party years ago -- Please take my name off your mailing list" across the top of the letter and return it to the RNC in the thoughtfully-provided postage-paid envelope.

But this apparently isn't clarity enough for the guys and gals at the RNC. They keep sending me the letters and keep paying to get my "buzz off" messages back. Who says nothing in life remains the same? If the RNC totaled what they've spent redeeming postage paid envelopes from me over the years, it would add up to a pretty hefty contribution.

But wait, there was one significant change I noticed in this most recent letter. For the first time the word "conservative" doesn't appear anywhere in the letter. Could this possibly be just an accident?

The letter warns that the Democrats would "roll back all the gains we have made -- and obstruct the remainder of President's Bush's bold second term agenda" without elaborating on either the gains or the bold agenda items. Perhaps well-informed TAS readers already know what these are -- perhaps not.

There's mention of "our message of lower taxes, fiscal responsibility (I'll wait here till you stop laughing -- or crying, if you prefer), and common sense reforms." (I don't know what this means either. Maybe they mean those reforms that make the First Amendment inoperative around election time -- or perhaps pork-laden earmarks without end -- or perhaps the one about trying to run a country without borders. Quien sabe?) But all the RNC descriptions of the GOP wonders in peril if the Democrats win next time apparently no longer require the C-word.

This brings me a small amount of cheer. RNC letters are no more informative or uplifting than they've ever been -- and there seems to be no way to get off their mailing list -- but perhaps the teensiest bit of truth in advertising is creeping in. Or -- more likely -- it's just been so long since the word "conservative" (especially in its short form -- unattached to the modifier "compassionate") has been important to Republicans that no one at the RNC evens knows how to spell it anymore. Better to see them abandon a fine word with designative meaning than to continue abusing it.

So here's a message and a question for RNC Membership Director Susan Gazdo -- my most recent correspondent: Thanks, Susan, for not lying about the Republican Party being a vehicle for conservatism in America. That's at least refreshing, and long overdue. But what would make you think this letter would lead to a contribution from me when the last several hundred the RNC (and countless other Republican committees) have sent me haven't? And, ideology aside, what on earth makes the Republicans think they can run the country when they can't even run a mailing list?

Like this Article

Print this Article

Print Article
About the Author

Larry Thornberry is a writer in Tampa.