September 29, 2010

What is Steele logic?

Michael Steele seems to be suffering from a logic deficit.  Calling off a get out the vote effort (GOTV) in the run-up to a critical election for the GOP seems so self-defeating as to raise a number of serious questions.  First and foremost, why? 

The Republican National Committee has decided against sending Congressional staffers out on the campaign trail for traditional get-out-the-vote efforts, focusing its resources instead on mailings and other last-minute pre-election efforts, the committee confirmed Tuesday.
The RNC traditionally runs the GOTV operation for Capitol Hill, which includes recruiting and registering staff that want to help the GOP at the state level.
But this year the committee canceled the deployment program to cut costs ahead of the midterm elections.
Doug Heye, a spokesman for the RNC, said the money would instead be used to fund other parts of its “72-hour program,” such as paid mail.
“What the change means is that we are channeling our resources so that we will be as effective as possible,” Heye said. “With early and absentee voting becoming more prevalent — both in voters who use it and states that allow it — it was decided last year that a last-minute deployment was not cost-effective.”
Heye said the RNC made the decision after a review of deployments during the 2009 elections in New Jersey and Virginia. After the review, the committee determined that the program was not cost-effective.
On the one hand you have to think Chairman Steele is a genius for being cost effective and on the other you have to wonder whether he's thinking of coasting to the finish line or even sandbagging the GOP efforts. I doubt it's the latter. Claiming a big victory while reducing operating costs would be a big feather in the cap for Steele. But in an election where the Tea Party and Independents seem to be going all in, this sends a bad message. The message comes across as "we don't care about this as much as you do." Or worse, "we know you hate the Democrats so we're just going to ride that to victory instead of working for it." I'm not suggesting that's the case, I'm saying that's going to be the perception, for a lot of people. If it makes a difference in a couple of seats this fall then it's a big deal. You play to win every time, and in politics, running up the score against your opponent is not a bad thing.

A second point that the CQ Politics article points out - coasting to the finish line on fumes is a great feather in your cap, only if you weren't responsible for the gas tank being low in the first place;
The cancellation of the deployment program comes as RNC Chairman Michael Steele has received criticism for low fundraising numbers and a cross-country bus tour that many campaign operatives have deemed unnecessary and ineffective.

“We have the best electoral climate since ’94, and the RNC has no money for get out the vote? I hope Chairman Steele at least saved a few bucks to redecorate his office again,” one House GOP aide quipped.
Luckily, the RNC has some competition for supporting conservative candidates, American Crossroads is an excellent example of conservatives working outside their own RNC system, proving once again that the free market works better than central planning.

1 comment:

  1. This news makes the door-to-door and phone banking efforts being coordinated by Americans for Prosperity even more important. Check out and get involved!


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