Well, sign me up

Politico has an unflattering article about the Young Eagles program, which was designed to attract young donors to the GOP and which has come under fire lately following revelations that the GOP was billed for a trip to a bondage-themed lesbian club by several members. The whole thing has redounded to Michael Steele's discredit, though for once I think the guy's getting a raw deal.

For what it's worth, I couldn't possibly care less if a bunch of young(-ish) Republican types felt like getting their jollies by going to some kinky venue in LA. Heck, maybe it'll help the GOP care less about how I get mine, in the long run, and the world will be a happier, more tolerant place. On the other hand, I've never given one thin dime to the RNC, so it's not my money they were spending on whatever it is one spends money on at such clubs.

The article focuses primarily on whether or not the program is a good investment for the GOP (and it looks like "no"), but that's not what really struck me. What caught my attention is that the program seems kind of... lame:
“We do events that a specific demographic will like, so it will love us and give us money and vote for us,” said David Norcross, a former RNC general counsel and current committeeman who was briefed by Steele on the RNC’s plan to revamp its reimbursement and expense-approval process for all programs in the wake of the controversy.

“And, when you’re dealing with young people, it’s probably a good idea to go off the beaten track a little bit and do things you think they might like.” Norcross said. “Just because a couple of mistakes have been made, doesn’t mean you don’t want to continue being progressively forward looking. Why should we of all parties do old stodgy stuff?”

One could mention that the nickname for the Republicans is the Grand Old Party, which doesn't necessarily bring to mind a hip, happenin' crowd, but that's not really the point. Is this how the GOP hopes to get people to support it? This "specific demographic" won't love the party, donate to it or support it if it doesn't have fun?

I understand the need to cultivate a new generation of donors, but I also think it's telling that apparently the donors in question need to be cajoled into supporting the party. I mean, the quote makes it seem like these guys can't be counted on to even vote for the GOP unless the parties are numerous and varied. And then there's this:
The Young Eagles are “a fun group,” the former member said. “If you’ve got a little insecurity complex, but you’ve got money — what a cool group to hang out with.”

Oh... dear. That sounds a bit more personally revealing than was probably intended at the time. I imagine that most of us have our moments of insecurity, and it would be genuinely hypocritical and mean of me to mock these people for simply being vulnerable human beings like everyone else. But neither is it a rousing endorsement of a donor cultivation program if a former member all but concedes that its members joined because they wanted to feel cool. This makes me sad, and brings back unwelcome memories of 7th grade.

Again, I don't have a dog in this hunt. I don't really care how the Republicans spend their money, and frankly I'd just as soon have them blow it in West Hollywood than on helping lunatics in their pursuit of higher office. But this whole thing is a PR disaster, and not just because it's a waste of money.

1 comment:

  1. "If you don't have an oil well, get one" and other pearls of wisdom from a Young Eagle can be found here: