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The RNC Reaches Out to Bloggers

Kevin Aylward and I were on a conference call yesterday with Mike Duncan, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee. The RNC initiated a series of calls with bloggers to discuss the Iowa caucus results and other issues. Since I think the Iowa caucus is mostly irrelevant, I asked about other issues.

A tape operator error (oops) killed the recording, which I was hoping to Podcast. But here are the questions and answers as I took notes.

Why is the Republican Presidential campaign fund raising so low compared to the war chests of the Democrats?

Mike blamed it on the 2006 election dispiriting donors. The national party has raised $83m to the Democrats $51m, and has more cash on hand. Once a nominee is selected he expects the money to flow.

Will we have a brokered Republican convention?

Mike said that he expects a presumptive nominee by mid-late February. If not, he is preparing. Everyone knows the ground rules at the convention. He has 20 people now in St Paul preparing. There are platform committees, rules committees, credentials committee, and a contest committee to adjudicate disputes.

He was afraid that Hillary Clinton would get the nomination sewed up before we picked a candidate. In 1996, Bill Clinton spent money before Bob Dole got the nomination, putting the Republicans at a disadvantage. He was delighted that the Democrats have a contest on their hands.

Can we develop a more rational nomination process than what we have now. We seem to be looking on 10% of the electorate in an unrepresentative state to pick a candidate, with 10,000 media talking heads looking on and pontificating. How about regional primaries in small states several weeks apart, rotating across the country each election cycle?

Mike has been involved in campaigns from the 1970's. The origins of the Republican Party were in 1856, when we took our rules from the Whigs. We had national committee men, then women. We resisted quotas on the numbers of delegates from identity groups like the Democratics have. The process has shifted from party boss decision making to primary and caucus. He talked about the potential for a National primary, but that would not be constitutional nor politically practical. Parties set rules, not the federal government. And each state makes their own rules for sending delegates. It is a bottom up process with different ways to get there. The Democrats use a more top down process. They can change rules during a campaign, we are set for 4 years.

Strategically, Democrats want to move things up when they are out of office. This has the potential to make the President a lame duck.

There are proposals in Congress to mandate a new process, but the Supreme court has said that parties make their own rules. The constitution mandates freedom of association, and federal fixes are unconstitutional. He is open to talking about 2012 rules after the 2008 election, in a January meeting, and an April rules committee recommendation. No one understands the effect of the changes recently made.

How would the convention handle the five states whose delegates were cut by 50% for moving their primaries up?

Mike said that some states would send full delegation. This would have to be adjudicated through the contest committee. There is a process to deal with it. The presumptive nominee may want to seat them, and we may accept them, or we may not. For example, Florida has had their delegation reduced by half. Giuliani may win that primary and may want to fight to seat the other half. But that is a hypothetical. In 1952 there was a dispute about delegates that was settled in the credentials committee.

Now that Iraq has faded from the media with the success of the surge, how would that effect the election?

Mike said it would be to our advantage. There are more self described Republicans now than ever before, and the Democratic congressional approval ratings are lower than they have ever been. He was optimistic about the Republican chances in November.


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Comments (7)

Might want to check your he... (Below threshold)
Anon Y. Mous:

Might want to check your headline. For a minute, I thought this was a post about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Too bad, I wanted to see how they were reaching out to bloggers. :)

NRC is the new name for the... (Below threshold)

NRC is the new name for the National Republican Committee. Not. Sorry for the mitsype. Senior Sydxelia.

Charlie and MousAl... (Below threshold)
epador:

Charlie and Mous

All I could think was "Skin-a-ma-RNC-a-DNC-e-do-Skin-a-ma-RNC-a-D"

Let me suggest that the rea... (Below threshold)
Billll Author Profile Page:

Let me suggest that the reason the right has had so little luck raising money is that they have yet to produce a popular conservative candidate.

We peasants have standards, you know. We don't put out (much) for RINOs.

Coulda been a worse typo in... (Below threshold)

Coulda been a worse typo in the head.

At first glance, I thought it said "The RNC Reaches Out To Boogers."

J.

Is the RNC that lost they c... (Below threshold)

Is the RNC that lost they can't see what is wrong with the party (lack of fundraising)? Let me count the ways.

How can I sum it up? Maybe-Abramoff/Foley/Illegal Immigration/DeLay/Growing Fed budgets?

Get rid of the neocon influence and get back to the base that put you guys on top in 1994. Hastert and Lott are gone, which is great news. Others like Martinez and Specter need to go too.

You want to get the majority back? slash the government back, dump the IRS and income taxes, implement a national sales tax, pay off a good portion of the natl. debt, stop allowing illegal aliens to tromp all over our soil, kill the last terrorist and while you are at it, thank those who put you in office instead of having parties with family members who are lobbyists. You could have done all of this when you had the power but instead joined hands with another Rep that needs to go-Ted Stevens of Alaska and his kind. More or less both Dems and Reps became the same party.

The Reps. lost in 2006 because of their own undoing. I am a registered Rep and have voted such since I was 18 yrs old. If the Reps can't capitalize on the buffoon behavior of the likes of Pelosi and Reid then maybe they can need to sit out for a few more yrs. The obvious is so apparent.

Agree with you American Yan... (Below threshold)
COgirl:

Agree with you American Yank. Only thing I might add is that they also need to go after the Dem sinners in the same way that the Dems have gone after Foley, DeLay et al. Why aren't we investigating Feinstein or coming down very hard on William Cold Cash Jefferson? We ought to be lifting up every rock we can find to find what Democrat crawls beneath.

I did not open up my wallet much in 2007 because I am looking for the GOP to grow a backbone.




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