A dangerous dance for the NRCC
posted at 11:18 pm on June 7, 2009 by Patrick Ishmael
Whatever you think of Sarah Palin, the NRCC’s treatment of her in the run up to tomorrow’s fundraising “gala” has been atrocious. And I don’t just mean in a “that’s not how you treat someone” sort of way. I really mean it in a “that’s not how you raise money and win elections” sense. The anonymous suggestion that
“You dance with the one who brung ya,” said the [campaign committee] official, who stressed that event organizers were still happy to have Palin appear and be introduced.
is patently absurd and borderline offensive. As the Politico article notes, the NRCC first announced that Palin would keynote the event. Then Palin became simply a speaker at the event. And then, tonight, an attendee… maybe. It’s as if the NRCC initiated this “dance” with Palin as a couple, then as friends, ending with the NRCC leaving the dance with someone else… Newt Gingrich.
I have no skin in the “who’s headlining” political game, and I want the NRCC to raise as much money as possible for Republicans who hold the ideals of small, responsible and responsive government. If Palin was happy to be “a” speaker and not “the” speaker at the fundraiser, terrific. It’s a PR-money-bomb-Sarahcuda-Newtapalooza bonanza, hopefully. And maybe it still will be without Palin’s presence (we’ll never really know,) but if you hear an ominous “squeeaaaak” echoing across the halls of Congress, that’s the sound of Palin-affilliated money spickets shutting off all over the country.
Sarah Palin was the most effective fundraiser the Republican Party had in 2008, and I find it incredibly short-sighted and bordering on political malpractice for the NRCC to do anything but harness her energy and the dollars her persona brings to the table. This event should not be all about a single personality, but about the Party, which is exactly why the NRCC’s apparent second-thoughts on bringing a politician with a (gasp!) national following because it might overshadow another politician with a (gasp!) national following seem so suspicious and unseemly.
Surely the Speaker did not endorse the move. Two stars shine brighter than one, and I have to hope the Speaker would be happy to share the stage for the sake of the Party’s 2010 hopes, despite the NRCC’s best (and worst) efforts to protect him.
Meanwhile, the NRCC should hope that its dance card doesn’t start shrinking. Reputations stick, and school’s just begun.