Three core points: (1) He had nothing to do with it; (2) he doesn’t approve of the images or language used; (3) he had nothing to do with it. Actually, there’s a fourth point — reminding viewers of the left’s own dabbling in racial caricatures to demonize people like, oh, say, Michael Steele. Technically that’s not germane to the issues with the powerpoint, which even its critics haven’t claimed is racist, but when progressives start blowing up their fake-outrage balloon, the temptation to pop it with a tu quoque is, admittedly, irresistible.

Anyway, GOP movers and shakers are cutting their losses on this one. Well, most of them, anyway.

“That a Beltway operative is supremely cynical is no surprise,” said Mark Hillman, a Republican National Committeeman from Colorado. “That he’s so foolish and naive as to air that crap publicly and distribute printed copies is just appalling.”…

“It is devastating. Seriously. I rarely say that, but this is very damaging,” said one top GOP campaign official…

GOP consultant Todd Harris thought the controversy stirred up by the leaked presentation was “stupid” and “manufactured.”

“Democrats raise money by saying Republicans want to take Social Security away from seniors,” Harris said. “They raise money by calling us war mongers. They raise money by accusing us of wanting sick patients to die. As long as Democrat blowhards like Alan Grayson are around, I don’t think Republicans have anything to apologize for,” he said, referring to Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.).

John Thune also criticized the powerpoint, but follow the link and note the comments at the end by Republican strategist John Feehery. As childish as the cartoon stuff was and as offensive as the “reactionary” label for the base is, the most glaring thing about the powerpoint in hindsight is the absence of a clear pitch for small government. It’s there by implication when they’re touting donors’ fear of “socialism,” but why you’d choose to imply it instead of stating it forthrightly escapes me. Imagine how the powerpoint would have been received by tea partiers if the central theme had been, say, fiscal conservatism. The meme du jour would be “they really are starting to get it!” instead of this crap.

For a contrarian take defending the RNC, see … Frum Forum(?).