I have nothing but unconcealed contempt for anyone who, with a straight face, uses the words “game-changer” in conversation to describe anything, particularly if that “game-changer” involves a tech product or platform.
That contempt intensifies into a Category 5 hurricane of disgust and loathing if that person describes said “game-changer” as being “disruptive.”
If you’re this person, seriously — get an actual vocabulary, one that you didn’t ape from a TED talk you barely understood.
There are very few exceptions I’ll make for this rule. If you’re talking about the evolution of campaign finance, I might begrudgingly allow it. (But you should still learn new words that enable you to sound like an actual human being and not a Silicon Valley tech bro who swears by Bulletproof coffee and microdosing on LSD.)
To say the internet has disrupted campaign finance is to say the jet engine disrupted air travel or the Beatles disrupted rock. Small, decentralized internet donations seemed quaint back when they fueled Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential campaign. They can now make or break a candidacy — with online donation platforms such as the Democrat-centric ActBlue being credited by some as helping the left take the House in 2018.
While large donors and super PAC money are both still vitally important to candidates, the fact that small donors can give $50 or $100 to whoever they want without organizations such as the National Republican Congressional Committee acting as an intermediary is, well, disruptive.
Not that they don’t wield power now, but it wasn’t too long ago that the NRCC and its counterpart, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, were basically the gatekeepers to the swamp. Both of them are putatively organizations meant to ensure candidates for their respective parties get elected to the House of Representatives.
Both are also about as swampy as you can get.
You know those movies set in Everglades where the protagonists need to hire a grizzled airboat captain with questionable motives and morals to navigate their way into the heart of the impenetrable bog? The NRCC was that grizzled, morally challenged captain and their money was their airboat.
Now you can just get an airboat Über if you want one, all thanks to the fact you can donate to candidates directly.
This has made organizations like the NRCC a bit thirsty, particularly in an election year. For instance, they’ve been hitting up Kurt Schlichter for money — a lot.
Schlichter, if you’re unfamiliar with him, is a retired army colonel and a conservative pundit known for his hypercaffeinated, pull-no-punches style. He’s not a fan of the establishment and he wasn’t a fan of an aggressive fundraising push via text message.
“We texted you TWICE,” it said. “Why did you let your 500% Trump House Patriot match expire AGAIN? We’ll give you 1 more chance. 500% match for 1 HR.”
“Hey @NRCC – WTF is wrong with you?” Schlichter said in a tweet Sunday, sharing the text message. “Stop this. Do it now.”
Hey @NRCC – WTF is wrong with you?
Stop this. Do it now. pic.twitter.com/BTQ3bnCU4q
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) July 26, 2020
The NRCC responded by calling Schlichter a “Karen” and saying the fundraiser was a success, which justified it.
This text raised $198,021 toward electing conservatives to Congress. But we’ll certainly pass your complaints on to our manager, Karen. https://t.co/ayRbnMq0PP
— NRCC (@NRCC) July 27, 2020
Because apparently, calling a popular conservative a “Karen” for complaining about the NRCC’s fundraising practices was the best way to deal with this.
Either the organization has an immature intern running its Twitter account or it has lost touch with reality.
In terms of “Karening,” to paraphrase Mandy Patinkin in “The Princess Bride”: You keep using that popular viral term, NRCC. I do not think it means what you think it means.
Also, they either forgot Schlichter has a column in Townhall that he could use to catalog the NRCC’s incompetence and what he called the “problems with professional conservatism.”
“You would think that the organization that botched the 2018 midterms and lost the House might want to listen to its base,” Schlichter wrote in a piece at Townhall published Tuesday.
“But no. No, we knuckle dragging voters are an obstacle to the real objective — which apparently is not victory. If only these people were as committed to fighting liberals as they are fighting conservatives.”
He noted the text message wasn’t exactly accurate.
“‘We texted you TWICE.’ Wrong. Try dozens of time[s],” Schlichter wrote.
“These numb-skulled messages have my phone lighting up like a molly dealer’s at Freaknik. Look, I have only a short allotment of time on this mortal coil, and I don’t intend to waste it. There are an infinite number of things that are better ways to spend my time than perusing cheesy money grubs dreamed up by third-tier DC pro-cons who got NRCC gigs because they couldn’t cut it drafting white papers for some think tank with ‘Liberty’ or ‘Eagles’ in its name.”
As for that 500 percent match, Schlichter was a bit wary, too, and for good reason. First, it was clearly as ridiculous of an “act now or you’ll lose out!” hook as you’ll hear for a while. Second, he noted the NRCC wasn’t exactly known as being an efficient organ of cash distribution.
“‘Why did you let your 500% Trump House Patriot match expire AGAIN?’ it asked, and the answer is because the NRCC sucks and I don’t trust it. Nor should I,” Schlichter wrote.
“I took a look at the July 2020 FEC filing and I’m just a simple LA trial lawyer who don’t cotton much to fancy book learnin’ n’ figurin’, but it looks to me like donor contributions were $9,860,070.20 yet NRCC expenses were $6,214,108.77. It seems to mean that better than six bucks out of ten that we give are going … down the toilet. Now, perhaps that’s not a correct analysis, but if I’m wrong about the insane overhead then the NRCC communications shop could have communicated that to the base instead of flaccidly attempting to fly top cover for the scam when conservatives called it out on Twitter.
“Also, I’m a bit confused about the ‘500% Trump House Patriot match.’ Why not just toss that 500% matching amount into the pot without my donation? After all, I’m sure that match is a real thing that really exists for real.”
Schlichter said he was moved to tweet because the text “so clearly demonstrates the utter contempt the establishment has for the base that is the establishment’s whole purpose for being.”
The NRCC’s response to this didn’t inspire Schlichter’s confidence; it probably shouldn’t have inspired yours, either.
“I was told that I was putting the whole campaign to retake the House at risk, as if an operation vulnerable to one guy on Twitter ought to be the cornerstone of our offensive,” he wrote.
“And I was warned that I should lay off the NRCC because it has collected only half the dough the Democrats’ congressional committee has, as if this candid admission of failure doesn’t demonstrate the need for a thorough house cleaning instead of a doubling down. The argument was pretty much, ‘We’re doing terribly — stop messing it up, man!’”
Schlichter instead implored readers to disruptively game-change: “The answer is to give directly, so the money can’t disappear into the Hugo Boss suit pocket of some nominally-Republican hustler. This is especially true if you are like me and trapped in a solid blue district — my congressman is Ted Lieu. Pick a winner somewhere else and send him/her your dough.”
His recommendations were Rep. Mike Garcia (he took the special election earlier this year in California to fill the seat of Katie Hill, the rising Democrat star forced to resign after a “throuple” with a subordinate surfaced), Sean Parnell (the vet challenging inexplicably popular liberal automaton Conor Lamb in Pennsylvania) and Jim Bognet (also a Pennsylvanian, trying to take a competitive seat in the northeast corner of the state).
There are worse picks to give your small donation dollars to — and after all, this is Schlichter’s rant, so I’ll let him choose who to spotlight. Whoever you choose to support, however, the point is duly made.
I find it interesting the NRCC decided to call Schlichter a “Karen.” This isn’t just because Schlichter is the least Karen-ish person I can think of in the punditing pantheon, either.
The whole stereotype of the Karen began because a Karen is the kind of person who tries to return a 3-year-old 24-roll pack of paper towels without a receipt in your local big-box store and demands to speak to a manager when she can’t, holding up the line for everyone else. That’s the etymology of the term.
Imagine, if you will, the big-box store calling you in the middle of dinner and demanding to know, in a minatory tone, why you haven’t shopped there recently. Didn’t you know that if you spend your money with them, they’ll make a 2,000 percent matching donation to the Friends of the Friendless? Why would you pass this up, you ungrateful swine?
You don’t shop at the big-box store, however, because you can get a better product online for a lot cheaper. That’s because the big-box store’s overhead is an unbelievable 60 percent and the chain is terribly managed by a bunch of empty-suited Wharton MBAs who’ve made it clear in public interviews they have total contempt for anyone who shops at their store.
You tweet about the big-box store calling you during dinner. The store responds angrily, posting that calling people in the middle of dinner is actually good for their bottom line — and if you complain about the calls, you could be responsible for the store closing and people losing their jobs, because they’re not getting enough money out of the calls anyway.
That’s not quite Karening. That’s called being a responsible consumer.
The NRCC is one of the least efficient political middlemen in Washington if just because its primary objective is to perpetuate itself. No wonder we lost the House in 2018.
If there was ever an organization that needed to be disrupted via a game-change, this is it.
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