Powerpointing Fingers at Michael Phathead Steele

(AFP) WASHINGTON — US Republicans drew fire this week after the disclosure of an internal fundraising memo that portrays President Barack Obama as the Batman films’ crazed killer “The Joker.”

The Republican National Committee document, first revealed by the online politics publication Politico, also describes fanning fears that Obama is a socialist as a good way to get donors to open their wallets.

“What can you sell when you do not have the White House, the House or the Senate…? Save the country from trending toward Socialism!” it declares, urging fundraisers to harness givers’ “fear” and “reactionary” sentiments.

Original movie poster

The document, a 72-page PowerPoint presentation, says wealthy donors can also be motivated by “ego-driven” appeals, peer pressure, and “tchochkes!!!!!!!!!” — inexpensive knick-knacks often given as rewards.


It also likens Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to the “Cruella” villain from Disney’s “101 Dalmatians,” who hopes to turn the films’ titular animals into a fur coat, and compares Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to the bumbling animated dog “Scooby-Doo.”

Politico cited an unnamed source as saying the presentation was given RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart to top donors and fundraisers at a party retreat in Florida on February 18.

But top Republicans immediately distanced themselves from the document, with House Minority Leader John Boehner telling reporters on Thursday: “I did not see it.”

And RNC chairman Michael Steele sought in a Fox News Channel interview to repair any potential damage with donors, admitting “the words on paper don’t sound appealing” but insisting the party holds its backers in high esteem.


Steele also told Fox “I don’t know what the context, or how that was presented to this particular committee of individuals.”

Yeah, because you’re only the chairman, so why the hell should you know what people who report to you are doing?   🙄

From RICHARD ADAM’S BLOG at guardian.co.uk:

The Republican party’s national organising committee was furiously backpedalling after an embarrassing document lampooning Barack Obama and other Democratic leaders as ‘evil’ was found in a hotel room.


Politico said that the 72-page document was sent to it by a Democrat, who found the original in the hotel where the meeting was held. on 18 February. Sources at the event said a presentation involving the document was given by the RNC’s finance director Rob Bickhart and finance chairman Peter Terpeluk, who was ambassador to Luxembourg under the Bush administration.

The document also contained a wealth of embarrassing details about Republican fundraising tactics. Politico reported: “The small donors who are the targets of direct marketing are described under the heading ‘Visceral Giving.’ Their motivations are listed as ‘fear;’ ‘Extreme negative feelings toward existing Administration;’ and ‘Reactionary.'”

The document also mentions the $80,000 (£53,000) price tag for donors wanting to join an official RNC visit to meet British Conservative party leader David Cameron in September – after the UK general election, when Republicans hope he will be Britain’s prime minister.

The Republican party sought to distance itself from the memo, with an RNC spokesman saying: “Fundraising documents are often controversial”.


Raynard Jackson, a Republican activist who works to attract blacks and other minority members to the party, told the Washington Post that he was outraged by the presentation: “And the best we can get is Michael Steele issuing a statement through a spokesman? And they wonder why they can’t get minorities, especially black people, involved in the party?”

From political ticker at CNN:

Steele would not say who was responsible for the document, saying only that he has asked RNC Finance Director Rob Bickhart “to get to the bottom of it.” Bickhart is reportedly the staffer who made the fundraising presentation to GOP donors in Boca Grande, Florida last month.

Pressed on whether someone at the committee would be disciplined or fired over the matter, Steele said he is letting “the appropriate personnel process and procedures take place within the organization.”

“Clearly it’s not something that I would tolerate and certainly would not want presented to me, and we’re dealing with it administratively,” he said.

Doug Heye, the RNC communications director, told CNN there are no plans for either Bickhart or RNC Finance Chairman Peter Terpeluk to leave the committee as a result of the controversy.

“It is absolutely not true,” Heye said in an interview with CNN. Heye added that “the chairman has addressed this internally and has ensured moving forward this will not happen again.”

As for what actions are being taken by the chairman, Heye would not say. “We do not discuss anything that happens internally at the Republican National Committee as a matter of policy,” he said.

Here’s a little bit more about Rethuglicans flogging themselves over the embarrassment (yeah right, like they have an embarrassment gene) and a little more about Peter Terpeluk. From CBS NEWS:

Sen. John Thune (S.D.), a member of the Republican leadership, said: “There is no place for this. Obviously when you’re fundraising . . . you want to make direct and succinct points, but using these sorts of tactics is certainly not something that any of us ought to condone.”

Said Tom Rath, a former RNC member from Concord, N.H.: “We’re not going to win the election by drawing those kinds of comparisons. We’re going to win the elections because we have one view of government and how the economy ought to work and American security.”

Some Republicans declared the largely mundane slideshow to be much ado about nothing. Several also derided the document as the work of an amateur and said that Steele bears responsibility for the controversy even if he didn’t approve the use of the content.


Listed on the document is RNC Finance Chairman Peter Terpeluk Jr., a former ambassador to Luxembourg and the co-chairman of President George H.W. Bush’s 1992 reelection campaign. Terpeluk, who lives in Chevy Chase, was a major fundraiser for Republican Sen. John McCain‘s White House bid in 2008. He did not return a phone call Thursday requesting comment.

Democrats jumped on the flap, distributing a fundraising letter of their own that referenced it. Brad Woodhouse of the Democratic National Committee, said: “Where was Michael Steele condemning these things in August during the ‘tea party’ protests? . . . The only reason Michael Steele seems to be offended by it now is that he was caught using it.”


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17 responses to “Powerpointing Fingers at Michael Phathead Steele

  1. JaxDem

    Universal Laughingstock


    They’ve stepped deep enough in the shitpile this time that it’s gonna stink for awhile. Couldn’t happen to a better bunch of f*cktards.

    • jaxdem, you never noticed my little ‘universal laughingstock’ logo before? it’s been in several movies now. don’t ask me which ones, but trust me! 😉

      they really did step in it, and steele and all the others feigning shock and regret is a bunch of crap. they never said a word about the people holding those images at tea parties and at the capitol steps when they had their dog and pony show hosted by batshit bachmann. they can spare us the faux outrage now. 🙄

  2. “I don’t know what the context, or how that was presented to this particular committee of individuals.”

    Ummmm … being a PowerPoint, it was probably presented with a projector connected to a computer.

    The funny thing is that this really does set its own context. He can’t use that excuse.

    • lol! don’t you love how the rethugs are always up in arms and frothing at the mouth when they scream for someone to be fired for the slightest infraction (as long as that person is a democrat), but when something happens under their watch, it’s fine to have an investigation (undertaken by the guy who committed the offense, interestingly enough) and not do anything rash.

      • You mean, like calling someone a “retard”?

        I hear it’s really, really terrible if you’re a White House chief of staff talking to someone in private, but okay if you’re on a radio talk show with a huge audience.

        • exactly. and like conjuring up pictures of masses of dead canadians, because they have socialized (read deadly) medicine there, but then telling stories about how your parents took your siblings there for medical care.

  3. writechic

    They really are a party of stooges. This isn’t much different from watching a meaner version of keystone cops banging into each other (moment of silence for California State Sen. Roy Ashburn 😆 ).

    And Mitchy dudn’t like the presentation. He needs to shut up. Nobody is a bigger fan of conservative bullshit than conservatives. McDonnell doesn’t like they were caught. There’s no way he’s convincing me he went out and done found himself some dignity.

    • i think they all sit in the cloakroom and drink and think up stupid stuff to do. then they wait for phathead steele to fall asleep in his office between paid speaking gigs, and they pipe in their ideas using hyponotic speech (frank luntz tells them what words to use). when phathead wakes up, he thinks he has original ideas, and he tells his underlings to take care of it. when it all backfires, they all look aghast 😯 at how crass the rnc can be.

  4. writechic

    Look! Never before seen video of an inside strategy session at the RNC:

  5. If you look at the first slide of the show on Politico, it reads “Tools for Success.” Ah, truth in advertising!

    Also, the people who put the slide show together are such amateurs that they misspelled “staff.” They typed in “Staf.”

    Finally, I leave you with something off-topic, but hilarious about Florida.


    Conchs. *shakes heads*

    • i can’t find the slide show you’re talking about at politico, but i’m laughing anyway, because they are such tools.

      that story in floriduhhhh is hilarious. i have to tell melissa (writechic) about it, because that’s right up her alley. 😳 perhaps not the best turn of phrase considering the story. 😉

  6. Rolls eyes….

    He is a well paid clown though $223,500, for pocket change, he rakes in fees of $8,000 to $20,000 for speaker fees.

    He’s laughing all the way to the bank.

    • it’s okay with me. let him keep making a fool of himself. he’s not doing a very good job fund-raising (and it will probably be even worse now), and he makes the rethugs look even more like morans. they already do, but phathead seems to really screw up when the cameras are on him.

  7. How come Micheal is so silent about the literacy test spoken so highly of two weeks ago? Can he name all the district judges in his state to qualify? And what is it with mm21 on US1, a spot that brings back memories of mispent youth, the FHP, and a Yamaha 305 Big Bear. Having spent a pleasant afternoon on Summerland Key with sis and her new hubby, I decided after tuning up the bike and would see how fast it would go on the evening ride back to KW. Well the FHP got behind me there and informed me on Boca Chica that it will do 95 in a 55, blue ones anyway. My year in Key West taught me two valuable lessons. Don’t live in a town where after 2 hours you’ve been everywhere and stay away from places where the train station is 150 miles from the nearest choo-choo.

    • i went to key west once, and it was enough. it’s probably changed since i was there, but i don’t have any desire to go there and see.

      i guess i shouldn’t bother to apply for a job at the floriduhhhh vacation bureau, huh?