As party leaders prepare to gather later this week in Washington, D.C., tasked with the unenviable mission of reassembling the pieces of GOP, the six-way battle for RNC Chairman is significantly heating up.
The very dynamics of the race and current political climate lends itself to personal and even misleading attacks: Each candidate, vying to differentiate themselves in a fiercely Democratic environment, will invariably levy charges of ideological impurity to gain the upper-hand. Highlighting perceived vulnerabilities – media faux pas, ideological speeding tickets, charges of racism – is a staple of modern political dog fights, and this race is clearly no exception. Every campaign dabbles in the cloak-and-dagger world of opposition research, and those who don’t probably weren’t viable candidates in the first place.
Indicative of the present intensity, I offer this piece of graphic-heavy opposition on current RNC Chairman Mike Duncan:
Throughout his term, Duncan was viewed by party insiders and reporters alike as a low-key fundraising wunderkind whose Solomonic solution to seat half of the Michigan and Florida convention delegates resolved the primary frontloading crisis that embroiled the Democrats and Howard Dean late into the primary campaign.
With former President Bush’s blessing, Duncan relieved Ken Melhman of his duties as Chairman in January of 2007 in a power-sharing agreement with Senator Mel Martinez. Per Bush’s directive, Martinez served as the de facto “face” of the Party in Bush’s absence, leaving Duncan to handle fundraising, the implementation of strategy, and to mediate intra-party conflicts. After parting ways with Congressional leadership on a series of key issues, the unity leadership structure devised by Bush crumbled when Martinez resigned in October of 2007 – at which point Duncan assumed the role of chief spokesman, too.
Republican losses in 2006 were a result of a confluence of factors, none of which included Mike Duncan. If pointing a finger helps you sleep at night while the Democratic majority works to pass the $825 billion “stimulus” plan, point to former Chairman Ken Melhman.
The attempt to not only link Duncan to our past-failings, but explicitly brand him as the sole cause for the curb-stomp Republicans endured in ’06 suggests an erratic, worried temperament on the part of his detractors.
Duncan is a known quantity; the voters – RNC elected officials – are extremely educated in this matter. Opposition research, at least of this nature, will fail to change anyone’s mind.
[Full Disclosure: I served under Mike Duncan at the Republican National Committee as the Online Communications Manager for the 2008 Presidential cycle.]