The Republican reflex

When doubted, deny. When caught, lie:

Just two days after President Bush slammed critics of his immigration policy, the Republican National Committee has reportedly fired all 65 of its telephone solicitors, as donors are said to be furious over the president’s stance to give legal status to millions of illegal aliens.

“Every donor in 50 states we reached has been angry, especially in the last month and a half, and for 99 percent of them immigration is the No. 1 issue,” a fired phone-bank employee told the Washington Times.

Ousted staff members told the paper Anne Hathaway, the committee’s chief of staff, summoned the solicitors and told them they were out of work, effective immediately. They claim the reasons they were given were an estimated 40 percent plunge in small-donor contributions, as well as aging phone-bank equipment the RNC said would cost too much to modernize.

The committee, however, is denying any drop-off in the influx of cash. “Any assertion that overall donations have gone down is patently false,” RNC spokeswoman Tracey Schmitt told the Times via e-mail. “We continue to out-raise our Democrat counterpart by a substantive amount (nearly double).”

Always parse a politician’s words very carefully. Of course the “overall donations” haven’t gone down, it’s the rate of new donations coming in that has declined. As for the comparative fund-raising, how can the RNC possibly know how much the DNC has raised in the last three days? Is there some sort of nightly report?

Of course, they’re probably counting on everyone forgetting about this by the time the next quarterly report or whatever has to be filed. But even if the equipment has to be modernized, how does it make any sense to fire all of its experienced solicitors? Have they replaced them with an entirely automated system or are their former employees simply incapable of working with a newer system?

“We write these comments up from each call, and give them to a supervisor who passes them on to the finance director or the national chairman,” he said. “But when I talked with the White House, the people there told me they got nothing but positive comments on the president’s immigration stand.”

Yeah, so how’s that pragmatism thing working these days?