Thursday, June 23, 2005

URGENT: Your e-bay account has expired, and the College Republicans want to help

The Washington Post has an interesting story by veteran political reporter Tom Edsall that throws light on one of those little-noticed conservative subcultures and shows just how far gone our political system really is.

In this case, it’s the College Republicans, the organization that spawned Lee Atwater, Karl Rove and other lights in the GOP firmament. (You could say that the College Republicans are the source of all our present-day political pathologies. If someone could secure a time machine, go back 35 years, put on a bad suit, infiltrate the organization and plant some pot or Keynes monographs in Rove's pocket protector, it might change everything.)

Anyway, the College Republicans have gone from being a farm team to being a high-rolling GOP fiefdom. How did they do it? By defrauding grandma and grandpa:

The current chairman, Eric Hoplin, and [chairman candidate] Gourley have been attacked by critics for allowing Response Dynamics, the company doing fundraising, to use questionable methods. These tactics included repeated solicitations using letterheads and language suggesting that money donated would go directly to the Republican Party or to the Bush campaign. Some of the recipients of the appeals were elderly men and women suffering from dementia.

As they say, read the whole thing. At least these methods appear to be causing some controversy within the organization, though they will probably just adopt subtler approaches that accomplish the same thing.