A friend of mine sent me the “2014 Speaker’s Priorities Survey.” It is typical of such things. It isn’t a real survey. To begin with, the questions are all leading. It contains things like, “Do you believe that Obama is the Antichrist or just an evil communist?” Really! Here is the actual first question, “Do you want Republicans in the House of Represenatives to continue doing everything in our power to protect families and small businesses from the ObamaCare disaster?” And, “Do you believe House Republicans have a duty to expose the truth about why the IRS spent years targeting conservative and religious groups for harassment?”
Now, I really like those questions and the six others because they are themselves lies. What ObamaCare disaster could Mr Boehner be talking about? The IRS did not target conservative and religious groups for harassment. They were just doing their jobs and it has been well documented that it wasn’t partisan. In fact, if anything, it was the liberal groups who got the worst treatment.
Of course, the Speaker’s little survey is nothing of the kind. As we know from political science research, pretty much the only people that politicians of either party (but especially the Republican Party) care about are the concerns of their big money donors. And it isn’t about pandering to the prejudices of people on Republican mailing lists nor is it about contributing to the Fox News and hate radio mission to misinform all conservatives. The survey’s real purpose is presented on the second page.
That is where we find that Speaker Boehner wants the survey participant to contribute anywhere from $35 to to $1,000. But I can go along with that. The Republican Party is flattering their supporters by asking their opinions and then they hit them up for contributions. It’s like those free online tests that you take. After they give you the score, they try to sell you stuff. I have no problem with that. But that isn’t all that this “survey” is.
Underneath the “Sure I’ll give you a thousand bucks” section, there is a single check box. Next to it reads, “I cannot send a campaign gift today, but I would still like to include my views in this survey project. To pay for the printing, mailing, and tabulation costs of my SURVERY DOCUMENT, I am enclosing $11.” Get that? “We are only interested in your opinions if you pay us $11.” Assuming they even tabulate the results, the form can be scanned by a computer, with a total cost of about 1¢ to pay for the electricity and the person to dump the thousand surveys into the feeder tray. The survey does come with a postage paid envelope, but printed on it is, “Your first-class stamp will save us much needed funds.” Assuming the idiot who sends in $11 doesn’t put a stamp on, that would cost the NRCC perhaps half the cost of a first class stamp, so maybe we are looking at another 25¢. The tabulation costs are basically nothing.
I’ve seen a lot of amazing conservative scams before—I’m on a number of conservative mailing lists. But I’ve never seen this. I’m sure if you send in the $11, it does go to a different account to pay for office expenses, thus meaning that regular contributions don’t need to pay for such things so that that money can go to television ads that spread the misinformation that is found in their survey. So regardless of how you look at it, paying to have the survey “processed” is the same as sending in a contribution.
The amount is interesting too. Why $11? That’s certainly not what it costs. But it is so exact, implying that they worked out how much money it really does cost to process their fake survey. “Do you think the Republicans should try to maintain control of the House of Representatives rather than allowing the Hitler-loving Democrats to take over control?” I am aware, of course, that Democrats (and all groups for that matter), send out these kinds of highly leading surveys as a way to raise money. But the processing fee strikes me as over the top. But I’m sure if it isn’t in widespread use, it will be. The Republican Party has been leading this country in the worst way possible for decades. Why would they stop now?