(Click to enlarge.)
It is an odd document. It's odd for several reasons, not the least of which is the total absence of a fundraising link, which makes it nearly unique among emails from either party this year.
And it's odd because it refers to McCain's 52.7% to 45.9% (365 Electoral College votes to 162) loss to Obama as a "near miss," which makes you wonder what sort of defeat they're saving phrases like "broad side of a barn" or "country mile" for.
It's also odd because, on its face, it seems to be about inviting the rank-and-file to participate in The Great Rethinking and Wound-Licking of 2008 by going to a website called www.RepublicanForAReason.com and entering into a "dialogue" about where the Grand Old Party (more "old" than "grand" these days, but let it pass) should be headed in the days to come. Sounds suspiciously democratic, even--dare I say it?--people-oriented for such a proudly top-down authoritarian party.
(Note: It would be poor sportsmanship to encourage non-Republicans to register at the site and offer concern trolls and other cheap shots in the GOP's time of despondency. Besides, I have a feeling that there'll be plenty of deliciously dark humor there to be savored in the weeks ahead just by quietly listening.)
But here's the part of the RNC email that strikes me as superlatively odd:
It was a ground-breaking year for the Party on a number of issues and those milestones would not have been met without your tireless efforts.
Okay, what am I missing here?
I mean, I understand that, if you want to buck up the troops after a losing campaign, you don't begin with "well, we certainly suck, don't we?" But seriously: What issues did the GOP break ground on this year? What milestones (other than keeping up their end of the media spending arms race) did they meet? I can't think of anything.
Or--since the RNC email wasn't really intended to fall into my hands--maybe the better question is, what would the typical recipient of this letter think were the groundbreaking issues and milestones for the GOP this year?
True, they explored new and exciting avenues of smear tactics and McCarthyism. And the success of California's Proposition [H]8 must have given many Republicans a bracing thrill like the good old days of 2004, although it's not an accomplishment that the RNC itself can take much direct credit for, seems to me.