Grand Old Parry

The Republicans want me to help them set their agenda? Don’t mind if I do.

To: Ken Mehlman, Chairman, Republican National Committee

From: Paul Burka, humble voter

Re: Your mailed invitation to take part in the official Census of the Republican Party

I’M SO GLAD THAT you have chosen me to represent all the Republicans living in my “voting district.” I’m particularly honored that my answers, as you wrote, “will be used to develop a new blueprint for the Republican Party for the next 10 years.” I guess you must have noticed that I have been trying to develop such a blueprint for the Texas Republican party for several years now, but for some reason Rick Perry, David Dewhurst, and Tom Craddick seem not to be paying attention. Frankly, I’m not sure how Republicans in this district will feel about having me represent their views either. They may have read some of those letters to the editor in Texas Monthly—did I forget to mention that I’m a member of the media?—accusing me of being a liberal. But you wouldn’t have chosen me if you weren’t well aware that I’m a regular Republican primary voter.

Let me see if I understand how this works: “Based on your response,” you tell me, the Republican National Committee plans to print and mail a Republican party census to 5.5 million Republicans so that the RNC can get “a statistically reliable sampling of our Party.” However, “at a cost of $.40 each, our census of the Republican Party will cost the RNC over $2.2 million.” So you want me to enclose, along with my GOP census document, a contribution of $500, $250, $100, $50, or even $25 to the Republican National Committee. Why, the envelope you provided even asks if I’ll use a stamp in the “No Postage Necessary” space. Uh, here’s the problem. I don’t think the boss man would go for my contributing to a political party. He already thinks I’m in the tank for George W. Bush. But perhaps I can help anyway. You know, we have a bunch of rich Republicans down here in Texas. You might try calling James Leininger, of San Antonio. He dropped $2.5 million on Republican candidates in just five legislative races last spring—and he was trying to defeat other Republicans. There’s no telling how much he’d give you for a survey to help beat Democrats . And Bob Perry, the Houston-area

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