Obama's $750 Million Juggernaut
As it happens, I discovered through personal experience how effectively mail-order procedures can be applied to politics. So, in this chapter I'll go through the story of the development of the National Republican Party's elective and fund raising program, which I helped develop and execute. I believe that the procedures we set up for the Republicans can be applied to any good mail-order product.
To the best of my knowledge, the Republicans started using direct mail on a scientific, mass basis back in 1950. At that time, Sen. Robert Taft [R-Ohio] was running in a desperate race for re-election.
The big unions had announced that they had earmarked a war chest of several million dollars for a campaign in Ohio to defeat Taft, because he was coauthor of the Taft-Hartley Act, which gives the Federal Government the power to halt strikes that hurt the interests of the nation. At the time, the Taft-Hartley Act was a tremendous political issue. The big unions considered the Act an outright attempt to kill unionism in America, and Robert Taft their mortal enemy. They believed they had to get rid of him!
In those days, Reader's Digest had well-established conservative leanings, and the Digest had published articles on certain conservative issues by Sen. Taft. Sen. Taft was a friend of DeWitt Wallace [Digest founder and owner] and Al Cole [Digest business manager].
So the Digest volunteered my services to do a direct mail campaign to help get Sen. Taft re-elected.
Sen. Taft was convinced that he should take his stand on the Taft-Hartley Law, and, of course, we tried to talk him out of that, because we knew that blue-collar workers would be against him on the basis of the Taft-Hartley Act.
But Sen. Taft argued that the big issue of his campaign was, obviously, the Taft-Hartley Act—and therefore he had to stand or fall on the merits of that Act. So we had to do a mailing, he said, built around the benefits of the Act for the ordinary working man.