Let's cast our mind back to March. Back then, the Republican National Committee was being led by hip-hop all-star Michael Steele, and his Finance Director Rob Bickhart was in sunny Boca Grande, Fla., delivering a fateful PowerPoint presentation to "top donors and fundraisers" that Ben Smith described as lifting "the curtain on the often-cynical terms of political marketing" and "displaying an air of disdain for the party's donors that is usually confined to the barroom conversations of political operatives."
It was an underreported low point in Steele's tenure as RNC chairman. The presentation basically laid out how RNC donors could be "manipulated" with "crude caricatures" and won over with the promise of "tchotchkes." Did the RNC go on to have a flourishing relationship with Republican donors? No, they did not. But now Reince Priebus is in charge, and he has a plan to win donors back and pay down the RNC's massive debt: hawk tchotchkes!
Per Alex Seitz-Wald, at ThinkProgress:
But new chairman Reince Priebus has a brilliant idea to save his ailing party: sell the Gipper. Capitalizing on the 100th anniversary of President Reagan's birth, the RNC launched a website that looks like it was designed in the Great Communicator's era, which offers red-blooded conservatives a chance to fork over $400 for a framed photo of Reagan's inauguration, $25 for a Reagan bobble head, or $25 for some jelly beans.
Jelly Belly's 50-flavor box normally retails for $24.99 on Amazon, but it doesn't come with special Reagan-themed posters of his life and inspirational quotes (that are available for free, right on the RNC's special Reagan-themed site). So this is a pretty good deal, but it also means that Reince Priebus is missing a stellar markup opportunity.