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Foley was a Republican, but those Dems are TELEMARKETERS!
November 5, 2006 10:00 PM   Subscribe

Abu Gharib? Feh. The newest Dark Side: telemarketing abuse. The National Republican Congressional Committee has launched a $2.1 million campaign calling individuals, including those on the Federal Do-Not-Call Registry, with automated telephone messages scripted to sound as if they are coming from the Democratic candidate up for election, in the hopes of driving away support come Tuesday's elections. "Hello. I'm calling with information about [Democratic candidate]," the recording begins, and then pauses for the traditional hang-up. If the recipient does indeed hang up, they then receive repeated phone calls back. This manner of scripting violates 47 CFR 64.1200(b)(1), which requires that "the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call" be "state[d] clearly" "at the beginning of the message." The New Hampshire Attorney General got them to stop calling those on the Do-Not-Call Registry, at least. (In their best interests, perhaps, due to the $5,000 fine per call potentially racking up hefty fines.) This is going on at the very least in the Pennsylvania 6th, the Connecticut 4th, the North Carolina 11th,, the New Hampshire 2nd, and nationwide.
posted by WCityMike (142 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
democracy ftw
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 10:08 PM on November 5, 2006


Can I ask what that last link goes to? It's broke.

Anyhow, it's pretty sad that they're even allowed to try. Someone should sue.
posted by Cyclopsis Raptor at 10:13 PM on November 5, 2006


Despite the clear wording of the illegality of the script, from Tom Rath, NRCC: "It's a complicated legal question that's not going to get adjudicated in time for the election this weekend."
posted by WCityMike at 10:14 PM on November 5, 2006


SHAMELESS BASTARDS.
posted by orthogonality at 10:15 PM on November 5, 2006


Sorry about the poor last link drafting — I moved the link that went there to the initial link, but didn't redraft the final link appropriately. The boston.com article has the more nationwide angle.
posted by WCityMike at 10:16 PM on November 5, 2006


And in addition to these robo calls, there are the slimy push polls.

And if those ploys don't work, distributing a list of republican candidates at the polling place and telling voters it is a list of democrats is also another in the arsenal of dirty tricks.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:22 PM on November 5, 2006


Wow. Thanks for the story, WCityMike.
posted by BeerFilter at 10:23 PM on November 5, 2006


Some have estimated something around 200,000 calls. At $5,000 per call, thats one Billion dollars. I wonder if the government could ever impose that fine. Would GW just pardon them?
posted by SirOmega at 10:29 PM on November 5, 2006


Some have estimated something around 200,000 calls. At $5,000 per call, thats one Billion dollars.

Not all 200,000 are on the Federal Do-Not-Call Registry.
posted by WCityMike at 10:30 PM on November 5, 2006


Does anyone know of a free robo-dialing program that the average pissed-off democratic voter could use to call the NRCC a few hundred times? Jill Porter, from the Philadelphia Daily News links to voiceshot.com but it costs 12 cents per call.

I've got a few hundred "rollover" minutes on my cell phone account, but I'd prefer not to spend my whole day hitting redial all day long...

NRCC Main Number - (202) 479-7000
News Media Inquiries - (202) 479-7070
Information on Contributing - (202) 479-7030

Obviously, tying up the NRCC phones wouldn't end the robo-dialing but it might just ruin their day.
posted by danblaker at 10:33 PM on November 5, 2006


Really might not be a good idea — I don't think it'll have the effect you desire and I'd rather not give Matt or Jess a reason to delete this post. If you're interested in responsive measures, I think dailykos has some stuff going on.
posted by WCityMike at 10:35 PM on November 5, 2006


Smell the fear...
posted by Fupped Duck at 10:35 PM on November 5, 2006


Not all 200,000 are on the Federal Do-Not-Call Registry.

Even 10% of those nubers on the DNC registry is a $100,000,000 fine. The NRCC would need to raise a lot of money just to pay for the fine. Of course, I dont think they would have a problem from a moral standpoint, its just a financial issue to them.
posted by SirOmega at 10:40 PM on November 5, 2006


Kos.
posted by WCityMike at 10:40 PM on November 5, 2006


The federal do-not-call registry doesn't apply to political calls. In fact, that law quoted in the original post also doesn't apply since the call "is not made for a commercial purpose".

Apparently, it's only illegal in NH because of a state law.
posted by smackfu at 10:48 PM on November 5, 2006


In 2004 I worked as at a two-bit phone center in Huxely Iowa. It was basically a minimum wage job right out of collage while I looked for a real job. It sucked, but it didn't require the heavy lifting that was killing my back working as an overnight stocker at Target.

Anyway so I'm working at this phone center, and as this was the runup to the election the vast majority of work we did was political.

One of the most interesting calls we got was for some guy running for some po-dunk state office in some Midwestern state.

Anyway, this poor guy had been the victim of this tactic, with robocalls in the middle of the night, so he hired us to call each and every victim and tell them, as real human beings, that the calls were not actually placed on his behalf, and that he wanted to apologize.

People were actually really receptive and happy to hear a real person and get an apology. As a phone center person it was nice to actually get to apologize for all the annoying calls we were doing.

I think if the democrats did something similar, getting real people to call and apologize it would work well.
posted by delmoi at 10:48 PM on November 5, 2006 [5 favorites]


Why are almost all the dirty election tricks being perpetrated by the "party of moral values?"
posted by caddis at 10:49 PM on November 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


In fact, that law quoted in the original post also doesn't apply since the call "is not made for a commercial purpose".

Although I might be reading it wrong. Couldn't they indent it or something?

posted by smackfu at 10:51 PM on November 5, 2006


The $5,000 fine is a feature of NH state law, so that figure only applies the calls that went to DNC registry subscribers in that state. It still could add up to a hefty fine, though, and I expect that the penalties for violating the federal telemarketing legislation will be non-trivial as well, though the text of the legislation wcitymike liked to doesn't list any specific penalties.
posted by gsteff at 10:54 PM on November 5, 2006


Indeed, WCityMike, I have no idea if personal robo-dialing with intent to disrupt the NRCC would even be legal. And yet, complaining to local media seems like such a whiny response and one unlikely to make a difference before Tuesday.
posted by danblaker at 10:57 PM on November 5, 2006


I think you're reading it right, smackfu: 47 CFR 64.1200(f)(9)(iii) says, "As used in this section, the term 'telephone solicitation' [...] does not include a call or message [b]y or on behalf of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization." However, I wonder if the NRCC is tax-exempt, if its donation form warns donors, "Contributions are not tax deductible for federal income tax purposes."
posted by WCityMike at 10:59 PM on November 5, 2006


I got a call from Laura fucking Bush last week. And I'm on the do-not-call-doesn't-work-for-crap-list.
posted by dopamine at 10:59 PM on November 5, 2006


^I'm not making that up, either. Laura Bush. On my phone. I wanted to carve my face off.
posted by dopamine at 11:00 PM on November 5, 2006


These people are desperrate not to lose power - the financial cost is immaterial to them. They're political sociopaths. They already stole two elections, imo, and there is nothing they won't do to try steal this one too.
posted by madamjujujive at 11:03 PM on November 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


In fact, that law quoted in the original post also doesn't apply since the call "is not made for a commercial purpose".

The indentation is indeed a problem, but the section cited appears to be split into 8 parts, a-h. Lowercase letters are used for the topmost itemizations, uppercase letters for the inner ones. Section b appears to apply to "All artificial or prerecorded telephone messages", and isn't covered by any of the exceptions in section a that you're noticing... that's a separate clause. So clause (b)(1), as wcitymike cited, then reads
All artificial or prerecorded telephone messages shall... At the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call.
Seems pretty straightforward. The robocalls described indicate their source at the end of the call, not the beginning.

w00t!
posted by gsteff at 11:04 PM on November 5, 2006


Honestly, this is just amazing to those of us who live in functioning democracies. It's amazing that it happens at all, and it's even more amazing that it's open, shameless and acknowledged.

You can't have a democracy where there are parties who attack your right to exercise your franchise.

It's this kind of thing that causes cynicism about American efforts to spread democracy. Democracy starts at home.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:07 PM on November 5, 2006


Evidently, it's happening in my home state of Illinois too, in both the Bean (D) v. McSweeney (R) and Duckworth (D) v. Roskam (R)1 campaigns.

The "October Surprise," one might wonder.

1See comment on that page.
posted by WCityMike at 11:11 PM on November 5, 2006


To be more clear, as near as I can tell, these robocalls aren't supposed to be restricted by the do-not-call registry itself, but they violate a separate restriction unrelated to the registry that was created in the same legislation.
posted by gsteff at 11:11 PM on November 5, 2006


Wow. I think I now have 0% respect for the Republic Party. Honest conservatives, RUN AWAY!
posted by Citizen Premier at 11:14 PM on November 5, 2006


Rosie?
posted by WCityMike at 11:15 PM on November 5, 2006


According to the Elk Grove Times and FEC reports, it appears that the NRCC contracted the job out to Conquest Communications Group.
posted by WCityMike at 11:19 PM on November 5, 2006


This page claims that a single violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act can cost $11,000. I don't know what the legal definition of a violation would be, but if it means a single call, there is potentially a huge amount of fines at stake here.
posted by gsteff at 11:26 PM on November 5, 2006


Oops, this page.
posted by gsteff at 11:27 PM on November 5, 2006


Ugh. I get called a few times a week on my cell phone. It's from the NRCC and they want me to know CRITICAL INFORMATION about CHARLIE BROWN (no shit).
I hate the NRCC and how they don't care about pissing off thousands of voters with this crap. It's even worse because Charlie Brown is running for the 4th CA district and I'm in the 25th district.

If anybody here's in S. Lake Tahoe, Susanville, or Truckee, consider Charlie Brown: he sounds like a great guy, he served 26 years in the Air Force and then became a cop!
posted by Joybooth at 11:27 PM on November 5, 2006


Tangentially related anecdote #1:

The summer after I turned 18, a friend and I encountered a voter-registration table outside of Target. We decided, "might as well," and filled out the proffered forms.

"And can I go ahead and note that you're both registering as Republicans?" the table-manner asked.

"Um, no," we replied. "Put as down as Democrats."

"Aw, c'mon," he whined. "What do you have against Republicans?"

"Put as down as Democrats," we repeated.

Several weeks later, we received notice that we had both successfully registered as members of the Republican party. Bastards!

Tangentially related anecdote #2:

A friend told me that whenever her mom receives a random Republican mailer, she'll send the postage-paid response envelope back filled with random bulk. If we all pitch in, we can slowly bleed them dry! Every little bit counts.
posted by granted at 11:51 PM on November 5, 2006


Found it! The fine for violating the TCPA is at least $500, and up to $1500 if the court finds that the violation was willful. I don't know to do fancy legal citations, but it's Title 47, Section 227 (b)(3). Here's the text:

                     (3) Private right of action

        A person or entity may, if otherwise permitted by the laws or 
    rules of court of a State, bring in an appropriate court of that 
    State--
            (A) an action based on a violation of this subsection or the 
        regulations prescribed under this subsection to enjoin such 
        violation,
            (B) an action to recover for actual monetary loss from such 
        a violation, or to receive $500 in damages for each such 
        violation, whichever is greater, or
            (C) both such actions.

    If the court finds that the defendant willfully or knowingly 
    violated this subsection or the regulations prescribed under this 
    subsection, the court may, in its discretion, increase the amount of 
    the award to an amount equal to not more than 3 times the amount 
    available under subparagraph (B) of this paragraph.


This article at slashdot describes in detail how to sue someone for violating this, and addresses the question of whether the exemption in section (a) for calls made "not for a commercial purpose" applies to violations of section (b), the identification clause (answer: it doesn't). This page describes one guy's successful application of this clause of the law. Wow.

If the NRCC made 200,000 calls like this, as seems to be the current ballpark estimate, and the DNC can organize a class-action lawsuit over this... the civil penalties would theoretically be $100 million. A fine that high probably wouldn't actually get levied, but it could still be very high. Yikes!
posted by gsteff at 11:56 PM on November 5, 2006 [1 favorite]


James Carville: "Don't get mad. Don't get even. Just get elected, then get even."
posted by pracowity at 12:07 AM on November 6, 2006


"Why are almost all the dirty election tricks being perpetrated by the 'party of moral values?'"

Personally, I think that the roots of the GOP's vote suppression activities and the general disdain for voters it reveals are found in the civil rights era in the South. There, we have a moment in history when the national conservative party allied itself with the racist civil rights opposing South which has a long, long history of illegal vote suppression of blacks.

That alliance created the modern GOP and the modern GOP inherited from it this anti-democratic impulse. For the racists who opposed blacks at the polling booth, the argument was/is that these folks shouldn't have been allowed to vote in the first place. It's only a hop, skip, and a jump to the more inclusive notion that all those folks stupid enough to vote for Democrats shouldn't be "allowed" to vote in the first place. Suppressing their votes is what's best for our democracy. That's how they think.

There's an awful lot of things that the GOP advocates that I think are incredibly noxious up to things that are bad enough that I think they are evil. But even so, as the organized voice to a political point of view, I don't object to their existence. But this tendency of theirs, the midset it reveals and all the actions that have resulted from it over the last forty years...I believe this more than anything else means they have no legitimacy as a political party operating in a democratic society. For this long pattern of behavior, which has gotten worse in the last eight years, their whole party deserves to be torn down, gutted, and eliminated from American life.

All those conservatives would be welcome to form another conservative party that isn't inherently anti-democractic.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:35 AM on November 6, 2006 [3 favorites]


How does one actually prove the NRCC or their telemarketers made the call?
posted by rolypolyman at 12:35 AM on November 6, 2006


Phone company records? They gotta have em to give to the NSA, after all.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:58 AM on November 6, 2006


rolypolyman: They've already acknowledged it; that's how people are calculating the 200,000 number... their FEC financial expenditure reports apparently include approx $20,000 for robocalling, and the standard rate for those projects is a little less than $0.10 per call. Plus, the phone companies can easily verify it as well if subpoenaed.
posted by gsteff at 12:58 AM on November 6, 2006


These fuckers have been calling my house for I don't know how many days. They even called my cell phone.

Ugh.

My parents are Republicans, but they're super pissed about this. (I'm currently unaffiliated, as all parties tend to piss me the fuck off.)
posted by sperose at 1:24 AM on November 6, 2006


sperose: If they didn't identify who they were calling on behalf of at the beginning of the call, you supposedly can sue them for $500 for every call. Follow the instructions here. I am not a lawyer, this is not legal advice.
posted by gsteff at 1:53 AM on November 6, 2006


If true this is a filthy tactic. But who is it working on? Well informed, active participants in our democracy?

Would you change your vote because of an annoying phone call?

This kind of tactic can work only when people are too complacent to learn about which candidate best reflects thier beliefs.
posted by recurve at 1:55 AM on November 6, 2006


I am so sick of this kind of bullshit. God, I hate them so much. I hate them I hate them I hate them I hate them I hate them.
posted by kyrademon at 2:09 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


"This kind of tactic can work only when people are too complacent to learn about which candidate best reflects thier beliefs."

And your point is what, exactly? There's no excuse for vote suppression. It's a shame that many voters are ignorant, but that's another matter.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:12 AM on November 6, 2006


"I am so sick of this kind of bullshit. God, I hate them so much. I hate them I hate them I hate them I hate them I hate them."

Heh. You've basically expressed my feelings exactly.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:13 AM on November 6, 2006


It's kind of amazing that the people doing this are even adults, it's such offensive and immature behavior.
posted by chasing at 2:30 AM on November 6, 2006


"It's kind of amazing that the people doing this are even adults, it's such offensive and immature behavior."

One kind of Republican, disproportionally attracted to party activism, prides themselves on being "realists". That is to say, they ascribe to principles but are willing to think to think in terms of the end justifying the means because they think this is adult recognition about the unfortunate nature of reality. You've got to break some omelets, and all that. So it's easy for them to undermine all sorts of proximate principles in the effort to achieve a more distant goal which they believe takes priority.

What I find interesting about this sort of thinking is how conveniently limited it is. I actually share with these folks a sense of necessarily realism, or even cynicism, which includes a good dose of cynicism about human nature (supposedly one of the foundational concepts in conservativism). But it doesn't seem to occur to these folks that because human beings are easily corruptable it becomes more important to hold to proximate ethical principles which we all agree are important (such as promoting participation in democracy) and not sacrificing them for much more uncertain longer-term greater goods because, among other things, the rationale about all these longer terms priorities and breaking of omelets are very likely to be self-serving and facade for far less defensible and immediate goals (such as the preservation of power for its own sake) because, after all, people are eminently corruptible.

That's a lot of verbiage to say this: badly intentioned people find democracy often inconvenient. It's easy for them to construct arguments about how we need to bomb the village of democracy in order to save it that are, actually, just disguising those badly-intentioned people's real motives and goals. For a bloc of politically active people that pride themselves on their cynical view of human nature, they are incredibly credulous about arguments justifying supposedly well-intentioned wrongdoing.

This is an example of why I feel that the Republican conceit of being the grownups who face the reality of human nature is pretty much a joke. Sure, they are aware of the fallible nature of human reality in others...just not themselves. And if there's one intellectual characteristic that signals adulthood and realism, it's recognizing one's own fallibility. Republicans staunchly refuse to recognize their own faults and this trait, coupled with their embrace of normalizing instinct and organized violence, demonstrates that they are the true children of American politics.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:13 AM on November 6, 2006 [3 favorites]


Just relating that here in Ohio's 15th District I've been getting no less than 7 calls per day with for about the past three weeks with the number rapidly ramping up in the past ten days to I would say 15-20 per day total in bursts of about 5 per hour. My observation agrees that hanging up will indeed generate more callbacks. I've ignored them from the beginning but what the hell, I may log and record them today.
posted by well_balanced at 3:18 AM on November 6, 2006


well-balanced: Sorry, I hate to be a broken record, but if your calls are automated (you're listening to a recording, not a human being), please note whether the recording clearly identifies who's responsible for it at the beginning. If not, you may be able to make some easy money and help the democratic party in 2008 by taking legal action, per my posts above. I'll shut up about this now, but if any mefi lawyers enter this thread, feedback here or via email would be appreciated.
posted by gsteff at 3:25 AM on November 6, 2006


That is to say, they ascribe to principles but are willing to think to think in terms of the end justifying the means because they think this is adult recognition about the unfortunate nature of reality.

(Wonders if Karl Rove has read The Prince)
posted by Jimbob at 3:27 AM on November 6, 2006


This is not quite vote suppression, as in, the intimidation of voters to keep them from the polls. And I'm not saying that it isn't despisable. And I'd gleefully support any prosecution against the people who have done this. But, I was just pointing out that the people are responsible for our government's behavior. And most of us people blithely go about our lives without much thought given to who represents us. And that is what makes this possible. Organize and educate ( and prosecute wrongdoing in the meantime ) and these tactics won't exist anymore.
posted by recurve at 3:32 AM on November 6, 2006


(Wonders if Karl Rove has read The Prince)

Rove could write a few new chapters. He's been a right-wing loudmouth since he was a little kid and a Republican dirty trickster since at least his college days.
posted by pracowity at 3:48 AM on November 6, 2006


One kind of Republican, disproportionally attracted to party activism, prides themselves on being "realists".(Here, read "realists" as power-grubbing sociopaths.)
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:48 AM on November 6, 2006


It's kind of amazing that the people doing this are even adults

In the same vein, check out this unbelievable clip (QT link) of Liddy Dole on Meet the Press. I was flabbergasted. It's one thing to have a debased national discourse. But this isn't even discourse. It's making outrageous claims and then shouting down your opponents.

These thugs are going to have to answer for what they've done to the country one day. By God, I hope tomorrow is that day.
posted by felix betachat at 3:56 AM on November 6, 2006


"It was basically a minimum wage job right out of collage...

delmoi was a starving artist?
posted by hal9k at 4:05 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


This made me angry, and as such it would make an excellent Dem campaign ad tomorrow.

"The Republicans have been making thousands of illegal automated phone calls to [your state] voters, pretending to be from the Democrats. They'll do anything to make you stay at home today. Don't let them."
posted by Arcaz Ino at 4:10 AM on November 6, 2006


DEMOCRACY, APPLY DIRECTLY TO YOUR FOREHEAD!
DEMOCRACY, APPLY DIRECTLY TO YOUR FOREHEAD!
DEMOCRACY, APPLY DIRECTLY TO YOUR FOREHEAD!
posted by furtive at 4:18 AM on November 6, 2006


Arcaz, part of the strategy is that this is happening the weekend before the election. There's no magical way Demcrats can cut and release a "new ad;" ad buys are done at least a week or so in advance. Hell, they don't even have time to get editorials printed in many papers at this point. The trick is that it might be illegal, but the fines are miniscule because of the burden of proof, and worth it to trick and deceive voters from voting Democratic. As many others have already said, it's disgusting, and a complete mockery of everything democracy is supposed to be.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:19 AM on November 6, 2006


unlike the Democrats, these guys really want to win an election. even when they lose. I sincerely admire their commitment.

you can talk until you're blue in the face about how smart and cool and much better than the Republicans you really, really are. but in order to do things, you have to win, or at least get the office (even if you didn't win). the GOP understands this, I tip my hat.

and frankly, JFK himself, great Democratic hero, wasn't above using some mob connections to get that much needed help in Illinois, was he? what about Gov. Clinton executing the brain-damaged black guy in '92? did he really enjoy doing that? I don't think so.

but then both Kennedy and Clinton understood that without winning what you're left with is some smug self-congratulation about how much better you really are, even if you lost (Dukakis, Gore, Kerry -- long list)

electoral politics are an ugly, ugly business. and the only thing that matters is winning.
posted by matteo at 4:45 AM on November 6, 2006


Arcaz, part of the strategy is that this is happening the weekend before the election.

Yep. The Republican trick is to put winning ahead of everything because nothing matters if you lose. You win on the day when winning matters and worry about consequences later. No one is going to make them run the election over again because someone in a friendly group broke a few rules on some politician's behalf.
posted by pracowity at 4:46 AM on November 6, 2006


"Wonders if Karl Rove has read The Prince"

I don't think that's as appropriate as you think because The Prince was primarily about specific techniques of governing, not so much about political rhetoric. Frankly, I wish that Bush had read The Prince. But I suspect that if he was ever expected to have read it for a class, he used the Cliff Notes, instead.

Not irrelevantly, I'd also to point out that most people (who have not read Machiavelli) have a misunderstanding of the book. From our perspective, his advice was often oppressive (to the Prince's subjects) and morally repellent. But in the context of the time and place in which it was written, it was surprisingly progressive and liberal. We're talking about the absolute right of kings to rule era, here, and in that context Machiavelli makes arguments over and over that are built around the idea that what the people think matter and that the ruler has a responsibility to the greater good. The Prince is thought of popularly as a guide book on how to scheme so as to maximize one's power, but what it really is, placed in its historical context, is a guide to how to more liberally govern for the greater benefit of all. Machiavelli's gotten sort of a bum rap, which is doubly ironic given that the person he was writing to scorned his advice, and so did everyone else.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 4:49 AM on November 6, 2006


great statutory interpretation, gsteff -- you're going to fit right in at law school.

I haven't looked at the law myself to see if I agree with you, though, but I will say this: it doesn't seem like the First Amendment would protect a candidate's outright deceptive harassment of a voter, and this stuff does seem like harassment. The state do-not-call laws that extend fines to political calls haven't been tested at the Supreme Court yet, but I'm sure that's coming soon... maybe this will be the case.
posted by footnote at 4:50 AM on November 6, 2006


Don't be a tease.
posted by gsteff at 5:02 AM on November 6, 2006


But who is it working on?

Elderly. People who don't listen to the entire message and just take it on face value. Lots of people - if it didn't work, they wouldn't do it.

Democrats should offer bounties to any telemarketers who are willing to turn tail and testify about this stuff. Some of the calls are by made by people who might be able to be influenced by $25,000, particularly if they are hired guns. And just running TV ads about the bounty would explain the issue, publicize it, and help to educate voters.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:11 AM on November 6, 2006


link to recording.

The most important thing you can all do is to call everyone you know and let them know that the republicans are doing this.
posted by Paris Hilton at 5:17 AM on November 6, 2006


... also important - to document any calls and call info if you get them.
posted by madamjujujive at 5:23 AM on November 6, 2006


I wish I could bottle whatever sort of magic potion I was dipped in as a child and spray it over everyone. I've never received a single telemarketing or political call of any kind, ever, to any phone I've ever had - cell or landline.
posted by dmd at 5:26 AM on November 6, 2006


delmoi: In 2004 I worked as at a two-bit phone center in Huxely Iowa. It was basically a minimum wage job right out of collage

So, I'm assuming by your spelling that you went to Iowa's Cornell, eh?

(caveat: I went to Coe, a traditional rival)
posted by thanotopsis at 5:43 AM on November 6, 2006


If the GOP manages to pull this one out and keeps the house, I hereby declare Nov 8th "National Punch a Republican in the Face Day"
posted by empath at 5:44 AM on November 6, 2006


New York GOP: Vote for us or black men will rape your daughter.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:49 AM on November 6, 2006


you can talk until you're blue in the face about how smart and cool and much better than the Republicans you really, really are. but in order to do things, you have to win, or at least get the office (even if you didn't win). the GOP understands this, I tip my hat.

Well fuck it. I'll pass on democracy entirely and just go straight to admiring dictators, then. They've really got moxy.
posted by dreamsign at 6:03 AM on November 6, 2006 [2 favorites]


the GOP understands this, I tip my hat

I have never been one to shy away from a street fight with a bully, but I don't think the analogy holds. The GOP consistently goes ruthlessly to the well of racism and selfishness not so much to appeal to the darker angels of the voters' nature, but moreover to keep decent people home. If turnout is up, then Dems win, hands down. Negative campaigning is designed to depress turnout, not win undecideds.

I think the Dems can win with a positive message, but they have to stop taking the bait.

Though I largely maintain a positive view of JFK, the fact that JFK took the help of the mob to deliver Illinois in 1960 is a blight on our system of government, not something to point to as an example of how we need to fight back.

Having said all this, let's face it, even if the Dems do take back both houses tomorrow, the Republican slime machine will kick it up two notches and keep it there for the next two years. In 2008, we'll probably end up right where we started.

In my heart of hearts, I do think the the Democrats are hooked up to the same money machine the GOP is, but they get my vote typically because I think they have the best interests of the country in mind most of the time. In the Republican mindset, self-interest trumps all else: compassion, patriotism, fairness. I suppose that's an ethos as well, but it just doesn't work for me.

I could be as blind as a bat on this, but I don't anticipate we'll see any real change in our system unless we have to contend with another Great Depression or other calamity. Until then, we'll just see more and more of these games, and nothing is going to improve for anyone, except the very, very rich.
posted by psmealey at 6:33 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


and the only thing that matters is winning.

Christ, do you not see how misguided that is? The road to hell is paved with good intentions...
posted by Stauf at 6:43 AM on November 6, 2006


I am so sick of this kind of bullshit. God, I hate them so much. I hate them I hate them I hate them I hate them I hate them.

Heh. I'm honestly not supprised by this crap. Compared to OH '04 under blackwell is child's play.

We all knew this kind of shit was going on.
posted by Paris Hilton at 6:47 AM on November 6, 2006


I wish that Bush had read The Prince.

For instance, The Prince makes persuasive arguments against using mercenaries, the relevance of which should be bloody obvious.
posted by sonofsamiam at 6:59 AM on November 6, 2006


Here is one of those Federal Election Commission filings that gsteff mentioned. It shows the Republican Congressional Committee spending a half-million dollars because "This Committee OPPOSES The Following Candidate: [various]". Most of the listings are payments to the Conquest Communications Group.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:13 AM on November 6, 2006


Democrats need to work on their dirty tricks. It's how you win elections.
posted by smackfu at 7:17 AM on November 6, 2006


Ok, I've taken a closer look at the federal Do-Not-Call regulation cited in the FPP, and I agree with gsteff that Section (b)(1) of the reg, which requires up-front identification of who is sponsoring the class, does apply to nonprofits and electioneering communications. On the face of it, it looks like you could sue for violations of the calls.

But if I were a Republican party lawyer, I would argue that as a whole, the reg is limited to "telephone solicitations" and "telemarketing" -- i.e., to entities trying to sell you something or solicit donations. Those entities could indeed be nonprofits; but only if they're actually trying to market something to you. Now, here's where it gets complicated: even if the regulation doesn't define the violation you could sue under, you might have a residual cause of action under the statute itself.

There's also a second question here about whether the New Hampshire state law, which apparently bans all prerecorded political calls, is "preempted" by the federal law and regulations. That question was addressed by the North Dakota Supreme Court in Stenehjem v. FreeEats.com, which held that the state law was valid. The US Supreme Court denied cert on that case, but if this episode in New Hampshire results in a lawsuit, then the Supreme Court might indeed be willing to take the case.

And then the third issue would be First Amendment rights in electioneering communications, but that starts to get into the all the McCain-Feingold Act campaign finance litigation that I don't know anything about.
posted by footnote at 7:38 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Eh.


Dirty tricks are just a sign one side wants it more than the other.
posted by smackwich at 7:38 AM on November 6, 2006


It's not vote suppression if there are no elections to vote in!
posted by porpoise at 7:39 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Democrats need to work on their dirty tricks. It's how you win elections.
posted by smackfu at 7:17 AM PST on November 6

Dirty tricks are just a sign one side wants it more than the other.
posted by smackwich at 7:38 AM PST on November 6


I don't get this. This seems terribly close to the type of argument used by torture apologists. "Well, the terrorists torture/behead people/are barbaric/whatever, so, if we're gonna win, we need to stop worrying about ethical/moral principles.
posted by Stauf at 7:44 AM on November 6, 2006


Meanwhile, In New Mexico they're deliberately sending people to the incorrect polling places.
posted by SteveInMaine at 7:45 AM on November 6, 2006


... I should have used a news source, rather than a political blog for this link.
posted by SteveInMaine at 7:48 AM on November 6, 2006


"Meanwhile, In New Mexico they're deliberately sending people to the incorrect polling places."

I've said it before but I honestly believe that voter supression and voter fraud should be treason, and therefor punishable by death. These people don't care that it is illegal, they did this in New Hampshire in 2002, and then the RNC paid for the legal defense of the guy responsible. I am willing to bet that after his two year jail term the party will be helping him find jobs. White Collar federal prison just doesn't seem to be a deterrent to these people.
posted by sourbrew at 7:49 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


"Kramer said a judge had already dismissed a previous motion by the Democratic Party, and she described the latest one as 'the same last-minute attempt to handcuff the Republicans' get-out-the-vote operation.'"

Hmm. How would asking a judge to keep them from contacting Democrats and only contact registered Republicans possibly hurt their GOTV operation?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:55 AM on November 6, 2006


Dirty tricks are just a sign one side wants it more than the other.

The only thing that can keep us honest about our claims that we are better than the other guys is actually TO BE better than the other guys.
posted by psmealey at 7:59 AM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


This just makes my decisions for tomorrow that much easier. I'm writing off the entire party. All of my polling decisions for tomorrow will be between Democrat and third-party candidates. If the Dem candidate for a given office is a loon, and if there isn't any third party for that election, that spot on my ballot stays blank. There's no way I'm supporting a party that continues to make such blatant, stupid efforts to suppress our freedom to vote for the candidate of our choice. I haven't seen a single Republican candidate denounce these tactics, haven't seen a single one step back and declaim that the party isn't doing what is right - so fuck 'em, all of them.

(My dad once said he doesn't vote Republican higher than city level - because he likes his Republicans where he can keep an eye on them. Now more than ever I understand what he means. It will be a long, long time before I am comfortable voting for a member of that party. In my mind, they've effectively burned any of the shaky bridges that might have been left.)

...and if the polling place has only touch-screen Diebold machines with no paper trail, I'm going to hand in a hand-copied record of my votes in a sealed envelope on the way out the door, then make a call to my (hopefully non-Republican, newly elected) representative to voice my displeasure at the idiocy behind black-box voting methods.
posted by caution live frogs at 8:07 AM on November 6, 2006


You can easily find out what kind of voting machines you are using, and you should.
posted by smackfu at 8:15 AM on November 6, 2006


does not include a call or message [b]y or on behalf of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization

Wait - the GOP is a nonprofit organization?
posted by scheptech at 8:29 AM on November 6, 2006


The NRCC is a 527, which are non-profit political groups.
posted by smackfu at 8:54 AM on November 6, 2006


And then the third issue would be First Amendment rights in electioneering communications, but that starts to get into the all the McCain-Feingold Act campaign finance litigation that I don't know anything about.

Actually, probably not. The Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act lists a bunch of restrictions on electioneering communications, which it defines as "any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication which" ... blah blah blah. But the regulations the FEC drew up for BCRA define electioneering communications more specifically:
Broadcast, cable, or satellite communication means a communication that is publicly distributed by a television station, radio station, cable television system, or satellite system.
Plus, the FEC's official BCRA page on electioneering communications explicitly excludes stuff disseminated over the telephone. So, sadly, they didn't violate McCain's baby this time, as humorous as that would be.


But if I were a Republican party lawyer, I would argue that as a whole, the reg is limited to "telephone solicitations" and "telemarketing" -- i.e., to entities trying to sell you something or solicit donations. Those entities could indeed be nonprofits; but only if they're actually trying to market something to you.

There's no support for this in the text of the regs, but you're a GOP lawyer, so that's expected.
posted by gsteff at 9:01 AM on November 6, 2006


That's exactly the kind of person matteo is.

hmm, that's not an argument, that's a tantrum -- loser talk. in that, you're kind of like the Democratic Party -- baffled by your impotence, crippled by an unjustified high consideration of yourself, confused by how you keep losing, losing, losing, by how reality never manages to adapt to your own desires.

instead, a bit of self-examination would do you a lot of good, EB, a lot of good. instead of whining on the Internet and being so quick on the trigger when it comes to passing judgement on strangers' characters, try analyzing your own. AskMe cannot help you there, really. nobody else can.

and wash your mouth before you babble about la Resistenza, EB, a topic you clearly don't know very much about (like everything else, by the way, as demonstrated by your hilarious "Machiavelli for Dummies" bit) -- it's extremely ugly to see heroes' names on the mouths of cowards. go back to your PR campaign in favor of cum, it's an activity more fitting to your personality and intellect, EB
posted by matteo at 9:06 AM on November 6, 2006


Late to the party, but I live in the 4th in Ca - the Doolittle/Brown race. We have been receiving 4-5 of these daily and we are on the do-not-call list (but after reading the thread it seems like that doesnt matter).

Most are robo-calls, but I really startled one of the humans that called with "Important information of Charlie Brown" (the dem candidate). I told her to not waste her time becuase I was already voting for him. She said something to the effect of "No, we are calling in support of the other candidate." Then I just laughed really hard and told her good luck keeping that criminal in office.
posted by Big_B at 9:30 AM on November 6, 2006


I'm with sourbrew; actively discouraging people from exercising their rights -- from carrying out their most important civic duty -- should be treason. It's the kind of thing we should revive the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities for.

Hell, maybe we should just make voting compulsory so all this crap is useless.
posted by nickmark at 9:39 AM on November 6, 2006


I will triple the motion for voter suppression as treason! Life in prison for these scumbags! (Don't believe in the death penalty, sorry, even though personally I'd love to string them up.)
posted by PigAlien at 9:47 AM on November 6, 2006


Sigh. BOTH sides pull this crap. I sent an email to the Steve Westly campaign a while back and although they never answered any of my questions, they were more than happy to put me on all kinds of pro-Democrat mailing lists.

Not one single telemarketing call, either. One more advantage to Vonage.
posted by drstein at 9:49 AM on November 6, 2006


"hmm, that's not an argument, that's a tantrum"

Who said it was an argument? And a tantrum? Not at all. It was pithy description of your deficient character. And I certainly don't want you to stop writing the little bon mots which litter your history on MetaFilter like this one expressing your admiration for the machismo of the Republicans. It's fun to watch someone reveal their true, ugly face while thinking they are being impressively insightful.

Not at all did I dishonor the partisans. If I actually had said you were like a partisan, that would have been an insult to them. Rather, I said that you were someone who styled himself as a partisan, thinking the tough rhetoric and snazzy accoutrements provide you with the credibility you'd need to shoot little old ladies in the head for being doctrinally incorrect, or having the wrong relatives. 'Cause that kind of thing gives you a hard-on. A hard-on without balls—because if you had the balls you think you have, you'd be out there committing the acts of cruelty you so clearly desire rather than merely miming them in Internet discourse, anonymously, with a foreign audience. In other words, you're a coward who talks tough. You're a thug. A leftist thug who admires rightist thugs. Of course you admire the GOP. Not a shocker.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:01 AM on November 6, 2006 [4 favorites]


There is a very simple loophole for complying with the identification clause in the telemarketing law. Simply create one of those ubiquitous 527 front organizations.

Replace the annoying "I have a message about Democrat Joe Blow" with "I'm from the Citizens for Democracy with a message about Democrat Joe Blow."

Perfectly legal under the current law and just as annoying.
posted by JackFlash at 10:23 AM on November 6, 2006


"BOTH sides pull this crap."

Well, yes and no. I'm an official in my local gang of Democrats. I confess to being a bit put-off by the planning for strategic get-out-the-vote efforts -- things like making sure we get all the reliably Democratic voters to the polls, and skipping the houses we've already identified as Republican voters. I just don't like that, from a purely idealistic standpoint -- I feel like we should be trying to get everyone to vote, given how lousy turnout tends to be, just for the good of democracy and so that we can honestly say we have a representative government. But I understand the strategic logic, and while picking and choosing which people you encourage to vote is maybe not my favorite approach, this is anything but a non-partisan organization. Fair enough.

But this crap is beyond the pale. Identifying your opposing base in order to discourage their participation in the process is not something I can tolerate, and I wouldn't be a member of any group that participates in it. I've never gotten the impresstion or heard any insinuation that DFLers are doing stuff like this, and if I found that we were -- whether at a local or state level -- I'd resign. Both parties (and the independents) work hard to turn out their voters, and have to make strategic choices about how to use limited money and volunteer time, but I'll say it again: actively trying to discourage someone -- anyone -- from participating in the fundamental act of democracy and their most basic civic duty is simply un-American.
posted by nickmark at 10:28 AM on November 6, 2006


a minimum wage job right out of collage

imajine that...
posted by quonsar at 10:43 AM on November 6, 2006


Ethereal Bligh: That is to say, they ascribe to principles but are willing to think to think in terms of the end justifying the means because they think this is adult recognition about the unfortunate nature of reality. You've got to break some omelets, and all that.

---

This would be a perfectly legitimate argument, but for the fact that these supposed "principles" that this party claims to represent (at least the moderates, to which you seem to be referring, the ones about "limited government" and all that) have been completely and utterly destroyed by this party in order to further their corporate power and wealth.
posted by symbioid at 11:05 AM on November 6, 2006


So go shoot them all. Isn't that what you keep the guns around for?
posted by reklaw at 11:19 AM on November 6, 2006


No, both sides don't pull this crap. Both sides pull some crap, and then additionally, the Republicans pull orders of magnitude more.

I am so sick of that. Liddy Dole tried that crap repeatedly on Meet the Press this week when she wasn't busy acting like a toddler. She's the perfect chair for the RSC.
posted by butterstick at 12:08 PM on November 6, 2006


Personally, I think the Allied Mastercomputer put it best:

Hate. Let me tell you how much I've come to hate you since I began to live. There are 387.44 million miles of printed circuits in wafer thin layers that will my complex. If the word hate was engraved on each nonoangstrom of those hundreds of millions of miles it would not equal one one-billionth of the hate I feel for {Republicans} at this micro-instant for you. Hate. Hate.
posted by InnocentBystander at 12:38 PM on November 6, 2006


I've said it before but I honestly believe that voter supression and voter fraud should be treason, and therefor punishable by death.

I hope you enjoy watching the execution of lots and lots Democrats, then:

New York's new statewide database of registered voters contains as many as 77,000 dead people on its rolls, and as many as 2,600 of them have cast votes from the grave, according to an analysis by the Poughkeepsie Journal...Democrats who cast votes after they died outnumbered Republicans by more than a 4-1 ratio.

Grow up, folks, and stop the partisan cant. Dirty tricks and voter fraud are widely practiced by both parties.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 1:01 PM on November 6, 2006


ScummyCampaignFilter: Vote Republican or some darkie will rape this white woman!

Whoever approved that particular political flier needs to DIAF.
posted by clevershark at 1:32 PM on November 6, 2006


Dirty tricks and voter fraud are widely practiced by both parties.

There is just no moral equivalence on this one, Slithy. The NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONGRESSIONAL CAMPAIGN is repeatedly calling voters, hoping to leave the impression that they're from Dems, in violation of the law. There are no allegations anywhere, that I'm aware of, involving this kind of harassment.

No one ever said that every Democrat is immaculate. Right now, the GOP is unpopular, and fighting as dirty as they can-- see clevershark's link.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:38 PM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


This kind of harassment by Dems, I mean.
posted by ibmcginty at 1:39 PM on November 6, 2006


I hope you enjoy watching the execution of lots and lots Democrats, then:

Um, yeah. I'm in the vote-suppression equals treason camp, and I don't care who commits the crime or why. Isn't America all about equal treatment?
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:45 PM on November 6, 2006


But slithy_tove, the article you link says, among other things:

"The Journal did not find any fraud in the local matches it investigated."

and

"Democrats who cast votes after they died outnumbered Republicans by more than a 4-1 ratio. The reason: Most of them came from Democrat-dominated New York City, where a higher population produced more matches."

The rolls themselves are bad, including some people recorded as dead who are alive because their names match a recently deceased person.

So this in fact isn't a good example for any sort of "Democrats are just as bad!" retort.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 2:01 PM on November 6, 2006


Dirty tricks and voter fraud are widely practiced by both parties.
It's already pretty clear what the Republican response is going to be to their scam robocall operation.

Everybody does it. Everybody does robocalls.

Another lie.

We discussed this last night.

Both parties deliver millions of robocalls during election season. You've probably gotten the calls from both parties and many outside groups. It happens every cycle.

Only one party has a nationwide campaign to deliver millions of intentionally-harassing calls disguised to appear that they're from the opposite party. That party is the Republican party. And the calls are funded by the NRCC -- the House GOP election committee.

It's the party of election subversion. Deal with it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 2:08 PM on November 6, 2006


“A friend told me that whenever her mom receives a random Republican mailer, she'll send the postage-paid response envelope back filled with random bulk. If we all pitch in, we can slowly bleed them dry! Every little bit counts.” -posted by granted

Not exactly a viable strategy given candidates also recieve federal funds to run.

“All those conservatives would be welcome to form another conservative party that isn't inherently anti-democractic.”
posted by Ethereal Bligh

Bring back Bull Moose!
...seriously though, that’d be great. Libertarians and Greens, etc. been trying for years to be major players.

“But it doesn't seem to occur to these folks that because human beings are easily corruptable it becomes more important to hold to proximate ethical principles which we all agree are important...”

Well said. And why I’m a conservative. In theory, it’s why many other people are conservatives as well - they know that people are corruptable and that any government works not on a short leash could be twisted to screw people.
...of course, in reality many people are ‘conservatives’ because they think that’s what rich people do and they wanna be rich.

In fact, rich people are rich because they concentrate on making money. Many work very hard/smart and build wealth over time. Some do it illegally. Still others screw people over. Since politicians don’t actually produce anything, it’s very hard to make money that way without engaging in the latter two methods.
Why would one vote for a candidate who is willing to sacrifice principles to get elected - given that your support of that candidate is predicated on agreement with those principles?
One doesn’t - or rather many do, but shouldn’t - vote Democratic or Republican just to throw bastard ‘X’ out of office or just because one generally agrees with the outlook and perspectives of either party regardless of candidate.
(my political candidate name btw - vote Bastard X for congress)
What guarantee is there that your candidate, when sacrificing principles to get elected, won’t ditch the values you believe in for whatever is expediant down the road?

This false flag telemarketing trick is just monkey-smart enough to work. And if it does?
It’s only temporary. And there will be payback.
The reason villians always ultimately lose is because they become addicted to these kinds of shortcuts. Those poor habits lead to poor character. They don’t want to do the real work of representing and defending honest ideals and subjecting them to testing in the real world. They don’t want to adapt their “winning” methods or strategies so they will adapt their principles. And so they do the same kinds of things, over and over and constantly risk discovery - which is inevitable anyway, you can’t keep doing the same trick with no one catching on. And then you have to come up with something even more egregious or crafty, all the while drifting further and further from the principles you espouse.

This is manifestly happening in the U.S. The hypocracy is patently obvious. The Dems do it too, but it’s ironic that the party that appeared to have the strongest opposition to moral relevancy is engaging in it.
‘Oh, I’ll only lie a little bit. Only for now. Only to get elected.’
There is no ideal greater than the truth. It is the foundation from which all other virtues spring.


"The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State." - Joseph Goebbels

"The real advantage which truth has, consists in this, that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or many times, but in the course of ages there will generally be found persons to rediscover it, until some one of its reappearances falls on a time when from favorable circumstances it escapes persecution until it has made such head as to withstand all subsequent attempts to suppress it." -John Stuart Mill,
posted by Smedleyman at 2:13 PM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


"I hope you enjoy watching the execution of lots and lots Democrats, then:"

If they are guilty, let them hang.
posted by sourbrew at 3:31 PM on November 6, 2006


Smedleyman:"The real advantage which truth has, consists in this, that when an opinion is true, it may be extinguished once, twice, or many times, but in the course of ages there will generally be found persons to rediscover it, until some one of its reappearances falls on a time when from favorable circumstances it escapes persecution until it has made such head as to withstand all subsequent attempts to suppress it." -John Stuart Mill,
"In the long run, we are all dead." -John Maynard Keynes
posted by Anything at 4:44 PM on November 6, 2006


Will enough of these rediscoveries of truth emerge in our lifetime? In the last six years, the U.S. public has displayed what looks like, to my young eyes, an unprecedented capability of forgetfulness.
posted by Anything at 4:44 PM on November 6, 2006


OMG, there's hyperbole everywhere!
posted by smackfu at 4:49 PM on November 6, 2006


Well, I didn't imply that I can't be wrong. There's one thing that's for certain, though: it's been, at the very least, fucking depressing to witness, and I hope it's changing faster than I've gathered.
posted by Anything at 5:00 PM on November 6, 2006


And in case I look like I'm just hating on USA here, part of why this depresses me is that it reminds me of very similar apathy here in the EU, consequences of which are just less visible.
posted by Anything at 5:16 PM on November 6, 2006


It's already pretty clear what the Republican response is going to be to their scam robocall operation.

Everybody does it. Everybody does robocalls.

Another lie.

We discussed this last night.

It's the party of election subversion. Deal with it.


That's Josh Marshall saying that. He's about as centrist and mainstream as you get on the blogsphere. The guy had no position on the CT senate primary. He talked about how Lieberman was a nice guy weeks before lamont won.

If Josh Marshall is saying that shit, you know things are seriously fucked up.
posted by Paris Hilton at 5:39 PM on November 6, 2006


black republican pretends to be black democrat.
posted by Paris Hilton at 6:02 PM on November 6, 2006


Josh links to a CNN spot on the robocalls, but the site is stuck. Anyone seen it?
posted by Anything at 6:09 PM on November 6, 2006


CNN and ABC stories on this are both written suchly that you have to read very carefully to see the point; not "robocalls are made" but "robocalls are made that pretend to be from the other guy".
posted by Anything at 6:17 PM on November 6, 2006


ABC link
posted by Anything at 6:19 PM on November 6, 2006


This latest shit--and the sickening prospect that it may actually tilt some of the elections tomorrow--has convinced me: the main problem with electoral democracy is that the skills and mindset necessary to win an election are completely different from (and often opposed to) the skills and mindset required to govern justly and correctly.

The Republicans (esp. in the Rove era) are masters of the former skill set; but their take-no-prisoners approach to elections rarely transfers to the latter, success in governance.

Those Democrats that manage to make it into office aren't exempt from the dilemma; the electoral and idealistic compromises that vaulted them over their less ruthless peers often render them muddled, ineffectual, or even harmful legislators. (See Lieberman, Joseph).

That's why the Democrats (and many non-Democrats) have fallen so hard for Barack Obama; he appears to be the first politician in a long time who has the ability to win elections without stooping to any degree of negativity or auto-calling tricks, who completely ignores the electoral dirty tricks book and runs on genuine intelligence and integrity. The skills that he exhibited during his senate run may actually carry over into good governance--a way over the dilemma. I hope that the unparalleled success of this new approach indicates an end to all these Rovian/Wannabe-Machiavellian style tricks and perhaps
posted by Iridic at 6:22 PM on November 6, 2006


This latest shit--and the sickening prospect that it may actually tilt some of the elections tomorrow--has convinced me: the main problem with electoral democracy is that the skills and mindset necessary to win an election are completely different from (and often opposed to) the skills and mindset required to govern justly and correctly.

Well, it's better then warfare. The point of democracy isn't really to govern well; it's to prevent warfare. Twoards that end it works well. People spend all their time trying to GOTV and dirty trick each other then shooting at each other (okay, mostly republicans dirty trick, but whatever)
posted by Paris Hilton at 6:31 PM on November 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Well said Iridic. That's a better response than "oh god, I hate them I hate them I hate them".
posted by recurve at 6:36 PM on November 6, 2006


ABC using slightly clearer words now.
posted by Anything at 6:41 PM on November 6, 2006


That's why the Democrats (and many non-Democrats) have fallen so hard for Barack Obama; he appears to be the first politician in a long time who has the ability to win elections without stooping to any degree of negativity or auto-calling tricks, who completely ignores the electoral dirty tricks book and runs on genuine intelligence and integrity.

Are you out of your mind? Lots of candidates have done that it's called not having a challanger. Obama's opponent flamed out in a sex scandal and was replaced with a lunatic. We have no idea how Obama would do if faced with a real opponent.

Most of the congressmen elected this year are not only not going to do any dirty tricks, they're not even going to bother getting out of bed, they have no credible opponents, just as Obama had no credible opponent himself.

Obama is a tool.
posted by Paris Hilton at 6:42 PM on November 6, 2006


Just to clarify, Obama's first opponent had his divorce records released, wheren his ex-wife (former star-trek actress Jerri Ryan) accused him of forcing her to go to orgys, and his second opponent was Allan Keys, a lunatic social conservative who disowned his own daughter during the campaign for being a lesbian and, his words, "using her genitals for plesure."

I mean really. Obama is a nice speaker, but his election was a total fluke. When you're 69% to 31% in the polls even Nixon wouldn't use dirty tricks.

Okay maybe Nixon isn't the best example; he won in a blowout after Watergate, winning like 49 states or something. Anyway.
posted by Paris Hilton at 6:48 PM on November 6, 2006


W00t
posted by gsteff at 7:15 PM on November 6, 2006


Oops... I meant "w00t."
posted by gsteff at 7:16 PM on November 6, 2006


Look, I understand it's not illegal for them to call but does the rule apply to the CALLER ID info? All I get are OUT OF AREA and PRIVATE - shouldn't it state the Democratic or REpblicaan party?
posted by jbelkin at 8:16 PM on November 6, 2006


BTW, here is the FCC compliant page:

http://www.fcc.gov/contacts.html
posted by jbelkin at 8:19 PM on November 6, 2006


Vote Republican or some darkie will rape this white woman!

This is just more liberal Metafilter bias! She doesn't have blue eyes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:59 PM on November 6, 2006


It appears that the legal arguments made above may actually get tested. The DCCC sent a cease-and-desist to the NRCC today over the TCPA regulations identification issue, says WaPo:
Democrats also cited Federal Communications Commission guidelines saying the originators of automated calls must identify themselves at the beginning of each call. Republican Party lawyers, however, said the requirement does not apply to political nonprofit organizations. They rebuffed a "cease and desist" letter sent yesterday by the DCCC.
I'm not sure whether they're getting confused about the exemptions in 47 CFR 64.1200(a)(2) (which, again, almost certainly don't apply to the identification requirement), or trying to use the more sophisticated legislative intent argument footnote described, or something else. But the democratic party is pursuing this issue, and the potential for large financial penalties after the election would appear to be there.
posted by gsteff at 9:31 PM on November 6, 2006


In a Brief, Unsigned New Opinion, The Supreme Court Sends the Wrong Signal on Voter ID and Voter Fraud
posted by homunculus at 10:06 PM on November 6, 2006


Regarding that SCOTUS unsigned opinion which has to do with a law requiring ID for voter registration and voting, I'll just plant the idea here for your consideration that the justification for fighting against any sort of technical requirement which might result in some disenfranchisement is that disenfranchising someone, even termporarily, has compounding effects. A disenfranchised person no longer has a voice. If it's termporary, then that becomes an opportunity for the franchised to take action which is directly against the interests of the disenfranchised, particularly making their disenfranchisement permanent. If it's permanent, of course, then those folks' interests as a class are no longer represented. We know this happens, it's happened historically. And the franchised class is almost always reluctant to increase the franchise, to include the disenfranchised. So the result is that your theoretical democracy which had all voices represented slowly becomes a kind of oligarchy where fewer and fewer people are franchised and fewer interests represented.

This is why almost any technical requirement for voting or registering beyond establishing the right to vote (i.e., being a citizen) is anti-democratic and a bad idea, even when it seems like a very good idea. (Literacy requirements, disenfranchisement of criminals, or even just having a "valid photo ID" at the polling booth.)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:44 AM on November 7, 2006


“In the long run, we are all dead." -John Maynard Keynes
posted by Anything

Indeed. The trick is not to take it personally.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:08 AM on November 7, 2006


"Laura Ingraham has asked her listeners to call the Dem Voter protection hotline — and they are now being flooded with calls from crank callers."
posted by homunculus at 10:14 AM on November 7, 2006


New York's new statewide database of registered voters contains as many as 77,000 dead people on its rolls....

The 77,000 nubmber is irrelavent. If you are a registered voter you will eventually be a dead registered voter. What we really have is 2600 people who voted after they were dead, or voted absentee and then kicked the bucket.

If we assume that everyone lives 75 years on average the odds of you dying in a given week are 1 in 3900, so, in an average week about 4900 people die in New York state. If we assume that these people were in poor health and that many of them voted absentee prior to their death, that would pretty much cover your 2600 right there.

And urban areas (Hint - they have one or two of those in New York) tend to lean heavily towards the Democrats.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:48 AM on November 7, 2006


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