Sunday, November 05, 2006


Hate those robo calls? Vote for people who respect the law, the Dems

Via Josh Marshall, this example of Republicans breaking the law to harass voters: It turns out that some of the political phone messages Granite Staters are receiving as Election Day nears may be illegal. The issue revolves around the national Do Not Call registry. A homeowner in Hillsboro received the same message several times in one day. It began by stating it had information about Paul Hodes, the Democratic challenger for the 2nd Congressional District. After a few seconds, the ad turns on the attack. It isn't until the end that you find out it was sponsored by the Republican National Congressional Committee. Example 2, also via JMM: Just as I'd begin to drift off to sleep, the phone would ring and it would be YET ANOTHER DAMN COMPUTERIZED MESSAGE ABOUT LOIS MURPHY. One, two, three, four times a day it seemed, the phone rang with "robocalls" about the Democratic challenger to incumbent GOP Rep. Jim Gerlach in one of the nastiest races in the country. I never listened to one word of it, just slammed the phone down and seethed with resentment. Now, there's an effective campaign strategy, I thought: Infuriate the voters so much that they won't vote. What part of "Do Not Call" don't campaign advisers get? Sure, "political speech" is exempt from FCC regulations prohibiting unwanted phone solicitations. But since most Americans consider unsolicited calls an invasion of privacy, why would any campaign flood voters with prefab rhetoric? Yes, the tactic is cheap - in many cases, pennies a phone call, compared with the $15 to $30 an hour pols used to have to pay for telemarketers to call the old-fashioned way. There are dozens of online computerized-call firms available to do the dirty work. And it's much cheaper in a costly media market such as Philadelphia to use robocalls than to pay for TV ads. But if they annoy voters rather than enlighten them, what's the point? That's what I asked Lois Murphy's campaign yesterday. The answer was simple: "It's not us!" Only three recorded calls have been made on behalf of Murphy's campaign, including one from Gov. Rendell, which were sponsored by the Democratic State Committee. The rest? A "dirty trick" by the Republicans, said communications director Amy Bonitatibus.
Happily, here in SW VA, we've not been swamped with robocalls, even though it's a very tight race between Jim Webb and (the hopefully soon-to-be former) Senator Macacawitz.

Curiously, though, every last robocall (which are New England shenanigans so far) have been from the Democratic robocalls.

I'm curious to see if that changes over the next 24 hours or so as things wrap up.
Eccentric: If you get a call at 11:30 tonight and it starts out "Here's some important information you should know about Jim Webb...", it's a GOP false-flagger intended to seem like a Democratic robocall. The call won't mention until the very end that it's paid for by the GOP (if it states that at all), and most folks won't hear that because they'll have hung up in disgust long before then.

Also: The truly evil part is that if you do hang up the first time, it's programmed to keep calling you back at least six to eight times. Not only is that irritating, but it ties up your phone. What if you needed to get through to 9/11 because you or your wife had a heart attack when these bozos woke you up?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

More blogs about politics.
Technorati Blog Finder