Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How Low Will They Go?

Today I experienced how politics in this nation have sunk to a new low. This is not a partisan rant, per se, though the offending party in this case happens to be the Republicans. I can't say with any certainty that the Democrats don't do this, so I won't say it. The bottom line is this: It has left me so angry and depressed over the state of affairs in this great democracy that I am actually going to volunteer for a campaign as a way to push back. Here's what happened:

I received a phone call today from "Fedr" from a 571 area code. I picked it up and a recorded voice told me that the call was from Federal or Federated something or other and that they were conducting a 45-second poll. The first question was "Are you a registered voter in Indiana?" I said yes and decided to participate in the poll because I WRONGLY assumed that it was being conducted to assess voter habits and contribute to some effort to get more people to vote. BUT, what it turned out to be was a smear of the Democratic congressional candidate from this district. After a few innocuous questions about the election, the recorded voice would pose questions like this:

"Baron Hill (the dem candidate) voted to put more pornography in the hands of underaged kids. Would knowing this make you more or less likely to vote for Baron Hill?"

Each fake poll question started with a rediculously out of context, spun, smear statement about the candidate...the real purpose of the so called poll.

I was so insulted and angry about this that I immediately called the local campaign headquarters for Hill and told them what had happened. They had received several such calls already. THEN, I phoned Mike Sodrel's local office (the Republican incumbent) but got an answering machine. So, I called his DC office. An insipid young man answered the phone. I told him my name and where I was from and why I was so angry and he said, "I will give you the regional office number." Well, of course that only made me more angry so I said, "No, I don't want the local number. I want to speak to you. Now, I know you guys are going to say, 'OH! we don't know anything about these phone calls. They aren't part of our campaign and they aren't sanctioned by Mike Sodrel!' but you better get on top of it right away because it is disgusting and insulting"...I went on a get the idea. I think that I was perfectly firm without ranting but I did make my point. Then, the insipid man said (insipidly), "I'll relay your message." Then I said, "Please relay my message with the appropriate rage level." He said he would and we hung up.

Later on, I googled Fedr and the 571 number that came up on my caller ID. I was directed to a website on which you can enter prank call numbers and find out who is calling you. It turns out that there were many comments on the site from people ALL OVER THE COUNTRY who had received similar "poll" phone calls from that very number. In each case, the phone call was a smear of the democrat candidate in the respective district disguised as a poll. Sounds like the Republican party, or perhaps some "friends" of the party have set up a little calling smear center in the 571 area code.

The sad fact is that so many people are so stupid that they would actually get their information about Hill and other dems from these very kinds of sound byte phone calls.

I am so sad that this is what campaigning has come to. I would rather the Republicans (in this case) have the balls to just call me and smear their opponent directly. Or, here's a novel on their records! Oh, sorry, they must not have very good records to run on otherwise they wouldn't have to stoop so low. And again, I am not saying that other parties are running squeaky clean campaigns...but I do believe that the Rove's Republican Machine has been nastier and dirtier than most have been in our history. I believe that Rove is a gifted individual who has unfortunately put his gifts to very bad use. Imagine if he had put his brain power and talents of manipulation behind a really good cause, like fighting poverty and disease or creating peace.

In our fine state, Senator Richard Lugar, a Republican, is running unopposed. I have to guess that even if he had an opponent, he would never allow this kind of smear campaign to be run in his name. He appears to me to be a good senator and an intelligent man. I don't agree with him on many issues, but I respect his integrity. See, loyal readers...I am not so blindly partisan.

Well, that is all for now. Tomorrow, I will work on a letter to the editor and perhaps the head of the Republican National Party. BloomingtonGirl will not stand still for this kind of fraud. Rest easy, loyal readers.


Perk said...


The usual shenanigans, unfortunately. I've received "poll" calls that were not so blatantly biased but were similar, and it was definitely Republican. Rovian political dirty tricks, at least on the right, are now the norm. As you said, the public's gullibility makes it work. That's what I find so frustrating: the tendency of large portions of the population to believe falsehoods because they sound good, titillate, polarize, make one afraid or are simply repeated enough. This has reached epidemic proportions in our culture.

Joseph Goebbels would be proud.

BloomingtonGirl said...

Chilling, isn't it? I suggest that 1984 be required reading in this day and age. I re-read it last year and was just amazed at how we are living it right now. Scary. Brave New World should be second on the list.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I actually know some very loving, not gullible, very educated and definitely not a bunch of laboratory mice republicans. I actually "swing both ways" myself... Us Connecticut residents (Democrat) do not all agree with the policy however I would like the next Democratic presidential candidate to actually address HOW we are going to get out of this mess...and how are we going to rebuild after Katrina and how are we going to prepare for the next disaster. If the next democratic candidate can convince the "gullible" states of A PLAN in these three areas...then perhaps change will happen...

A Virgo ... (Anne from CT)

Anne said...

Just forget my last statement...I thought it sounded good at the time..but in truth it sounds very defensive...frankly I am frustrated with both parties...It is just not clear to me how this country is going to ever get out of this mess...I have actually been very dissapointed for years....and in often find politicians to be very is a great country with too many "cooks in the kitchen".. I think I am done with commenting on any has caused me great stress all day...

Valerie said...

A very reputable source just informed me that these phone calls are coming from the Independents, not the Republicans. So there!