Robocalls

From TAPPED:

Our own Alec Oveis, who sadly left the Prospect few months ago, calls in from Connecticut, where he’s volunteering on behalf of Chris Murphy (one of Tom’s “Dropkick Murphys” positioned to defeat GOP incumbents this year). He reports that voter fury over robocalls is amazing and palpable at the polling site he’s near. Several people have gone out of their way to tell him and other Murphy people that they’re voting for Republican incumbent Nancy Johnson strictly out of anger at the harassing phone calls they’ve been receiving from the Murphy campaign. Alec and other’s explanations that those calls are actually paid for by Republicans have generally been falling on deaf ears (they are, after all, holding Murphy signs while offering these explanations).

That the Republicans would be this sleazy is not news. It is merely one more bit of confirmation of the point I made in this post. But what is really infuriating is that these sorts of dirty tricks are effective. What kind of pathetic, empty-headed citizen votes for candidate X because candidate Y sent him an annoying phone call?

Comments

  1. #1 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    November 7, 2006

    My impression from past occurences is that if such charges are substantiated, fines might be imposed, but the election results would not be invalidated. In other words, the system does not adequately punish this behavior.

  2. #2 Chris Grant
    November 7, 2006

    Do the sleaziness genes that these people evidently possess bestow upon them an evolutionary advantage?

  3. #3 David D.G.
    November 7, 2006

    Huh? Are you saying that Republicans PAID FOR automatic phone calls PROMOTING a Democratic candidate, JUST in the hope that this sort of irrational backlash would occur?

    Believe me, I am NO fan of Republicans, but that sounds a bit farfetched; disavowal by Murphy supporters who had nothing to do with it doesn’t mean the Republicans DID do it; they could hardly know about everything done by their party or even by their candidate’s supporters.

    And that’s assuming that they were completely honest; I tend to support Democrat over Republican anyday (and especially TODAY), but that doesn’t mean I’m completely naive about how overboard some people can get on both sides.

    However, of course, if there IS any proof that such a heinous dirty trick was pulled by the Republicans to make a Democrat candidate look bad, the party should get slapped down hard. But I gathered from other comments on that site that they don’t expect much to happen, saying that the laws against this sort of thing aren’t stringent enough. Maybe some group could manage to shame Congress into passing harsher laws against vote tampering, if only to demonstrate (even feigned) good faith on the issue.

    ~David D.G.

  4. #4 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    November 7, 2006

    Maybe some group could manage to shame Congress into passing harsher laws against vote tampering,

    Hmm, and that law would be passed by the same people who slimed their way into office?

  5. #5 David D.G.
    November 7, 2006

    Mustafa, I grant that it would be seriously uphill work; note that I indicated that I don’t expect them to be happy about doing so. The only way it could be done is if they felt sufficiently threatened with the prospect of being voted out if they didn’t vote for it, especially if this were tied to each party’s reputation as well. Very tough to do, though, especially with voters who generally have no sophistication, terminal cynicism, and/or a shorter attention span than a cocker spaniel.

    ~David D.G.

  6. #6 fyreflye
    November 7, 2006

    Many here will find this recent essay relevant to our subject:
    http://www.cato-unbound.org/index.php?s=

  7. #7 fyreflye
    November 7, 2006

    Maybe some group could manage to shame Congress into passing harsher laws against vote tampering…

    Shame……Congress?

  8. #8 JohnnieCanuck
    November 8, 2006

    David D.G.

    The ads I have heard described on the web identify the NRCC as the source, right near the end of the speil. By this time many people have hung up with the impression that it is coming from the Dem. candidate. Getting 6 calls in an hour or 20 over a period of days is apparently sufficient to make people mad enough to withhold their vote from the Dem. or give it to the Rep.

    If you listen past the first sentence then the message heard is an attack ad against the Dem.

  9. #9 mark
    November 8, 2006

    What kind of pathetic, empty-headed citizen votes for candidate X because candidate Y sent him an annoying phone call?

    The same kind of unthinking twit that calls for Creationism to be taught in public schools after hearing Jonathan Wells’ convincing arguments.

  10. #10 Mustafa Mond, FCD
    November 8, 2006

    The relevant law states that the sponsor of the call must be named right away, not at the end.

  11. #11 Ginger Yellow
    November 9, 2006

    “However, of course, if there IS any proof that such a heinous dirty trick was pulled by the Republicans to make a Democrat candidate look bad, the party should get slapped down hard.”

    The NRCC openly admits to making the calls, as they are required to by law.

  12. #12 Unocmmon Dissent
    November 9, 2006

    Wow! It sure is a good thing that the Democrats did not do anything underhanded like manipulate web search engines to make republicans look bad.

    http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/topnews/wpn-60-20061023DemsToSetOffElectionGoogleBomb.html

  13. #13 David D.G.
    November 10, 2006

    Thanks for explaining, JohnnieCanuck and Ginger Yellow. I was just trying to be fair, since I didn’t have any prior knowledge of the situation; the original post was in no way clear as to what had happened, what the ads were like, and WHY it was known that the Republicans had been making those calls.

    ~David D.G.

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