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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

When our side does it, it's wrong, too

This made me quite angry earlier today:
Inaccurate sample ballots describing [Maryland] Republican Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. and Senate candidate Michael S. Steele as Democrats were handed out to voters in at least four polling sites in Prince George's County this morning.

The ballots were distributed by people who said they arrived by buses this morning from Pennsylvania and Delaware.

Erik Markle, one of the people handing out literature for Ehrlich, who is seeking reelection, and Steele, the current lieutenant governor who is campaigning to replace retiring Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D), said he was recruited at a homeless shelter in Philadelphia.

After a two-hour bus ride to Maryland, Markle said the workers were greeted early this morning by first lady Kendel Ehrlich, who thanked them as they were outfitted in T-shirts and hats with the logo for Ehrlich's reelection campaign. Nearly all of those recruited, Markle said, are poor and black. Workers traveled to Maryland in at least seven large buses.
That's just a sampling of the kind of shennanigans Republicans seem to be up to today (nothing on that scale seems to be coming in from Dems) in a sneaky, underhanded attempt to trick people into voting for them. If Republicans don't have enough faith in their own candidates--or in the name of their own party--to let them stand on their merits, then maybe they should consider what to change internally instead of playing this kind of dirty pool

Then I saw this:
Plenty of people are talking about the phone messages they received today from Fair Wisconsin, the group pushing for a no vote on the marriage amendment.

Many are hopping mad at what they consider to be misleading messages. The messages urge a vote of "no'' to protect family values and to protect the state against activist judges. That's the kind of language normally targeted at a conservative audience. [. . .]

This is what [one call recipient] recorded from his phone:

"Hi, this is Sue. Today is election day, and when you go to vote, I urge you to remember our children. I urge you to vote No on the constitutional amendment on gay marriage. Vote No to send a message that some things are too important to change. In Wisconsin, marriage is a man and a woman. Vote No to make sure activist judges don't get involved and determine what marriage might mean, like they have in other states. Vote No to protect our children, our families, and our way of life. Vote No on the gay marriage amendment. Authorized and paid for by Fair Wisconsin Committee, Michael Childress, Treasurer."
And I got upset again.

Look, we can debate (we have debated, and probably will continue to debate) about the extent to which judges and courts will get involved whichever way the amendment goes tonight. We can (have, will continue to) debate which way--yes or no--constitutes keeping the status quo.

But this script is wrong--not quite as wrong as bussing in homeless people to hand out phony and deceptive voter guides calling the Republicans' marquee candidates Democrats, but wrong nonetheless. Fair Wisconsin has a strong message of fairness that needed to be reinforced today. At the very most, a reminder that this amendment would prohibit the legislature from implementing civil unions, something a wide majority of the state is actually in favor of. I have a hard time believing this script really could have tested well enough that Mike Tate (hi Mike! I still like you as a person!) and the gang would risk leaving this kind of a sour taste in our collective mouth on election day.

[Update to be clear: Nothing in the call is a lie or illegal--unlike what Republicans did in Maryland, or Republican robo-callers nationwide. However, co-opting the language of the other side in an attempt to confuse people to vote for you is unambiguously wrong in my book. Hope that helps.]

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