Tuesday, November 07, 2006

An absurd backfire or an incredibly clever variant on the robocall?

After the robocalls got shut down in Indiana because of their violations of state law, the firm changed their strategy.

Instead, they had live callers with extremely heavy accents calling Indiana voters to attack Hayhurst as "bad on immigration". This got covered in the Fort Wayne Press. Later, it got picked up by the team over at Talking Points Memo in the midst of their outstanding work unraveling what is going on with the robocalls. Later this got covered by UPI, and then picked up by Will Bunch over at Attytood.

Both TPM (or at least guest poster DK) and Attytood noted the irony of these calls. Namely that the calls attacking Hayhurst as bad on immigration were using either immigrants or outsourced calls.

I think they missed something. The clue is in both pieces - according to the Republican incumbent in the District, only one thing could be easily understood - the name of the Democratic challenger in the district, Tom Hayhurst. Except of course, that's not quite right. Two things could be understood, the other one being that the caller was not "local"

So was that call ironic or "too rich"? I'd guess not - especially given the content of the calls - it's simply too coincidental - it's the real person equivalent of the other robocalls. For the average recipient, they managed to link Tom Hayhurst to 1) either outsourcing or illegal immigration 2) an annoying political call.

It's just too much of a coincidence to believe that somehow the call clearly mentions the Democratic candidate but the rest of the call won't be understood because of, dare I say, (dare, dare) exaggerated accents (Okay, let's be honest, I wouldn't be at all surprised if they have people literally faking the accents).- leading people to hang up or not know ultimately who is responsible for the call. Boom - it's the same double whammy as with the robocalls. If they don't understand the message, it strongly links the Democrat with support for illegal immigration and/or outsourcing of American jobs overseas since it seems like he is responsible for the call, not to mention with being annoyed with a call you can't understand. If people manage to understand the message, it's still a standard hit job on the Democrat.

In fact, the M.O. is so similar that it can't be a coincidence. That is, once the information comes out - the actual Republican candidate then suddenly comes forward and decries the tactic but, alas, (with much consternation and wringing of hands) can do nothing about it. It's only missing Mehlman prevaricating on Meet the Press about independent expenditures and how he's so helpless to do anything about it. (As an aside, I can't believe that Republicans are willing to vote for a bunch of folks that so often portray themselves as a bunch of weepy, ineffectual wilting violets in the face of wrong doing, immorality, and unethical behavior, and not just on this issue of course. Aren't these guys supposed to be the tough love, hard on crime, stand-up moral values crowd?)

Anyway, people have been looking at this as absurd or ironic or just desserts for the Republicans. I think it's more likely to be another piece of the master plan for Republicans this cycle and in this case, they just had to fall back on a slightly more expensive version.

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