But they're taking it a step further. The last, brilliant piece of this puzzle first appeared to my knowledge in a news item on the race between Heath Shuler and Charles Taylor(the Republican incumbent) in NC-11. Shuler has been one of the targets of these robocalls (though it’s not clear to me if they were of the unrelenting variety). Taylor executes a pretty breathtaking Triple Lindy of a bamboozle, while exuding “confidence” no less.
The money quote:
Both candidates in the state's most-watched race _ the 11th District matchup between Rep. Charles Taylor and Democratic challenger Heath Shuler _ took Sunday off from public events. Democrats hope that Shuler, a former college and NFL quarterback, can knock off Taylor as part of the party's efforts to win control of the House.
A confident Taylor issued a press release Sunday afternoon saying that if re-elected, he will seek legislation to prohibit the use of automated political phone calls. He co-sponsored a similar bill in 2005.
The so-called "robocalls" have been one tool used in a campaign that has featured weeks of nasty political ads on television.
Wow. There you have it. He's confident, in large part because he's got the NRCC robocalling against Shuler. Remember these are the robocalls that are win-win - either they turn off the voter to the attacked candidate because their name gets linked to an unrelenting torrent of calls or because the person at the other end listens to the entire hit job. Then, Taylor executes the third element and argues that he should be re-elected because he'll stop the calls. Don't forget - Taylor even used Direct Strategies to the tune of other 100 grand in the last election cycle. Quite a scam he's got going there - re-elect me and I promise I'll make it illegal for me to repeatedly harass you over the phone. Lather, rinse, and repeat every two years.
This was quite a site, and despite a largely complacent press, still took some chutzpah to try and pull off. But it turns out - it wasn't anything special - it turns out it's all part of the plan. Republicans now appear to be using the barrage of robocalls that they are responsible for as a last minute campaign issue - TPM Muckraker has another example from New York today.
Is it too much to ask that reporters connect the extra dot here? Could they actually maybe point out that Taylor and/or the Republican party has been behind these calls and benefiting tremendously from them. And simply and straightforwardly ask, how can we expect you to correct this problem when you are in large part complicit if not directly responsible for the problem. In fact, an enterprising reporter might go to a couple of extra dots and show how this is pretty much the way Republicans are playing this game everywhere. Deluge and harass their constituents with robocalls. Tsk-tsk or even emit strongly worded press releases condemning the calls, while both clearly disowning them and, sadly throwing up one’s rhetorical hands at being unable to do anything other than saying the equivalent of “Well, gollllllee, I wish there was something I could do to halp you Aunt Bea”. And then promise to if re-elected (notice they already could have done something about it - how about a question on that), fix the problem. Right - that will happen. Maybe if Olbermann follows up on the robocalls.
Of course, if the press (or the law) ever catches up with any of these crooks and their shenanigans, it’s really only a matter of time before we start seeing press releases saying that it was the alcohol that made them bombard us all with their robocalls, right?