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October 26, 2004

A Weird Thing Just Happened « Politics As Usual »

The phone just rang, and I answered it, expecting the usual telemarketer.

It was, sort of. The guy asked for me by name and identified himself as being from the "Evergreen Political Something-Or-Other". He asked if I had some time to answer three questions.

I thought, "My first political poll to answer! Okay, listen for bias/leading in the questions or tone of voice!"

He said, "Okay, first question: have you already voted by mail-in ballot?"

I said, "Yes." (Because I have, you know. Not quite a straight ticket, but more on that only if you nosy buggers beg me to tell you)

He started saying something, and in retrospect it seemed like he was just filling up space while he was reaching for the lever to hang up the phone, because a second later I heard the double-clicks followed by the dial tone. I waited, just in case he was accidentally cut off and would call back, but he never did.

So. What was this, exactly? Was it an attempt at voting fraud? Was it truly inadvertant? If the next two questions were obviated by the first, couldn't he at least have told me that before politely ending the conversation? My hackles are rather risen at this point, I'll tell ya.

Posted by Nathan at 07:46 PM | Comments (4)

My guess is that it was a "push poll" and since you had already voted there was no reason to stay on the line to try to push to their candidate of choice.

Posted by: Randy at October 26, 2004 09:32 PM time I'll have to borrow a page from Democrat techniques and misrepresent the truth.

Posted by: Nathan at October 26, 2004 09:50 PM

Why I'm Voting Against My Commander in Chief
By David Thalheimer
t r u t h o u t | Perspective

Friday 22 October 2004

I have been a registered Republican since I first became eligible to vote. I've been an Air Force officer for 20 years, first on active duty and now in the reserves. I gladly voted for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and supported his battle to win the Cold War. If called to serve in Iraq, I would willingly do my duty for my country. You might think I'm a slam-dunk for the Republican ticket this year, but you'd be wrong. I backed John McCain in the 2000 primary, but I did not vote for George W. Bush and I'm even more opposed to him after seeing his performance over the past four years. I can't say I'm a big fan of John Kerry, but he's a smart guy and I'm willing to give him a chance because Bush has done such a bad job and shows so few signs of improvement that he doesn't deserve to get reelected. This letter explains why I'm voting against my Commander in Chief.

President Bush would have you believe that he is making hard decisions and doing what needs to be done to win the Global War on Terrorism. While I have no doubt that he is trying, his actions have shown me that his judgment is poor and he and his advisers aren't smart enough to figure out the right way to win this war. Taking out Al Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan was a no-brainer, but the invasion of Iraq was a huge diversion of resources away from the real sources of terrorism. Showing the world that we can and will "take out" any country we want may make puny countries like Libya quiver, but it isn't a smart way to beat the terrorists or our real enemies - it plays right into their hands.

Bush has made no real attempt to win the support of the large majority of Muslims who oppose terrorism. Instead, he has created millions of new enemies around the world - people who used to admire the USA - and these people are now more likely to be recruited by or support future terrorists. It is now more likely that they will overthrow their moderate, pro-US governments, such as Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and replace them with radical Islamic regimes. Far more dangerous to America than Iraq are the radicals trying to take over Pakistan (which already has nuclear weapons), the unpredictable leader of North Korea (which also has nukes), and Iran (which is allegedly working hard to get them). We are less secure today because we are creating more new enemies than we are able to kill or capture. There are smarter ways to track down terrorists and reduce the appeal of radical Islamic ideology, but Bush has decided to take the easy but wrong course of flexing America's conventional military might and intimidating the world rather than rallying our friends and allies around a grand strategy that has a chance of success.

American troops are doing the best they can to win in Iraq, but the decision to go to war and the lack of planning to win the peace were strategic political mistakes made by President Bush, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and the senior White House staff. The rhetoric coming out of the White House about what is happening in Iraq not only continues to mislead our citizens, but it has misled our own troops. It has caused them to misjudge their enemies and make fatal mistakes in dealing with the Iraqi population. Senior White House decisions also sent the message to our troops that they could get around the Geneva Convention when interrogating suspected terrorists - with disastrous results for the detainees at Abu Gharib prison.

President Bush says he has fully supported his troops, but he is really taking credit for good Congressional support and ignoring his own poor record. He has repeatedly submitted defense budgets cutting active, reserve, guard and veterans' benefits, including imminent danger pay, family separation allowance, and the funding of VA hospitals, only to have them protected by Congress. Attempting to pay for tax cuts by cutting military benefits during wartime is outrageous and damaging to our military families.

While national security is of my most grave concern, there are other domestic issues that also matter and can't be allowed to suffer through another four years of bad policy.

I was recently shocked to learn that President Bush, despite all his talk about love of freedom, has attempted to deny our most precious freedom to American citizens who oppose him - the right to free speech. On many occasions, he has used the Secret Service to keep legal, peaceful protesters quarantined in designated "free speech zones" where nobody (especially the media) can see or hear them. Pro-Bush crowds are allowed to get near him during speeches, but people with signs critical of him have been forcibly moved away or illegally arrested. I find this outrageous and intolerable. Some provisions in the Patriot Act are also dangerous to our liberty in the hands of an attorney general who is willing to jail citizens for months or years without any possibility of judicial review. Many American citizens have been jailed secretly, and while I am all for giving the FBI greater powers to investigate suspected terrorists, there have to be checks and balances to protect us from over-zealous government officials. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and all Americans should be wary of any President who is willing to violate our most basic rights.

While I'm not a fan of extreme environmentalists who want to protect every endangered species around, I do care about the quality of my air and water and controls on toxic waste that could endanger all of our health. I'm willing to pay for healthy living conditions, and I don't think that such costs threaten the competitiveness of US companies against low-cost foreign companies that are allowed to pollute. President Bush has attempted to reverse environmental protections across the board and has given big business interests the ability to profit from the destruction of our natural resources. He forced the EPA to stop prosecuting Clean Air Act violators, attempted to increase the amount of toxic mercury allowed in our water, under-funded the cleanup of hazardous waste, reversed EPA bans on the sale of contaminated land, increased logging in our national parks, allowed giant pig "factory farms" to pollute the land, water and homes without having to clean it up, and ignored the threat of global warming. Yes, it costs money to have healthy living conditions and some countries don't want to pay the price. That's when the President has a duty to lead the world to negotiate good environmental treaties, not to refuse to participate, thus guaranteeing failure. He has a duty to protect American companies against unfair foreign competition, not give them a license to break the laws established to protect our own citizens. President Bush has failed to lead the world and protect our citizens from environmental hazards or unfair foreign competition.

President Bush also appears willing to sacrifice our national parks to the interests of oil companies, strip miners and loggers. Once these national treasures have been exploited, they will be ruined forever. Our parks belong to the people and I'm not willing to sell them out for a few bucks, most of which will go to private companies and the rest of which will go to support more government spending or tax cuts for the wealthy.

Finally, let me address the economy. I've never really believed that the President has much short-term influence over the state of the economy. However, I do know that cutting taxes and increasing spending is normally a great way to stimulate economic growth for a few years, while hurting us in the long-term when we have to pay off the debt. Yet, despite the billions in tax cuts and increased homeland security spending, I haven't seen any growth in jobs or spending. I guess that means all we get is the long-term debt. Finally - is President Bush willing to fix Social Security? No - but then again, I don't think anyone in Washington has the guts to do it.

The bottom line is this. President Bush had four years to show us what he can do. He has completely bungled our foreign policy and has been favoring big business interests and wealthy individuals over fiscal responsibility, the well being of our economy, and the health of our citizens. There is no way he's getting another chance if I have anything to say about it.

Sir, you are relieved of duty!

Posted by: WyoDave at October 27, 2004 03:34 PM

Keep in mind that whoever's not employed in September usually is the person who is hired to make these calls. So, folks who aren't necessarily professional and know the gig only lasts for a month are the ones calling you. So, it's not always a great experience.

We only use volunteers, which makes it go much better.

Posted by: Jo at October 28, 2004 08:00 AM
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