Effective Political Fundraising Methodology 101: Lying Your Ass Off
I’m on all sorts of email lists for different organizations of different orientations. Today, I received an “urgent” email from the Minuteman PAC. It provided, in part:
“Since last week when Joe Wilson stood in truth and declared Obama a liar on health care benefits to illegal aliens, the liberal left has raised well over $1,000,000 for his Democrat opponent. $1,000,000 in one week for a seat in Congress!!!”
* * *
“So, let's sum this all up. Because Congressman Joe Wilson has the guts to stand up and call a lie a lie, he has been forced to endure:
--- an energized and well-funded Democrat opponent
--- the hacking and crashing of his website by leftwing nuts
--- the continual lecturing and barrage of mainstream media attacks
--- the first formal rebuke of a Congressman...ever
--- and being called a racist by a former president [Carter.]”
The email was signed by Brett Farley, Executive Director, Minuteman PAC, whatever that is.
One kind of lie is the omission which leads intentionally to a false impression. “. . . the liberal left has raised well over $1,000,000 for his Democrat opponent. $1,000,000 in one week for a seat in Congress!!!” Congressional campaigns are now cracking the million dollar barrier routinely. That’s a shame, it’s a scandal and it’s a fact. And according to politico.com today, both Joe Wilson and his opponent, “former Marine Rob Miller” BOTH have cracked $1 Million since last Wednesday in new money. [Oh, to the extent that “former Marine” denotes history, it’s a thing of honor. To the extent that Miller's campaign sticks it on everything, it’s pandering. Rep. Wilson also has a distinguished military history.]
Being called a racist? Come on, Brett, are you kidding? Surely the “Minuteman PAC” has the guts to endure some name-calling. If not, here's another name: Whiners.
And the best of all: “the first formal rebuke of a Congressman...ever” How shall we respond? Well, maybe . . . You lie!
Congress rebukes and censures at will. Often, the recipients ignore them, which apparently is the posture of Rep. Wilson. (Actually, I don’t blame him for that. He apologized, said it was stupid, and it’s a waste of time to keep it up. The horse is dead.) On 9 July 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 429-2 to rebuke President Obama over his signing statement on 24 June which said that he could ignore provisions of the law he was signing on how a $106 billion loan guarantee to the International Monetary Fund could be used. I haven't heard any "oh how awful's" this week about that. The House and Senate rebuked Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 when they were annoyed by his annual message. Nope, no call to apologize to TR's heairs.
Well, maybe Brett only meant rebukes, not the far more serious censures. After all, shouldn’t Rep. Wilson be concerned about getting a lesser “punishment” to ignore? This is film noire. Representatives censured include William Stanbery (1832, insulting the speaker), Benjamin Gwinn Harris (D-MD) and Alexander Long (D-OH) (1864, saying nice things about the Confederacy), William D. Bynum (R-IN) (1890, bad language), Thomas L. Blanton (D-TX) (putting naughty things into the Congressional Record), Laurence M. Keitt (D-SC) (1856, pulling a gun on other Representatives to keep them from helping Senator Charles Sumner as Rep. Preston Brooks was beating hell out of him on the floor of the Senat with a cane), John Winthrop Chanler (D-NY) (1866, insulting Congress)(maybe he said, “You lie!”), Barney Frank (D-MA)(1990, fixing parking tickets for his bunkie), Gerry Studds (D-MA) and Dan Crane (R-IL) (1983, sexual behavior with congressional pages), John W. Hunter (D-NY) (1867, bad language),
Fernando Wood (D-NY) (1868, bad language), Edward D. Holbrook (D-ID Ter.) (1869, bad language), plus a minor host of others.
So what might we conclude about the clear implication that Rep. Joe Wilson is being uniquely picked on? Well . . . That it’s a lie.
Speaking of rebukes, here’s a funny one: President Obama has “rebuked” Congressional Democrats for calling for the more serious “censure” of Rep. Wilson, calling what they were doing “a circus.” (He’s right, by the way.)
And here’s perhaps the funniest thing about the whole matter. Look at Joe Wilson’s record. This is an intelligent guy, a moral guy and a nice guy. He acted sincerely and with abominable lack of control at an extremely bad time. He apologized for that. As a result, he has the opportunity to be a spokesman for civil discourse. Picture a public service announcement - “Hey, I was impolite. If you act like a jerk, your message doesn’t get across. Let’s all talk rationally and work together.” But if political minelayers and yip-yap doggies of dogma can turn this into millions of ad-bucks, it will only encourage freakish public behavior and communication.
Simply a wonderful lesson here. Children of America, are you watching?
Tales of a Power Chair
One of my very longest-term clients stopped in last week for some deed work. He was my landlord when I graduated from law school, and is a hell of a man. At the age of 95, he still mows his own grass, drives to Florida, and takes women out to dinner. He was telling me that someone bought him one of those “power chairs” that’s advertised on TV to make his life easier. “Ain’t no way,” he said. “I start using that damn thing, I’ll die. That dark angel’s gonna have to catch up to me, boy, I’m not gonna sit and wait for him, by God.”
I cannot improve that attitude with any comment.