Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Republican Dirty Tricks, 2002 New Hampshire Edition

At McClatchy:
A former GOP political operative who ran an illegal election-day scheme to jam the phone lines of New Hampshire Democrats during the state's tight 2002 U.S. Senate election said in a new book and an interview that he believes the scandal reaches higher into the Republican Party.
One of his tactics, Raymond said, was angering union households with calls in which people with Latin-sounding voices talked favorably about a rival candidate's support for the North American Free Trade Agreement. And he used the voice of an angry black man, posing as a Democrat, to stir up "fear, racism, bigotry" in white neighborhoods.

Shortly before the November election, New Hampshire Republicans hired his Alexandria, Va.-based consulting firm, GOP Marketplace, for $15,600 to barrage Democrats' phone lines on Election Day with 800 hang-up calls per hour amid the tight Senate race between Sununu and Shaheen.

The tactic was aimed at disrupting efforts by five Democratic offices and a firefighters' union in Manchester, N.H., to shuttle voters to the polls. The state Republican Party chairman, John Dowd, halted the calls after the first hour, saying he feared that the operation was illegal.

Among other things, it is obvious that these people do not believe in democracy.


Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Who's "these people?" You mean thest people?

You kill me, man.

4:14 PM  
Blogger The Mystic said...

Tom's like a big game of "Name that Fallacy!":

Fallacy name: Tu quoques.

I win!

7:42 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Oh, start thinking for yourself, man, instead of being a mouthpiece for the man.

Republicans do squirrelly thing.

Obviously, they hate democracy.

Democrats did same sort of squirrelly thing, and 4 years more recently.

Just axin' if Democrats hate democracy.

And your answer is...

8:03 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

TVD, here's teh syllogism you assume:

- X is an idiot.
- X is a Bushist.
- Therefore, all Bushists are idiots.

May be true but not as a consequence of the first two propositions.

We can talk about scale of the respective criminal operations and the knowledge of them high in the respective campaign hierarchies later if you still insist on wearing your ill-fitting tu too.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

LL, you're right. I think it's called the Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Actually, that was WS' argument, apparently. I just filled in y for x.

I think you're allowed to do that.

4:37 PM  
Blogger Myca said...

Yes, I'd agree that neither the people in the original story nor the people in the story Tom links believe in democracy. The question for me is how far up the food chain it goes and how many people are involved.

After all, I have no problem believing that Republican Activist A (RAA) acts in a way which is evil or that Democratic Activist B (DAB) does the same . . . and I don't think that that necessarily indicates anything about their respective political affiliations.

However, if it became clear that either RAA or DAB is doing these vile, antidemocratic things on orders from someone fairly high up in their party's ranks, then I stop thinking of it as a 'one bad apple' kind of a situation and start to worry about whether or not there's something wrong with the party itself.

I guess the question is which this kind of situation is.


5:46 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

Nope, TVD, you speciously took WS's argument to be so transparently vacuous by the simple means of conflating 'these people' with 'Republicans'. This suited your purposes, as you then proceeded to make the exact logic error you now impute to WS on the subject of the Milwaukee miscreants. It was the only way you could get to your mote in WS's eye argument. Some gentleman.

12:03 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

The reference to "these people" was only to this miniscule handful of Republicans, not a reflection on the whole party?

12:19 AM  
Blogger Myca said...

That's how I took it.

Now, like I said, I think it could apply to the party or a regional subset of the party, depending on how high up this went. If it was something Raymond came up with all on his own, then yeah, it's his thing and nobody else's.

12:33 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

See, when I read "Republican Dirty Tricks" in the title, and "these people," I don't think of individuals, I think of tarring the whole group.

But I'm probably being oversensitive. But you do say it could be the whole party, so that confuses me a little, Myca.

I'm sure WS wrote a post about the sons of elected Democrat officials slashing the tires of 25 vans under "Democrat Dirty Tricks" and I just missed it.

Referring only to the Democrat individuals involved, of course. "These people."

Sorry, WS, and thx for clearing this up, Myca.

1:14 AM  
Blogger Myca said...

But you do say it could be the whole party, so that confuses me a little, Myca.

Well, let me put it this way.

If I read about some random Republican activist slashing tires, and it seems to be because he, personally, is an asshole, then yeah, he's an asshole.

If I read about some random Republican activist slashing tires, and it seems to be because he was hired and told to slash tires by Dick Cheney then I think it reflects on the entire Republican power structure.

And I'd say the same thing if you replaced Republican with Democrat and Dick Cheney with Nancy Pelosi.


7:47 AM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

What Myca said...

To compare and contrast some salient facts:

- Both crimes were targeted at GOTV efforts in close elections.
- The Republican Party of New Hampshire paid $15,000 for the services that violated the law, while there's no evidence I'm aware of that the Democratic Party was involved.
- Phone records show consultation with the White House political operation (but by no means prove it was related to the phone jamming). There's no evidence of consultation with the Democratic Party in the Milwaukee case.
- Despite testimony (again, not proof) against higher Republicans, only one person has done time for the phone jamming. Several people have been sentenced in the tire slashing. Every one of them received more than the three months that the Republican phone jammer got.
- The Republican effort damaged the Democratic and labor campaign. The Democratic effort damaged property, as well as the Republican campaign, which explains some of the sentencing disparity.
- The RNC continues to pay for the legal defense of its officials. The DNC did not pay for legal defense of the tire slashers, as far as I know.

On the whole, not symmetrical...

Last, when the tire slashers write their book and it's in the news again, maybe WS will comment on it. But it's not his obligation to comment on whatever you (or I) want him to comment on.

Meanwhile, you have a blog; have at it. You can claim that you're balancing Philosoraptor. Whatever.

8:27 AM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

The Democrat slashers were sons of party officials, for the record, not random people. And it was a concerted conspiracy, not a random act.

But I think the GOP thing stinks, make no mistake. I objected to "these people" as a rather fat brush. If WS said it wasn't intended that way, I'd take his word for it. Otherwise, we're playing the innuendo/disingenuousness game, and my objection stands.

4:10 PM  
Blogger lovable liberal said...

Somebody slashed a Democrat???

Oh, right, Democrat Party and "just axin'" ebonics. Fun stuff!

As for the "conspiracy", the Democratic malefactors were connected to the campaign, two of them by birth. But they claim their plan was just to decorate the Republican HQ with Democratic literature. Pretty aggressive (and petty), but it might have stopped short of vandalism and been dismissed as a prank akin to sign tampering - nothing to be encouraged or excused but not very serious.

Unfortunately for these idiots, the Republicans had a security guard, so they improvised by slashing tires. I wonder how much alcohol was involved.

If these claims from the defense are true, was this a legal conspiracy? Dunno. Someone with more knowledge of Wisconsin criminal law than I have will have to comment on that.

By contrast, the Republican operation in New Hampshire was planned weeks in advance, paid for, and executed. They didn't just get up early on election day and trip over an idle autodialer. Conspiracy? Again, I lack the legal knowledge, and there are unproven facts, too.

But of the two, this is the operation that was truly concerted.

5:12 PM  
Blogger tehr0x0r said...

Warning, this post moves away from pure logic at the start

/rant on
I have two quotes that I think fit this situation...
1) You shut up and we'll be right
2) Just because you are unique doesn't mean you are useful

I've tried to not launch personal attacks and just let you have your own little diluted world but this has got to stop at some point. Both Republicans and Democrats have issues, here an issue of the Democrats messing up was pointed out. Do issues with Democrats get pointed out on this blog as often as those of Republicans? No, but aside from the fact that there is a center/left leaning here there is the issue that the Republicans have done more, at least in recent history. No one is saying Democrats don't screw up, just saying that we have seen Republicans do so more often in the past few years. Get off your high horse.

/rant off

2:01 PM  
Blogger Tom Van Dyke said...

Actually, getting off one's "high horse" is exactly what I'm urging. When I see other posts with "Conservative Disregard for Human Rights" in the title [that would be 3 posts below this one], I perceive a pattern of asserting moral inferiority on the part of "these people."

Your comment itself insinuates it. No, actually, it just flat out says that the GOP has been worse, at least lately. These people.

But there's a genuine possibility that you just don't get the balance. The most recent thing I could think of was when the Louisiana Democratic Party slimed Bobby Jindal on religious grounds a few months ago, and I honestly couldn't find it in the traditional news media, despite all sorts of google terms.

Did you hear about it? Because it was so divisive and dishonest, appealing to a long-standing bigotry that it was worthy of Republicans, and I mean that as a compliment., a worthy effort, tears its dishonesty apart.

Now, I'm used to exaggeration and distortion in politics.'s homepage has plenty happening as we speak from both sides in this presidential campaign.

But I thought the Jindal thing crossed the line. Did you hear about it? Or did you hear about it and think it was defensible?

Because I think "these people" have no decency. And these people, who blame Republicans for their own filth.

There was no way that Billy Shaheen, co-chairman of Hillary Clinton's campaign in New Hampshire, was pushing a meme that wasn't all over the campaign. He just got caught with his hand in the innuendo jar, so his head rolled.

And you'll vote for "these people" anyway, let's face it. And I won't blame you, because the two-party system will leave you no choice. So let's just dial it back a little.

"I reach out to Republicans and independents even though I stick to my guns when it comes to policy and positions," [Obama] said. "If we use a different language, we can get those supporters. If we go in saying Republicans are bad, evil people, then we can’t."

Now, I'm not saying Republicans don't do the same stuff as the Jindal thing. They do. And mebbe Obama actually thinks Republicans are bad, evil people, I dunno, he doesn't say. But if so, I appreciate him keeping it to himself. It's good for the republic.

And FWIW, if someone on my conservative blog went after "these people," I'd pipe up in their defense if the brush seemed overbroad. Neither would I blame a lefty reader for commenting if he felt personally insulted.

And for the record, I'm deluded, not diluted. Full strength, baby. Concentrated.

4:35 PM  

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