Tuesday, April 03, 2007

More Fun With Out-of-State Wingnut Email

The alarmist mail continues to roll in from the rightwing's email press releases. The most curious are the ones that don't generate inside Oregon, but from national interests seeking, as ever, to push our residents in one way or another, on either state or national issues. In our continuing quest to expose the pernicious as ridiculous, the outrageous as hapless and the authoritative as bullshit, we suffer the dyspepsia of having to read these things, but sometimes they're even entertaining.

Grover Norquist has "taken a interest" in Oregon, you might say. Unless they are bluffing with an office front, his affiliation with Club for Growth means he has something to do with the establishment of an Oregon chapter and a potential challenge for Gordon Smith. And he's worked with Russ Walker in Oregon of Dick Armey's Freedomworks on the now-failed spending cap measure of 2006, among others. His email robot is likely geared to send the same boilerplate HTML script for sending legislator emails to every targeted district in the country, but damned if I don't have Grover wanting to get up in my bidness and have me complain to people I probably think are doing an OK job.

The applet itself is actually kind of cool--there's an editable subject line, a stock and required opening statement "As you continue your work on behalf of our district this session, I write to let you know that I do not support higher taxes," and then a series of further statements you click to insert into your "customized" hunk of astroturf. Or you can wing it and free-style complain about sanitation or teenagers or strip clubs or whatever. Heck, you could put photos of yourself doing Sex Pistols covers as part of the email and it would get the same notice. Just in case, I took advantage of the convenience and penned my own note to Messrs. Macpherson and Devlin. It might get a second look just because the subject line is a little off:
Please don't vote to raise my taxes--unless you need to
Dear [recipient name was inserted here],

As you continue your work on behalf of our district this session, I write to let you know that I do not support higher taxes.

Who does? But sometimes they're necessary. We certainly can't expect private industry to help us, nor the Republican politicians beholden to them and their wealthy investors.

So if you need to raise taxes to fairly deal with serious needs--like taxing cigs to give all kids health care--you have my blessing.

And by the way, if you happen to see Grover Norquist, who paid for this email function, tell him to keep his nose out of Oregon's business! You'd think after the TABOR debacle he might have learned.

I urge you to reject any bills that would raise taxes.
Thank you for your efforts on behalf of our district.

That was fun. I might just be animated enough now to get outraged about something I was going to just shake my head at and trash, but two things caught my eye. Here's the text:
You've become so despicable in your actions that America is now turning against you. You are failing.

You promised 100,000 marchers for the "March on the Pentagon" but your march was a total bust with only a few thousand protestors turning out to show solidarity with the terrorists, and speaking out against the fight for freedom.

Leading anti-war senator, Barack Obama, announced this weekend that Congress will not insist on a timetable for withdrawal and surrender in Iraq after all. You've even turned off the more moderate members of your community who have helped me to be able to get this message sent out to you.

We will no longer tolerate the anti-war crowd subjecting America to more terrorist attacks as a result of the defeat-retreat-surrender policies you advocate.

You already have blood on your hands for emboldening the terrorists to kill our troops, we won't let you endanger innocent American citizens here at home.

When you burn American soldiers in effigy you show us which side in the war on terror you stand on, and it's obviously not with America and our military men and women.

We won't back down as you try to appease the forces of Islamic terrorism. We won't allow you to dishonor our troops as you try to reignite a Vietnamized-culture in America.

Sincerely Yours,
Melanie Morgan
Chairman, Move America Forward
The first thing that catches my eye--beyond the totally desperate tone of insecurity--is to see how quickly Obama's statements over the weekend got absorbed by the right wing and used against the Democrats as a sign of fracturing. They are good, they are fast, and they know the wedge points, the weak seams. Whether Obama has in fact telegraphed to Bush that Democrats in the Senate will cave after a veto isn't really the point; even if they weren't going to, now they will certainly be treated by the White House as if they will, and the noise will get louder. I really like the guy, but this was pretty unconstructive talk, and it's almost as if Harry Reid felt he had to stick his neck out further than he wants to right now, just to counterbalance Obama's time off the reservation.

The second thing I see is how quickly Portland's anarchist sideshow has become an emblem for the right to wave, as sure signs they are correct in the struggle that is greater than even the war against Islam: the American culture wars. It's not the brutal terrorists or leaders like Sadr they're focused on; they want to warn us about people in Portland who burn effigies of soldiers, as evidence of our great moral decay.

Still, it's a little surprising to see it put out there quite so venemously--anti-war activists have blood on their hands and are subjecting the US to further attacks? Wow. Is that more or less blood than the pro-war voters who are forcing the people they claim to be defending in this email into further danger and risk of injury or death? I don't get what general malfunction was of the dolts who did what they did and put a shameful stain on Portland's peace culture, but isn't the anger a little misplaced? It isn't protests that's putting soldiers at risk; it's the bombs and the bullets, sorry to say.

You know, I'm not even sure what the hell Move America Forward is. Who is Melanie Morgan again? She looks like a radio talk show host, and her group is lamely styled after MoveOn.org, which can run circles around everything this woman knows about e-tail politics, I am sure. Ah yes, after a brief Googling, here she is--yep, KSFO San Fran. She's a GOP PR flack, and pushing the war is what they sell. One of her better clients is the Kurds, who have her firm make commercials about how well they're doing and how great the US is for helping.

As for vile and inciteful behavior, accusing a national news editor of treason and declaring he should be gassed doesn't exactly reek of the genteel. And you still haven't told me why you're bothering me from California or wherever your campaigns of disinformation are based.

As a coda, it should be acknowledged that national liberal groups also flood our email with calls to action and urgings for this policy or that, but much less often are they directed at Oregonians regarding Oregon's affairs. More often they seek to get Oregonians involved on a national issue, perhaps using their federal representatives as the conduit.

Which is fine with me, but you've got to get the facts right:
Dear MoveOn member,

Last week the Senate passed a bill that included a binding timeline to start withdrawing our troops from Iraq—a position supported by the great majority of voters.

But some of our elected leaders still don't get it—like Sen. Smith, who voted against the deadline, and President Bush who's threatening to veto it. [emph mine]
Er, what? Carla and I stand proudly on the front lines of the battlefield where Gordon Smith's re-election will be fought, but you can't just make stuff up about the guy. Whatever else he's done wrong, he did in fact vote AGAINST the Cochran amendment, which would have stripped the timeline, and then for final passage with the timeline in it. So what, exactly, is MoveOn talking about? Bizarre.