Running Scared: Observations of a Former Republican
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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

When Mass Mailings Go Horribly Wrong

posted by Jazz at 10/27/2004 11:51:00 AM


Ed Gillespie and the good ole' boys down at the national Republican Party center have launched yet another mass mailing campaign, this time sending out letters to former members of the party how are no longer registered. I can see that as a sound strategy, but when you do a mass mailing of that kind, you run some risks. One of which is that your letter may wind up in the hands of the wrong person.

In this case, you couldn't have picked a more wrong person. The former member of the party in question turns out to be a now very liberal Kerry supporter who also happens to be the editor of a fair sized newspaper that is distributed not only in Upstate New York, but across the nearby border and throughout the Northern section of battleground state Pennsylvania.

Dave Rossie is Editor of the Binghamton (New York) Press & Sun Bulletin. After getting the heartfelt letter from Mr. Gillespie, he couldn't resist having a bit of fun. In case you don't want to register for the online version of their paper, I'll just paste the column in here. It's priceless.

Republicans in pursuit of lost sheep

"He can run away, but he can't hide." Heavyweight champion Joe Louis, talking about his coming fight with a younger and more agile Billy Conn.

Joe Louis was right. I should have known they'd find me, even after all these years. Discovery came in the form of a letter from Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee, addressed to me at my home, but with what I took to be a rather impersonal salutation: "Dear Friend."

Could they have the wrong party? I wondered after reading the opening sentences: "Your name has been given to me as a strong grassroots Republican in New York. Our records show that your membership in the Party is listed as 'inactive' -- although we have tried several times to reach you at home in Binghamton without success."

A likely story, Ed. It's true that the Republican Party and I parted company in 1966 at the behest of Fred W. Stein, then publisher of The Press, who had a rule that any reporter who might be covering politics could not be a member of a political party. I thought it was a good rule and readily complied. But I don't recall anyone from your outfit trying to lure me back into the fold over the last 38 years.

"I hope that everything is okay and your membership is just delayed because you haven't gotten around to renewing it yet. I urge you to take this moment to join the Party and help us create record voter turnout to support President Bush and Republican candidates at every level of your ballot. This election is going down to the wire. Every vote matters and we are counting on your help as we work to keep the White House in Republican hands and strengthen our narrow majorities in the United States House and Senate."

Ed, there may, indeed, be a record turnout on Nov. 2, but not the kind you're looking for. Prospective new voters are registering in great numbers in Ohio, Colorado and Florida, and your party people in those states are doing everything they can to stop them.

"The Democrats and liberal interests have shattered fund-raising efforts by raising historic sums to defeat President Bush and our candidates."

C'mon Ed, the Democrats have raised a lot of money this time out, but they'd have to hijack a hundred Brinks trucks to come close to the money your people have squeezed out of corporate America for this election.

"Our report card is clear: since you helped our Republican candidates win both Houses of Congress for five straight elections, interest rates are at historic lows, inflation is stalemated, record numbers of families own homes and crime rates have fallen."

Ed, if your report card shows I had anything to do with that, then it's about as clear as George Bush's National Guard service record.

"You can bet that John Kerry, John Edwards, Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton are hoping you choose NOT to renew your membership in the Republican National Committee at this most critical time."

Okay, I get it. Now you're not just trying to get me to renew my party membership. Now you're offering me a place on the national committee. Well, you're too late. John Kerry has already offered me a free lifetime supply of ketchup. Edwards has promised me pro bono representation if the law ever catches up with me. Ted Kennedy has offered to take me sailing on the Cape and to a picnic later on Chappaquiddick. And Hillary. Well, never mind.

"So please act today. If you fail to renew your membership now -- the Democrats will get off to a tremendous head start and President Bush's long-term agenda for America will be threatened."

All right, Ed, you've won me over with that argument. Never let it be said that I failed to help support the invasion of Iran and Syria and maybe France. The check's in the mail. Please send me an autographed picture of George in his flight suit on the deck of the Abraham Lincoln.

Sincerely, D. Rossie, born-again Republican.