What do Rush Limbaugh and I have in common? Well, besides for similar political beliefs, mutual friends and determination not to put weight on in middle age. Survey says: we are both “A voters” in the rolls of registered Republicans in Florida, which means our phones are ringing off the hook all day. An “A voter” is an inside-baseball campaign term for people who have voted in 4 of the last 5 elections, including primaries.
Back in 1992, Rush got in trouble when it was revealed that he was not registered to vote. Since then he never misses a chance to cast a ballot. I had made similar mistakes, first scheduling an intercontinental trip that prevented me from voting for George H.W. Bush in 1988 and then moving from Ohio to Florida in late 2000 so that I wound up unable to cast a vote for George W. Bush in either state. Now I am a fanatic penitent who never misses a vote on any level of government.
The campaigns pay big money to get those A lists (although I’m neither sure why they are difficult to obtain nor who compiles them in such an inimitable way), complete with phone numbers, and then subject them to a bombardment of telephonic persuasion. Apparently Santorum and Paul have no money, or prefer to spend it in less intrusive ways, so all week long Rush and I — if the A list includes his unlisted number — are being stalked by robotic voices.
“Do you have doubts about Mitt Romney? So do I. Mitt was involved in creating a system in Massachusetts similar to Obamacare…” (sound of phone crashing)
“Newt Gingrich says he was close to Ronald Reagan? Reagan only mentions Newt once in his diary, saying Newt’s approach would not work…” (sound of phone smashing).
“Mitt Romney says he is pro-life. When he was running for Governor of Massachusetts, he said he would honor the state’s pro-choice laws…” (sound of teeth gnashing).
“Newt Gingrich has lied so much about Mitt Romney’s record that our Senator, Marco Rubio, was forced to come out publicly and call him on it…” (sound of teeth clashing).
To make things even more confusing, the PAC backing Mitt is called Restoring Our Future and the PAC helping Newt is called Winning Our Future. Half of the messages come from these outfits, with the disclaimer that no candidate approved, and the other half come from the campaigns themselves, with the candidates signing off by announcing their approval of this message. On one episode of Jeopardy, the local ABC affiliate created a supreme version of equal time by running the Gingrich and Romney ads back-to-back.
All in all they sound equally daft, they all skate right on the outer edge of accuracy, and it does not take long for their messages to blur together, the approved with the unapproved, both earning our disapproval. To think that people work hard to produce millions of dollars and then turn them over to these politicians who turn them over to these ad agencies and media networks seems like the epitome of futility. I guess before the dogs race to chase the bone, they must first race to chase their tails.
The debate in Jacksonville on Thursday night told me more about this race in five minutes than five hours of this phone nonsense. People have complained about the surfeit of debates, but I welcome them ahead of nonsense ads. I’m for ’em; they are a wonderful forum. Both Gingrich and Romney acquitted themselves well, most notably when they stood up to a Palestinian-American Republican and told him fearlessly that the Palestinians are the problem, not the Israelis. Rick Santorum was passionate and articulate as well, and my voting decision will be based on the substance of their views.
So you folks can stop calling me because I have already decided to vote for… wait, why should I tell YOU?