I suppose it was inevitable that Google would find this diary and some odd and interesting Google searches would show up in my stats. Enter “visible thong strap” (with quotes) into Google, and you end up solely hitting this diary. I only bring this up because I suspect that this entry will probably make for some interesting search engine fodder down the road. We will now return to our regularly scheduled program…
One the few things I do like about plane rides is that I get to catch up on my reading. I got to read two books almost entirely on this trip. I finished Mitch Albom’s The Five People You Meet In Heaven. I started and nearly finished Al Franken’s Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right.It is the latter tome that holds my interest now.
One of the charming things that I learned about in this book is “push polls”. Brain child of the late Republican political strategist Lee Atwater, the push poll is a way to even the electoral odds when a rival cannot be assailed through policy ideas or charisma and must be attacked using lies and innuendo. It takes the telephone opinion poll and turns it into a weapon to slur and demean opponents using irrelevant facts (in the best case) or outright lies (in the all-too-common worst case).
Mr. Franken gives a prime example of how this works in the story of the very first victim of the push poll, Max Heller. Max Heller was an Austrian born Jew who escaped the Nazi Holocaust as a young man immediately before the start of World War II. He met a lovely young woman in the mid-1930’s in Austria, got her family to assist him in his escape to the United States, and eventually married her. He became a naturalized citizen, prospered, and eventually ran for Congress in 1978. He was ahead in the polls until a series of anonymous telephone “opinion polls” were carried out in his district which asked the following sort of question “Would you feel better or worse about Max Heller knowing that he is a foreign-born Jew who has not yet accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior?”
Given that we are entering Presidential Election season in the United States once again, I am not looking forward to the mud and slime that Karl Rove, a devout disciple of the Lee Atwater method, will inevitably throw against the Democratic contender (likely to be John Kerry). Goodness knows, President Bush is likely to not be able to persuade a wide majority of the nation to vote for him on his ideas and his record alone. So questions of “character” and “family values” will have to be raised… which I think we all know means push polls that say “Would you be more inclined to vote for John Kerry knowing that he is a descendent of European Jews who refuse to accept Chirst as their Savior, a divorcee, and fornicator with Hollywood celebrities like Catherine Oxenberg and Morgan Fairchild?”
So, it is in this inevitable spirit of meaness, obfuscation, and prevarication that we will encounter this summer, that I offer some “push poll” questions of my own:
- Would you feel better about voting for President George W. Bush knowing that he once hit and killed a small Mexican-American boy while driving his car in rural Texas in 1970 after snorting two vials of cocaine, only to have his father hush it up and lie about it later?
- Would you look upon the Republican Party more favorably knowing that conservative spokesperson and author Ann Coulter is the submissive sex slave of a former arms dealer and crack dealer turned Black Muslim extremist?
- Would you feel better about George W. Bush’s vision of America knowing that his policy advisor Karl Rove offered Paris Hilton a large undisclosed sum of money to create her own private sex video for him?
- Would you see the Religious Right in a more favorable light knowing that that Ralph Reed only turned to Jesus because he had a homosexual experience in college and secretly enjoyed it more than any other sexual experience he’s ever had?
- Would you be more likely to vote for a Bush/Cheney ticket in 2004 knowing that Vice President Cheney’s last heart attack occured in his bed room immediately following odd mewling and growling noises that were rumored to be made by “Buster”, his pet St. Bernard?
These questions are blatently false and leading, I know. I’m a very, very bad man, but, no worse than some members of the party whose views I oppose.