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Thoughts on Phone Calls

Do We Lose as Many Votes As We Gain?

On this day that will live in infamy, this may not be the most pressing of concerns, but at some point I think that the effectiveness of all these phone calls we make in the get-out-the-vote effort should be questioned.

I kept on reading here on Red State that we had to work, work, work to get the vote out to defeat Barak. So finally, on Monday, I went over to my local RNC headquarters and volunteered to make some phone calls. I was handed a list of numbers and a little speech to give when people answer and went at it.

Lots of wrong numbers. And when I did get through, a couple people told me that the person I was asking to talk to “didn’t vote.” That seemed a little strange; how did that person get on the list if he or she isn’t a registered voter? Perhaps, I think, this person is tired of being badgered by RNC phone soliciters and just wanted to be left alone. This theory was borne out further when, after I identified myself as an RNC volunteer, another respondent said, “You’ve just lost yourself a vote.” He then informed me that he’d been contacted fifteen “bleeping” times and was “bleeping” sick of it. I can’t say that I was unsympathetic to the response, and apologized as I tried to get off the phone. For a larger number of calls, I recited into an answering machine the little blurb I’d been handed about how “John McCain supported victory in Iraq while Barak Obama voted for surrender, bla, bla, bla.” But after you’ve had umpteen phone messages getting with that or similar pitches, are you likely to go out and vote or are you just as likely to be sick of people bugging you and just stay home?

I left RNC headquarters after going through one list of numbers. I could have stayed, but Mr. You’ve-Lost-Yourself-A-Vote made me question the effectiveness, and even the propriety, of what I was doing. I felt what I was doing was harassment as much as anything else. How many times can you leave messages on peoples’ machines, or ask people to vote for John McCain, before you are more than anything else just a pain in the rear end that the respondent is sick of hearing from?

We all want to do our part, and it’s frustrating to sit by and watch your country go down in flames without trying to do something yourself. But are incessant phone calls to potential voters really helping elect anyone? As much as it might seem like passing the buck, wasn’t getting out the vote the job of John McCain, after all? Wasn’t it up to him to get out the vote by articulating a coherent, consistent message, producing effective commercials for the radio and TV, debating effectively, and not letting “honor” get in the way of mentioning that his opponent was friendly with anti-American nutjobs and had supported legalized infanticide? Aren’t we fooling ourselves when we think that by badgering marginally interested people with phone calls that we are making up for the lousy job the man or woman at the top of the ticket is doing? Are we chasing away as many or more people from the polls as we might by chance be convincing to go out and vote by making all these calls?

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