I hate robocalls. For those of you who don’t know what a robocall is, know that you’ve gotten one, even if you didn’t know what it was. You know those automated calls you get that just play a recorded message when you pick up the phone? That’s a robocall, and they are much beloved by telemarketers, bill collectors, and political campaigns because they are cheap and easy.
Recently, in Michigan where the state is about to hold its Presidential primary, one of those “friends of the candidate” groups ran a big robocall in support of Rick Santorum that was unusual because it targeted Democratic voters. Here is the text of the call (and you can hear it for yourself here).
Michigan Democrats can vote in the Republican primary on Tuesday. Why is it so important? Romney supported the bailouts for his Wall Street billionaire buddies but opposed the auto bailouts. That was a slap in the face to every Michigan worker, and we’re not going to let Romney get away with it. On Tuesday join Democrats who are going to send a loud message to Massachusetts Mitt Romney by voting for Rick Santorum for president. This call is supported by hardworking Democratic men and women and paid for by Rick Santorum for president.
This really is the sort of “inside baseball” stuff that gives average folks ample reason to hate politics. Political junkies love stories like this because it’s very easy to turn a nothingburger issue and blow it up into ZOMG THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVAR. But let’s slow down for a second and look at what the story really is: Rick Santorum, who is clawing for every vote he can get in a hostly contested primary that allows anyone to vote for any candidate they please, made a fairly small effort to get Democrats to vote for him. Is that really such a terrible thing?
Oh, but the Romney stalwarts have pointed out some progressive howler monkeys like Kos have asked Democratic voters to do the same thing, because they apparently believe that Santorum is easier electoral meat for Barack Obama than Mitt Romney. Maybe he is. So what? Rick Santorum would be foolish not to try his level best to get votes from anywhere he can, and if he does end up as the nominee, there’s a chance that some of those votes can stick in the general election. Not every Democratic blue-collar voter (and Michigan is packed full of them) is a sure vote for Barack Obama nor is every Democrat a raging progressive bent on dragging us kicking and creaming into a socialist utopia. And look, it’s not as if Republican voters don’t cross over into Democratic primaries, too. Heck, sometimes even very important Republicans who aspire to higher public office do it once in a while. That Rick Santorum has chosen a similar tactic to one used by progressives does not mean that he has entered an alliance with them nor does it mean he is on their side ideologically. If you truly think so, check with your nearest mental health professional and have them crank the dosage on your medication up just a little bit.
The real question here is why Republican candidates don’t try just a little bit harder to court Democratic voters in open primary states. Eventually, the nominee is going to have to court every voter, and a small amount of effort — a little message here, a mailer there, an advertisement or campaign stop over yonder — could pay off in a few thousand critical votes in November. I am no campaign professional, but I’d think any candidate would want to pull some votes from a pool their opponents aren’t fishing very hard. Santorum. Gingrich, and Romney have all spent quite a bit of time on television, interviewed by hostile left-wing hosts, and most of their debates were moderated by progressive foes, so why wouldn’t they attempt to woo some Democratic voters on their terms? It could keep one of them in the race long enough to win it.
*Yes, I think I need a couple caveats here.
- I am not a Rick Santorum guy. So far as his campaign knows, I don’t even exist. I’ve gotten no calls or e-mails from any of Santorum’s people asking for my direct assistance. I met him once a couple of years ago at CPAC, and to be perfectly candid, I was more interested in meeting the guy he was with at the time, Mark Levin.
- I do not in any way support Rick Santorum’s position on the bailouts. I opposed the Wall Street bailouts. I opposed the auto company bailouts. I opposed the Stimulus bill. I oppose the ongoing “green energy” handouts. I even oppose the current payroll tax “holiday”.
Category: The 2012 Horse Race