Nothing says "life" quite like a robot repeatedly dialing your phone to deliver hateful messages, distort the truth, or stir up emotions. The fact that extremist anti-choicers are now using robo-calls to push debunked lies about "Born Alive" legislation underscores how out of touch, and frankly unimaginative, the far-right really is.
You might recall that the National Right to Li-e Committee used robo-calls on the topic of "Born Alive" against Obama in the Indiana primary, and Obama unexpectedly almost beat (also pro-choice) Sen. Hillary Clinton in a state she should have won easily.
Automated phone calls have been a hallmark of the far-right political playbook for several election cycles, including 2000 when they were used against Sen. John McCain accusing his wife of drug addiction, and him of fathering an illegitimate child. These calls target "low information voters" who tune in to a campaign in the final days and also work to turn off some voters, thus discouraging turnout because of extreme negativity. One way to demand an end to the negativity is to show up and vote, no matter how long the line, no matter the weather.
Anti-choice hero Sen. Sam Brownback used robo-calls in the Iowa GOP presidential caucus, then withdrew before the vote, people were so turned off by the extremely negative campaign he waged. Brownback also used these calls to stir up antisemitism in his first run for the Senate against Jill Docking in 1996. Other candidates have stoked racial fears using these calls, and in parts of the country now, Obama is also being associated with terrorists. As Rachel Maddow points out, this "Charm? Offensive!" by the McCain campaign is attempting to have it both ways, and it could work if voters buy it.
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It’s pretty easy to reject robo-calls and the content in them. Hang up. But if you need a reason, how about this? If Cindy McCain’s addiction should have been a campaign issue in 2000; if the fact John and Cindy McCain adopted a young child could be twisted into "McCain fathered an illegitimate child"; and if bigotry targeting Jews — or bigotry of any sort — is acceptable, truthful and honorable, then the "Born Alive" robo-calls, radio and TV ads are also fair.
If, however, you believe John and Cindy McCain should have a zone of privacy to work through family issues, that we should celebrate adoption, and that bigotry and hate speech are not family values we should promote, then you should also reject the "Born Alive" robo-calls.
Remember, the robo-calls against John McCain in 2000 were done by the very same people working to elect him right now. Irony? Really wicked and messed up Karma? Possibly, but one thing is certain; robo-calls are tactics that should have been rejected long ago, just like the narrow ideologies of the people who use them.