Ring, ring went my phone yesterday and today. A U.S. Senator, a state representative and an anonymous, authoritative white man called to persuade me to vote for various Democrats on Tuesday. Sen. Chris Dodd and Mr. Anybody pitched Joe Lieberman, while state Rep. Toni Walker praised gubernatorial hopeful John DeStefano.
At between seven and nine cents per call, these robocalls can add up. If a campaign orders 25,000 calls, that’s about $2,250. The sales pitch from the company representative emailed to the Connecticut Green Party bragged how “successful politicians like President Bush, former President Bill Clinton, Senator Hillary Clinton and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger have used the inexpensive power of Voice Broadcasting to win campaigns. Our company has delivered millions of messages recorded by these leaders, and by many, many other state, county, and municipal leaders.“Best of all, the email promised the Greens that “in order to reach the voters in your district, all we really need is three simple hard-hitting messages between now and the election.” Fantastic. Sign us up. It sure beats organizing volunteers to phone bank, especially if you’re Lieberman’s campaign and have to bring in outside guns.The first call was from the U.S Chamber of Commerce, although I had to do some research to figure out who paid for it, since the authoritative, anonymous white male voice didn’t include a paid for or authorization tag. The man, who probably stands at about six-feet tall, explained Sen. Lieberman’s great record.On my voice mail, I heard: “Hello, I am calling with an important message about Sen. Joseph Lieberman. Sen. Lieberman has a strong and distinguished record in the U.S. Senate of fighting for the issues that matter most to Connecticut and our country. Sen. Lieberman has worked for affordable health care, increased funding for education and protecting the environment. Sen. Lieberman is recognized as being a responsible, principled and effective leader both herein the United States and around the world. To learn more, please visit www.connecticutprimary.com”.On Connecticutprimary.com, visitors see a comparison between Lieberman and Ned Lamont, and if they look in the right hand well, they will learn that the website is paid for by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Connecticutprimary also links to ctbizvotes.com, a function of the Connecticut Business and Industry Alliance.It’s funny, because earlier on Wednesday, Aug. 2, I heard Ralph Nader excorciate Lieberman for tacitly accepting and not repudiating the Chamber’s endorsement. Nader called the Chamber a vicious pro-business lobby that has only endorsed two Democratic Senators this year, Lieberman and Nebraska’s Ben Nelson. One of the Chamber’s proxy agents, the Institute for Legal Reform, has been sued in Washington state court for election law violations.Lieberman keeps great friends.The second message on my voice mail was from Toni Walker, the state representative from the 93rd district, down in New Haven. She vouched for DeStefano’s injured character, and called Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy a liar. Politics is a war of words.“Hi, this is State Representative Toni Walker. As an advocate for women’s issues, I support Mayor John DeStefano for Governor. Sadly, Dan Malloy falsely attacks on tv and in mail John’s health care plan for women. John’s plan covers all womens health issues, including overnight stays for vasectomy, full birth control and three day hospital stays for caeserean births. Malloy admitted in the Channel 8 debate that John’s health care plan covers all women’s issues. Apparently Dan Malloy will say anything to get elected. Vote for an honest Democrat on August 8, vote John DeStefano.“My favorite, though, was the begruding tone of Connecticut’s senior Senator, Chris Dodd, asking me to support his good friend Joe Lieberman, who always has the interests of Connecticut at heart. Dodd stressed the Lieberman’s support of the Hartford-New Britain busway project, the high-speed Bridgeport Ferry and a few other mass transit projects.Lieberman has made the busway happen, alright. Five years ago, the Connecticut Department of Transportation estimated the cost at $100 million. This spring, I heard ConnDOT’s budget for the same 10-mile strip of pavement slated at $335 million.Though Dodd didn’t mention that bit, he asked me to support Joe, and said the ad was paid for and authorized by Friends of Joe Lieberman, and www.joe2006.com.So, according to the company’s literature, if I get one more call from Joe, I’ll be convinced to vote for him. Or not. After 18 years, I’m ready to kiss his sorry self goodbye.