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September
17
2008
3:45 pm
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In the early days, Obama seemed like a dream come true.  I watched him speak a couple of times during the early debates, and compared to Hillary, Dean, and so many other potential Democratic nominees, he was such a breath of fresh air!

Back in January, I posted a comparison of where the candidates stood in comparison to my personal position on the issues, and it showed that I was more in line with Bill Richardson and Hillary than Edwards, Obama, or any other democrat.

We donated $5 to the Obama campaign back then because I definitely felt that I’d rather Obama win than Hillary.  

Since that time, I’ve received the Obama campain emails.  I liked how positive they were – sending a message of change, talking about what’s important, and not doing much to overtly attack the “other guys”.

I set up a separate email address than my personal one – one that I’ve never used before for anything, nor given anyone – and all of a sudden I was subscribed to MoveOn.org.

This surprised me some.  But hey, all’s fair in love and war and politics, right?

Here is a sampling of the worst stuff I’ve received from MoveOn.org:

  • Yesterday was John McCain’s 72nd birthday. If elected, he’d be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for “inexperience,” here’s who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people. 
  • Did you watch Sarah Palin’s speech last night? The speech told us a lot about her. It told us that she can distort the facts and deliver mean-spirited zingers with the best of them. 
  • Here’s the situation: John McCain and Sarah Palin are repeatedly deceiving, manipulating, and flat-out lying. And polls are showing that some of those lies are convincing voters.
  • Angry at John McCain and Sarah Palin? Frustrated with the media? Fed up with the absurd direction this campaign has taken? Don’t sit and stew. Use that energy to put Obama over the top!
  • For weeks, John McCain has run one of the most dishonest campaigns in American history.
  • Looking for a way to make sure the McCain-Palin sleaze-o-rama doesn’t derail Barack Obama’s historic candidacy?

The emails from Obama, ingeneral, were much more upbeat and positive, but it still had stuff that just didn’t read right for me:

  • I saw John McCain’s attack squad of negative, cynical politicians. They lied about Barack Obama and Joe Biden, and they attacked you for being a part of this campaign. But worst of all — and this deserves to be noted — they insulted the very idea that ordinary people have a role to play in our political process.
  • Why would the Republicans spend a whole night of their convention attacking ordinary people? With the nation watching, the Republicans mocked, dismissed, and actually laughed out loud at Americans who engage in community service and organizing.

Then yesterday, an email from Obama asked what *I* thought.  It invited me to participate in an online survey.  So I participated.

Some of the questions really made me think – because you know surveys… just based on how you ask the question, you can make anything sound like anything.  So I paid attention to how the questions were asked and the possible answers they gave – and gave special thought to whether or not the questions themselves were “fair.”

Personally, I don’t like that they combined “Economy” and “Taxes.”  To me, they are completely separate issues – sure, one affects the other, but “Health Care” affects “Taxes” as well but they didn’t combine them.  Another minor nitpic is the obfuscation of “LGBT Issues”.  I wonder if they had spelled out “Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender”, would they get the same answers?

Probably the biggest problem with this question, though, is that it lumps “support” and “opposition” together in the same answer.  For example, if they find out that, hypothetically, 70% of the people who took the survey clicked on”Economy & Taxes”, what will they report about it?  I’m worried that the results will somehow spin it to be that 70% of the people agree with Obama’s stance and that’s not what the survey is asking.  The survey just asks what issues are of most concern.

The next question also seemed a little unfair:

I don’t know about you, but the word “Progressive” sitting there next to Liberal makes you feel like a dork to click anything BUT Liberal.  Sure, maybe “progressive” is a term that’s been used by some to indicate political leanings, but even as someone who does watch a fair bit of news (and NOT JUST FOX), I don’t hear “liberal/progressive” put together.  I mean, I listed to “progressive rock” but it ain’t liberal!

The other potentially misleading question was this one:

They have three answers that indicate strength, and one absense of strength.  Even “not strong” can indicate support in general, just not strong support.  I mean, come on!  They’re not giving anyone a chance to say they don’t support Obama.  With a question like this, the survey can legitimately say “100% of responders indicated support for Obama’s campaign.”

I was hoping that the folks that run the Obama campaign would bring “change” to the survey and poll process too – I want more accurate, more honest portrayals.  I want less corruption.  I don’t want pork barrel-spending, I want lower taxes, I want everyone to be happy, and I want to give to others.

Why can’t I get what I want?

And lo, the people did comment thus:

13 Comments

  1. Avitable says:

    You did hear about the absentee ballot applications that McCain’s campaign is sending to Democrats that have the wrong address on them, right?

    It doesn’t surprise me that a survey from Obama is going to omit “Weak”, “Very weak”, and “Non-existent” options, since they’re sending it out to people who have already indicated that they have general support for him.

    Avitable’s last blog post..Where did you put your wallet?

  2. owlmanatt says:

    MoveOn is always bad. They suffer from a “democrat == automatic GOOD” mentality. Doesn’t matter who they’re talking about; as long as there’s a little ‘D’ at the end of his name, he’s got to be awesome!

    Obama, on the other hand, has kept that mentality out of his marketing (for the most part – the ‘liberal blogosphere’ is a lost cause in this respect), and I think that’s where a lot of his charm came from. He’s elegant, young, upbeat, web2.0, and constantly saying “change”. He runs a very positive campaign and makes people aware of the fact that he’s trying to stave off the cynicism that comes with modern American politics.

    But the key to what I said is the word ‘marketing’. This is usually synonymous with ‘polite lie you tell hoping people will buy your product before they notice and call you out on it’. When he launched his campaign, he was the biggest thing since sliced bread. He was awesome, had an incredibly history, utterly uncorruptable, and could do no wrong.

    Then the months went by and, golly gee, it started looking like he might win this thing. Public financing? That wonderful thing that tries to take The Money out of campaigning so running for office is more accessible? That thing Obama was all about? Yeah, no, he decides it’s broken.

    Seriously, Obama? Haven’t you been a senator for a few years? If it’s so incredibly broken, why haven’t you made any effort to fix it? It can’t be that you just found the spending limits inconvenient and decided to brush them away! No, no, that can’t be! Not you!

    Immunity for AT&T/Verizon for *spying on Americans outside of any legal framework*? He was against that. Even said he’d help filibuster it if he had to. A year goes by, and, well wow, look at that, I’m going to be the nominee. I don’t care about you guys anymore! Do you know how much AT&T can donate? This FISA bill is a necessary compromise…yadda yadda…

    Necessary compromise? Are you serious? How many lawyers do they have? FISA wasn’t anything new to them. It had been around for decades. AT&T probably has a whole FISA compliance group. If they had bothered to ask any of their legal team, they would have been told NO, this is VERY ILLEGAL, the liability you’re exposing us to is UTTERLY MASSIVE. But they did it anyway, and Obama *let them off the hook for it*?

    But hey, that’s all OK. Obama for change, hope for America! I wonder who he’s going to pick for his VP? Probably somebody cool, young, and dynamic just like he is. Another person sick of all the Washington BS who wants to go shake things up.

    Then…we get Biden. The guy who has been in the senate for over thirty years. That’s new, fresh, and that’s definitely very Change(TM)…right? Uh…

    Not that I’m on the McCan/Palin side of the fence. I hate that dynamic duo even more than Obama/Biden.

    I’ll be voting Nader. Waste of my time? Sure, maybe. But at least then

  3. Ren says:

    “Progressive” has been a political term for over a century, and while it isn’t the same as “Liberal”, they are both covered by the Democratic Party and are different opposites of “Conservative”.

    Ren’s last blog post..Comparing Obama and McCain Tax Plans: A Different View

  4. marilyn says:

    I actually think you make some good points here. I’ve managed to stay off all the e-mail lists and I hope I continue to do so. I’m planning to vote for Obama because I agree with him a lot more than McCain but there are a few issues I side with McCain on also.

    LGBT is easier to print on a survey and that’s one area I’m definitely on the Obama side.

    marilyn’s last blog post..Something I learned about Entrecard

  5. Miss Britt says:

    I’m subscribed to Obama’s site and have donated as well – and have never gotten a single email from MoveOn.org.

    I’m looking at the “negative” stuff you quoted from Obama’s campaign – all of which I read.

    I’m not seeing the negative, personal attacks there.

    Saying “holy crap – they just keep hammering away with negativity” is NOT the same as “Oh yeah, well.. welll… YOU SUCK! You’re OLD! You.. you… you {insert outrageous lie that has actually been proven to be a lie here}”

    Are you suggesting that he simply nods his head and smiles?

    Personally, I wish he’d get a little more pissed off about it.

    Miss Britt’s last blog post..This Post Is Self Indulgent Navel Gazing At Its Worst. Feel Free To Move Along.

  6. kapgar says:

    This is what drives me nuts about American politics… no one is out for the real “truth.” They all seem to want to hear what they want to hear and will spin things to that end only. MoveOn is notorious for it. I liked what they stood up for early on, but it’s become so vitriolic that I can no longer stand it.

    BTW, got something for you in today’s post.

    kapgar’s last blog post..The day the music died…

  7. Sybil Law says:

    MoveOn sucks.
    I don’t think a lot of us will ever get what we really want until we get another freaking real option, other than the 2 choices we’re consistently given.

    Sybil Law’s last blog post..Blow Jobs for Duke Employees

  8. Robin says:

    I’ve never felt so strongly about politics in my whole life. Last night I watched Recount which was amazing and disturbing. At the same time all this stuff is so frustrating because it’s all so fake and destructive. Blah.

  9. Nobody™ says:

    Politicians suck. Every last one of them. And I don’t think it will ever change, only get worse. Each election cycle gets worse, we’re always stuck choosing the lesser of two evils.

  10. I’ve been getting those MoveOn.org emails too (hey Britt…if you sign up for a free Obama sticker you’ll start getting them….don’t ask me how I know *grin*)

    I totally agree with you. The one that’s infuriated me lately is how they’ve twisted McCain’s “fundamentals of the economy” quote. He didn’t say “the economy.” He said the “fundamentals” of the economy. HUGE difference.

    The basic economic system our country has set up is strong and will prevail, even through a crisis like this. But then I’m sure they already know what he meant.

  11. Faiqa says:

    wow. you actually *read* those e-mails? i just subscribe to them to maintain my liberal elitest cred.

    Faiqa’s last blog post..Mommy Lessons 34,612 and 34,613

  12. martymankins says:

    I signed up with Moveon.org many years ago and I don’t get that many emails (maybe 3 a week, even during campaigning). I think it has something to do with the email settings I set back when I first opted in.

    Admittedly, Moveon does go overboard at times and I tend to disgree with a good number of their efforts. They have gotten more aggressive the last couple of years, which for some things has been good, but others, it’s come across as “What the hell?”

    martymankins’s last blog post..Random Leakage #5

  13. Ben says:

    Meant to comment on this blog awhile ago; you’ve probably already seen this, but if not, I thought you’d get a kick out of this:
    Obama deletes another email from MoveOn.org

    Ben’s last blog post..What happened to my chomp?

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