Steve G.

“I am not politically correct”

In Libertarian on October 30, 2008 at 3:14 pm

So says Chris Barber of the LP GA’s Executive Committee in a fundraising email sent to folks on Stephen Gordon’s email list on behalf of Libertarian candidate for Senate Allen Buckley. Chris then goes on to helpfully demonstrate his lack of political correctness by outlining his idea of Buckley’s strategy: getting a higher vote total than Republican Saxby Chambliss (who, some of you will remember, was a recipient of funding from Bob Barr’s PAC during this election cycle while Barr was serving on the LNC), forcing a runoff between Buckley and and the Democratic Party candidate.

Why does he think this is such a no-brainer? Because… hold your breath … black people won’t bother to vote in a runoff! In his own words:

With your help, Allen Buckley can win a run-off against the Democrat. Why will this work? Because in Georgia, African Americans, which make up the base of the Democratic party, have an absolutely abysmal record of voting in run-offs, Obama will have already won… enough said.

Yes, enough said, indeed. In fact, more than enough said. This is not the sort of remark that needs to be going in Libertarian fundraising appeals.

The ‘strategy’ – besides being based on fairly racist assumptions – is lame to begin with. Stipulating that Barber is correct that a runoff is ‘inevitable’ (that is; that no one will get over 50%), and that the Dem will get just under 50% and that Buckley will split the remaining half with Chambliss, Buckley will need around 27% (this is Barber’s figure – let’s just take it for now). The figures Barber cites for Buckley are “[a] recent poll put Allen Buckley for US Senate ‘08 at 8%; our Republican sources tell us that number could actually be as high as 13%” – which means that the ‘strategy’ consists of taking a number, adding a few wish-points to it, and then making a double-wish sundae of it and adding a cherry-point at the top – all within in the next five days. This reminds me of the desperate ‘never say die’ appeals of the waning days of the Clinton campaign this spring.

Constant last-minute fundraising appeals based on Libertarian strategies for winning against odds those large this late really weaken the Party, I think. Saying ‘politically incorrect’ things such as that your strategy relies on blacks being habitutally too lazy to vote is simply stupid.

  1. Hmm. An AJC columnist has this odd story about the race and Buckley’s campaign:

    http://www.ajc.com/blogs/content/shared-blogs/ajc/bookman/entries/2008/10/29/it_is_the_fate_of.html

  2. Wow

  3. Wow, indeed. If true, and I were a GAan, I’d probably not vote for Buckley. Again, if true, I’d consider censure.

    We had enough of this garbage in NewletterGate. But, then, I’m OK with most PC language, when it promotes respect for all.

    This is another ex. of why I find NIOF wanting. Such speech may not be an “initiation of force,” yet it’s repugnant.

    Again, if true.

  4. Now, if Barber (on Buckley’s behalf) had just said something like “a majority (or large portion) of the Democratic base” would not bother to vote in a runoff election because they will have gotten their candidate elected for president, that would probably be inoffensive. It would probably be just as effective.

    However, this reminds me of the “stupid” statements W.A.R. made in his Reason online interview. Will Mr. Capozzi recommend censure for W.A.R. as well?

  5. Bob, I forwarded the email in question to you.

    I’m sure Barber just wrote in haste without thinking clearly. It’s that time of year, and I’ve sent out stuff regarding campaigns I’ve later thought better of.

    I just think we need to be vigilant about this sort of image issue.

  6. The AA population is voting in record numbers in the Atlanta metro, causing half-day long lines at early polling places. The local news have black people on every night saying this is their first time voting.

    These sorts of numbers clearly won’t exist for a run-off election. This portion of the e-mail is correct. You’d probably have to live in Atlanta to understand, though.

    I notice the rest of the e-mail isn’t presented. Was something taken out of context, perhaps?

    This morning’s news put Buckley at 5%, but I heard 8% the other day. Not sure which poll is which, though.

  7. You’d probably have to live in Atlanta to understand, though.

    Well, then maybe he ought to have only sent the email to people IN ATLANTA, then.

    Or not.

    The point is that there’s really no good reason for saying something that just might seem – at best – patronizing and at worst racist. It didn’t improve my motivation to send money, I can tell you that.

  8. Wow. Just, wow. How embarrassing.

    Even more embarrassing, from the AJC link Susan posted:

    According to the suspicious three-page memo Page 1 | Page2 | Page 3., faxed anonymously to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, McLaughlin & Associates supposedly conducted a series of polls immediately after debates among the three candidates.

    “There is an alarming shift in key demographic segments that do not bode well for the Senator,” the memo states. “Our data indicates that support among the 35-50 and 50-65 white male segment is softening. It also appears that they [are] trending towards the Libertarian candidate.”

    The memo, on what purports to be McLaughlin & Associates letterhead, was allegedly written by Brian Larkin, director of qualitative research at McLaughlin. When contacted at his office in New York Tuesday, Larkin denied any knowledge or involvement. When I mentioned I had the alleged memo in my hand, on McLaughlin letterhead with his name as its author, the phone went silent for a few moments. Larkin then asked for my phone number and promised to return the call.

    Ten minutes later, he called and again denied his company had conducted any polling in the Georgia race. Later that afternoon, company CEO and founder John McLaughlin called to strongly reiterate that claim, calling the memo a forgery.

    Given its unknown source, we decided not to report on the memo unless we could tie down some loose ends. That decision changed when McLaughlin called late Wednesday morning to say he had leaked “to some of my media friends that somebody is trying to do this as a dirty trick,” and that other reporters may contact us for information on the story.

    Now, somebody peddling phony poll numbers seems small potatoes as a dirty trick. What makes the memo potentially incendiary is not the numbers, but the narrative that follows:

    “Based on the results of our Hyper-Local polling combined with the intelligence gathered from the media sweep, we believe the runoff is unavoidable,” the memo states. “Our gravest concern is that in the post-election runoff environment, the democratic opponent will emerge as ‘the reasonable choice’. That combined with what is certain to be a monumental democratic ‘get out the vote’ campaign in the wake of an Obama victory spells real trouble for the client.

    “Steve, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss your client’s situation with KR. He is as alarmed as we are due to the implications on the national scene. As you are no doubt aware, your client’s seat might well be number 60 if we can’t turn this thing around. “To avoid this messy situation, we recommend the following actions:

    “Dispatch an action team to conduct the neglected opposition research on the Libertarian candidate. Our operatives will leave no stone unturned. A complete review of his income tax records, marriage records, student records and criminal records as well as detailed financial information must be obtained ASAP.

    “Since the Libertarian candidate has utilized AM Talk Radio for the majority of his negative efforts, this would be the venue to launch the client’s counterassault. Radio ads must be prepared detailing some of the Libertarian party’s controversial stands on the issues such as drug law, gay marriage and abortion.

    “A major effort must be made in the blogosphere to ridicule the Libertarian candidate from as many sources and directions as possible. Attacks must be made from the right and the left, spurious claims should be made while hiding under the cloak of anonymity the internet affords.

    In closing, please have the contract signed and returned with payment in full.” On its website, McLaughlin lists the National Republican Senatorial Committee as a client, and describes Larkin as a former NRSC employee. The committee, chaired by Sen. John Ensign of Nevada, is dedicated to electing and re-electing Republicans to the Senate.

    However, McLaughlin says his company has done no work for the committee this election cycle. “This is bizarre,” he said, “a total invention, although somebody clearly went through a lot of trouble.” He said he may refer the matter to law enforcement.

    Buckley said he has no idea whether the memo is legitimate, although “I suspected that if I became a threat they would try to dig up some dirt on me.”

    The matter should indeed be referred to law enforcement.

    Sadly, it would not surprise me at all if someone with the Buckley campaign was the source of that forged memo. No one else would have a motive to forge something of that nature, after all, since the only thing it really does is make Buckley look far more important to the election than he is in reality.

    Now, THAT would be cause for censure.

  9. Thanks, Susan. My bad. I probably overreacted and hastily. Some damage control does seem to be indicated. I definitely believe that the LP should not be associated with this sort of thinking.

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