Monday, November 06, 2006

Election Special

A bizarrely shameless election gimmick has recently appeared. I'm not referring to candidate Mina Brees having commercials saying people should vote for her because her father and her son are football stars. The shameless gimmick is that the GOP is persistently crank calling people, pretending to be the Democratic candidate until the person called stays on the line long enough to hear a bunch of negative statements about the Democratic candidate.

"Someone is flooding homes with harassing robo calls. They are makingit sound like many are coming from the Boyda campaign."

CONCORD, N.H. -- It turns out that some of the political phone messages Granite Staters are receiving as Election Day nears may be illegal. The issue revolves around the national Do Not Call registry.

A homeowner in Hillsboro received the same message several times in one day. It began by stating it had information about Paul Hodes, the Democratic challenger for the 2nd Congressional District.

After a few seconds, the ad turns on the attack. It isn't until the end that you find out it was sponsored by the Republican National Congressional Committee.

One of the calls features a woman who opens by saying "Hello. I'm calling with information about Paul Hodes," the Democrat challenging Republican U.S. Rep. Charles Bass.


But Republican National Committee member Tom Rath said the legal issues here are far from straightforward, involving federal-versus-state law and issues of free speech.

It's a complicated legal question that's not going to get adjudicated this weekend," he said.

I was taught growing up that the ends do not justify the means, so such trickery rubs me the wrong way. It is convenient that the issue won't be resolved before the elections, but sliminess may be difficult to wash off.