Calling out the political bullies
By Frank Salvato
In the wake of the disgraceful yet defining full-page MoveOn.org ad in the New York Times, the one that denigrated Gen. Petraeus, we stand witness to the benchmark in today's political tactical maneuvering, the Bully Tactic. Increasingly, political operatives and zealots alike are turning to the coercive tactic of bullying those who aren't on-board with their candidates or agendas. This benchmark signals some of the darkest days in American politics.
Organizations like MoveOn.org have employed the Bully Tactic quite effectively. By utilizing deep-pocketed, agenda-driven benefactors and exploiting small donor advocates to advance their special interest causes, especially through the mainstream media, MoveOn.org has achieved it goal of placing their special interest demands above the will of the majority in our nation. By creating the illusion that they know what the "America people" believe they, in many cases, succeed in swaying public opinion using less than accurate information and propaganda.
But MoveOn.org isn't the only organization that employs the Bully Tactic.
CAIR and the ACLU have successfully employed the Bully Tactic, using it as a tool in litigation.
There doesn't seem to be a week that goes by when we don't hear about the ACLU suing one city or another over the Establishment Clause. Recently, the ACLU won a decision in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that would mandate the removal of a memorial cross from a World War I Veteran's Memorial in California's Mojave Dessert. The fact that they recoup court costs and legal fees each time they successfully sue an organization, municipality, state or the federal government means that they make the taxpayers, you and I, pay for litigation that the overwhelming majority of us would never want advanced in the first place.
CAIR has taken to the practice of "Litigation Jihad" as their favorite form of Bully Tactic. From suing airlines for removing indignant radical Muslim clerics for taunting the other passengers to threatening to sue Robert Spencer, director of JihadWatch and a noted authority on the subject of radical Islam, each and every time he speaks on his chosen topic of expertise – thus depriving him of being able to make a living – CAIR employs the Bully Tactic ferociously in spite of the fact that their membership has dropped to less than 2000 members since September 11, 2001. The deep pockets of the Saudis make sure that CAIR can financially outlast anyone they choose to sue.
But the Bully Tactic isn't exclusive to the radical Left or the Radically Islamic.
Recently, a noted new media writer, JB Williams, had to pull down the on-line poll on his website. The poll asked, "Which GOP candidate do you support for president of the United States?" After a short period he came to realize that US Rep. Ron Paul supporters had spammed his poll thus making what should have been an "on your honor" poll worthless. The same thing happened to a candidate poll that I had up at my publication, The New Media Journal. When ardent Paul supporters were confronted with this embarrassing reality (you know, most webmasters know how to see if someone is spamming an on-line poll or not) they opted not to acknowledge that they were being overzealous in their support for a candidate which they have been supporting election cycle after election cycle. Instead they launched into attack mode claiming censorship and bias, demanding that their candidate be included.
I don't know about Mr. Williams, but I don't react well to demands by people who should be asking kindly for their position to be considered. I will not bow to bullying from any political group, in this instance Libertarians masquerading as Republicans. Sadly, in this instance, an ideologically honest man – whether you agree with Paul's platform or not – has become tainted by an over-zealous support group. With each passing instance of bullying by his supporters, his chances of being considered a serious candidate erode.
Which brings me to the Republican Party. They too are guilty.
I can't tell you how many times the Republican National Committee and the Republican Senatorial Committee have called me to brow-beat me for a donation. These calls really can't be considered unsolicited as I was very active with the Republican Presidential Task Force, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the RNC during the last two election cycles. That said, I have always considered myself a good foot soldier.
But as soon as this presidential cycle started the GOP telemarketers started to call. They hadn't done any homework to find out who was on the list, they just called and started reading from the script.
"Hello Mr....ah, Salvato? This is Julie with the Republican National Committee. You know Hillary Clinton is running for president..."
Yeah, I think I know that. I know that because I am a precinct committeeman here in my township. I know that because I have supported with the Republican Presidential Task Force, the National Republican Congressional Committee and the RNC for over ten years. I know that because I write about it on an almost weekly basis.
"Um, Mr....ah, Salvato, may I call you Frank?"
"Um, Mr....Salvato, could you please make a $250 dollar contribution today. You know that Hillary Clinton is running for president and her Socialist healthcare stance is..."
Actually, I can't afford to make a donation today. Thank you for calling.
"Um, Mr....Salvato, if you could just see your way clear to making a $150 donation today, it would really help because, you know, Hillary Clinton is running for president and she hates our military and..."
I believe I said no. I can't afford it right now. When the election gets closer I will consider making a donation. I do my part by knocking on doors and informing my precinct and writing commentary on the issues surrounding our political environment so. No, today I can't but I'm doing my part so, Thanks for calling.
"But, Um, Mr....Salvato, can I call you Frank?...Hillary Clinton is running for president and she and Michael Vick eat little baby puppies. Your $50 donation today will keep Hillary away from those precious little puppies..."
It's usually at about this point when I lose my temper.
The Bully Tactic of unmercifully squeezing every last penny out of not only rank and file Republicans and Conservatives but of organizational foot soldiers is the most irritating Bully Tactic of them all. Not only is it irritating, the gratitude for what is done is non-existent. Our thanks is a GOP leadership that refuses to secure the borders when we demand they do and being called "the loud people" by those we helped to elect.
Here's a thought, perhaps if those same telemarketers were trained on how to explain the issues, on how to advance the knowledge of those they call about the issues, perhaps if they offered a bit of information that would advance the platform or help those they call better understand why voting Conservative is the better choice, maybe then they would be doing the good ideological work of helping to elect Republican and Conservative candidates.
By utilizing the Bully Tactic in campaign fundraising, the GOP – in all its organizations –shows a lack of respect for those that have loyally supported their efforts in the past. In protest, I will only be donating politically to my local candidates this election cycle.
Perhaps campaign finance should be restructured so that national committees have to raises their money from the candidates and not the voters. They could require that every elected party member contribute a percentage of their campaign finances to the committee and that would serve as the funding for less than fiscally solvent candidates around the country.
If nothing else, this would keep me from having to know that Hillary hates puppies.
Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. His organization, Basics Project, is partnered in producing the first-ever national symposium series on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.