Voters Complain About Misleading Calls
Mon Nov 1, 6:03 PM ET
By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN, Associated Press Writer
LANSING, Mich. – Some Michigan voters have received phone calls falsely claiming that Sen. John Kerry (news – web sites) would make gay marriage legal. In New Jersey, some voters have heard a man claiming to be former Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf backing the Democrat.
Republicans and Democrats were furious Monday about the blatantly false, 11th-hour political calls to voters and demanded an end to the messages.
Schwarzkopf has endorsed Bush, but in a recording of a phone call played for The Associated Press, a man identifying himself as the Persian Gulf War (news – web sites) general says, “In 2000, I voted for George W. Bush, but this year I’m voting for John Kerry. … John Kerry has a real plan to make our military stronger and to go after terrorists wherever they hide. We need a vote for change, vote for John Kerry.”
A voice says the message was paid for by the Democratic National Committee (news – web sites).
In a statement from the Bush campaign, Schwarzkopf said the DNC was making fraudulent phone calls claiming that he had endorsed Kerry, and “nothing could be further from the truth, and I demand that they stop immediately.
The DNC had no immediate reaction.
In Michigan, in a recording of a call played for the AP, a young woman says: “When you vote this Tuesday remember to legalize gay marriage by supporting John Kerry. We need John Kerry in order to make gay marriage legal for our city. Gay marriage is a right we all want. It’s a basic Democrat principle. It’s time to move forward and be progressive. Without John Kerry, George Bush (news – web sites) will stop gay marriage. That’s why we need Kerry. So Tuesday, stand up for gay marriage by supporting John Kerry.”
Both Kerry and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards (news – web sites) of North Carolina, oppose gay marriage and say marriage should be limited to a man and a woman. Kerry has said he supports civil unions.
The calls began Sunday afternoon, according to Rodell Mollineau, spokesman for Kerry’s Michigan campaign. The campaign said voters in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint and Pontiac received calls.
“We’re shocked and pretty much appalled that Republicans would sink to this in the last 48 hours of the campaign,” Mollineau said.
Michigan Republican Party executive director Greg McNeilly said recorded phone calls have been made by former Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler and by President Bush (news – web sites) to Michigan voters, but he didn’t know anything about the calls described by the Kerry campaign.
GOP officials, meanwhile, have been getting reports of phone calls being made by a person who says he’s representing the Bush campaign, and then unlooses a string of swear words. Another phone call is said to tell voters they’ve been drafted for military service because Bush needs them for the war in Iraq (news – web sites).
“There are so many reports of phone calls going on right now that appear to be untoward,” McNeilly said.
Associated Press Writer Donna De La Cruz in Trenton, N.J., contributed to this report.
Okay, i hate all these attempts to suppress the vote, but only one of them attempts to play on bigotry. Call me gay, but i am personally most offended by the “support Kerry to support gay marriage” call.
And another thing. Folks who compare different levels of rumors and try to say X is just as bad as Y. That pisses me off. It’s simply not correct, for instance, to suggest that “Bush will institute a draft” is the same thing as “Kerry supports gay marriage.” The equivalence is wrong in one important, objective way — it compares a political position to the likelihood of an event.
And it’s wrong in a couple of other equally important but somewhat more subjective ways:
(1) Actual likelihood of event occurring. In other words, even if we consider both statements to be about the candidates’ likelihood of doing something (Kerry will legalize gay marriage, or Bush will institute a draft), I think there is no chance in hell that Kerry will legalize gay marriage. (Alas.) But I think it possible that the Bush administration will push for a draft at some point.
Kerry is not going to have any significant lobby for legalizing gay marriage, and it’s not even clear what that would mean. He certainly could not pass a law or a constitutional amendment requiring states to perform same-sex marriages. It is doubtful he could get DOMA repealed or even revised. So what, exactly, could Kerry do on this front even if he were so inclined? Maybe get some federal recognition of same-sex unions or partnerships — but not “marriage”, which DOMA defines as between a man and a woman, and DOMA is going nowhere.
On the draft argument, by contrast, the mathematics of the situation in Iraq suggest that a draft would be helpful to the military effort. The Bush administration hasn’t exactly wanted to do the war “right”, so it’s quite likely they wouldn’t do a draft. On the other hand, it might turn out that they want a success, and would institute a draft. They’ve already been figuring out how to draft medical personnel in the advent of a national emergency, for instance. So, a draft is perhaps not likely, but certainly not inconceivable.
In this analysis, neither Bush’s nor Kerry’s statements of their intents count — we write those off as mere political BS. But if you want to tip the balance a little further, I think that Ohio state rep. Tim Ryan said it well: why on earth should we trust the Bush administration which has repeatedly lied to us about their intentions and about the state of affairs in the “war on terror”?
(2) Moral equivalency. Once again I protest the suggestion that it is morally equivalent to play on people’s fears of a draft, and to play on their hatred, fear, disgust of queers. I simply cannot take seriously people who think that these are on the same level. Only in the most abstract sense are these equivalent: both are policy questions with significant impacts on people’s lives. In that sense the draft is the more serious charge — a draft would force people into the military where they might die or be maimed or forced to kill. Playing on the fear of the draft plays on the fear of death — love of self and love of life. A big deal, no question.
But playing on the fear of same-sex marriage plays on hatred and disgust for other people. It’s negative in the deepest sense. It attempts to make issues where there are none (because same-sex marriage is simply not going to happen nationally) and it attempts to do so on the backs of — well, me, and my same-sex partner. I take that kinda personal. You find me a whole crowd of someones who are personally the subjects of the draft threat. And then maybe I’ll consider whether these are moral equivalents.