24 September 2008

Dirty Tricks in Swing States: Push Polls, Terror DVDs

According to The Guardian, if you live in Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, or Colorado, you're living in dirty tricks country:
DVDs of an anti-Muslim documentary film are being distributed to 28 million voters in swing states [and] Republican telemarketers have begun push polling aimed at scaring Jewish voters in swing states from voting for Barack Obama.
Apparently, the DVD is designed to induce terror amongst the USA citizenry as it "warns that Islamic jihadists aim to take over the US government and destroy our way of life and urges voters to consider which candidate will best protect the nation." Essentially, this is the same message we've received from the GOP since the 9/11 tragedy.

So who is behind the film? An "obscure" little group called "The Clarion Fund," and it looks as though there might be some trouble ahead for them. The Clarion Fund
has not filed the required IRS form that would allow the public to see who its officers and major funders are. The group was founded, however, by Raphael Shore, an Israeli-Canadian citizen and supporter of John McCain. Shore's website, Radical Islam, featured an editorial endorsing McCain for president. That's a big no-no: 501c3s aren't legally allowed to endorse candidates.
Oh, my.
However, as the GOP has been beating the "the hate us for our freedom" drum for seven years now, the threats of a jihad on our shores might not be as effective as it was in 2004. So they added a push poll to instill suspicion about Senator Obama:
Jewish voters in swing states have also been the targets of push polling from Republican-affiliated marketing outfits. Joelna Marcus of Key West, Florida received a telemarketing call asking if she is Jewish. After replying "yes", she was asked whether she was religious. Then the push poller then asked her if her opinion of Barack Obama would change if she knew that Obama had given lots and lots of money to the PLO. In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Debbie Minden received a call asking whether her support for Obama would be swayed if she knew "his church was anti-Israel" or that Hamas endorsed him and that its leaders had met with him. The caller also asked if she would change her mind if she learned he was Muslim.

The New Republic's Jonathan Cohn also received a call in Michigan and took notes of the smears: According to the caller, some of Obama's best friends in Chicago were "pro-Palestinian leaders"; Jimmy Carter's anti-Israel national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski is an Obama foreign policy adviser; Obama sat on a board which funded a "pro-Palestinian charity"; Obama said that if elected he would call for a summit of Muslim nations and exclude Israel.

Minden reported that her call came from a firm called Research Strategies, which is none other than Wilson Research Strategies, whose founder is Chris Wilson. Wilson is a top Republican consultant and friend of, you guessed it, Karl Rove. Cohn said his call came from a company called Central Marketing, which has done push polls on behalf of the campaigns of Republicans John Thune and Michael Bloomberg.

And Ben Smith reported last week that the Republican Jewish Coalition has admitted hiring the Republican telemarketing outfits to do the push polling. Amazing how a little bit of sleuthing leads this filth right to the door of the Republican party.

Is John McCain behind the push polling? Probably not. This is about as low as you can go, and I like to think that a candidate whose Presidential hopes were, essentially, destroyed by push polling in 2000 would avoid taking this road altogether. Sadly, chances are that such foul tactics will only increase in the following six weeks. The question is whether or not they'll work this time.

Update: Following the MSM exposure of The Clarion Fund, the endorsement of John McCain vanished from one of the group's websites, radicalislam.org. This shouldn't come as a surprise, after all, the FEC has now been asked to look into The Clarion Fund.

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