An Elephant Never Forgets

I know that when you’re a huge organization, some little mistakes are going to be made. You can’t know everything about everybody. When I was campaigning for Barack Obama, I was sent out with a list that the 14-year-old campaign field office coordinator swore contained only names of supporters who wouldn’t throw shoes at me and sic their German Shepherds on me when I knocked on their doors, but I got a few nasties in there. Some people were snippy. Nobody’s perfect.

But I can’t figure out how I got on the Republicans’ list. I could see how another, normal Democrat might be misconstrued as being of a conservative bent or disenfranchised, but the fact is, I’m a pretty well documented liberal. I’ve been a registered Democrat since 1976. I campaigned for Obama, I don’t golf and I don’t belong to any country clubs. I carry a purse made out of peace sign fabric and I wear a “Remember May 4 Kent State” button. I drive a hybrid, I drink Starbucks and I listen to NPR.

Yet this week, two things happened: I got a call from Newt Gingrich and I got a letter from the Republican Party of Florida, asking me to give $25, $35, $50, $100 or $OTHER to “defeat liberal Democrats who will raise your taxes, increase spending, burden small businesses with job-killing red tape, and ‘redistribute your wealth.’” The italics, quotes and underline are theirs, although who they’re quoting I’m not sure. Maybe Joe the Plumber. (Speaking of Joe, did you know he’s in Israel reporting for a conservative news blog? I look forward to his insightful and articulate man-on-the-street interviews. Oy vey.)

Back to my letter. Here’s how it starts out:

I’ve been looking forward to writing this letter to you since November 4th.

Even though Barack Obama and the Democrats outspent us nearly 7-to-1 last year, Obama’s margin of victory was a scant 2.8% of the vote. And because his victory had virtually no coattails for the rest of the Democrat ticket, that tells me two things: . . .

Before I get to the two things, I have to do a Loony Tunes double-take (oyoyoyoy doying!) back to a couple of points in that second paragraph. The Democrats outspent the Republicans 7 to 1? The 7 to 1 phrase came up in North Carolina with TV ads only, but overall, I’m thinking that’s an exaggeration.

They may have gotten the 7, though, mixed up from another statistic and that’s Obama’s margin of victory, which was not 2.8 percent, but more than 9 million votes for a 7.0-point margin. This is the sixth largest victory margin of all time and the largest ever by a non-incumbent.

I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think the phrase “no coattails” means that Obama’s victory didn’t translate to other Democrats winning other key races, like the Senate and the House. Correct me if I’m wrong, but when a comedian from those few stinky years of Saturday Night Live wins a U.S. Senate seat from an incumbent, I’d say that’s a coattail, a top hat and gloves.

The Republicans seem to have taken all these numbers and put them onto little ping-pong balls and put them in a glass box that swirls air around them and pops them out like the lottery. “I’ve got a 7! Let’s make that the spending number!”

And if you’re going to ask a die-hard Democrat to spend $OTHER to shore up the Republican cause, they’re going to have to do better than that.

The letter goes on to say that the two points they are concluding from these spit-out stats are first, that my loyal support at the polls truly made a decisive difference for Republican candidates in hundreds of critical races down the ballot, and second, the Democrats now have their sights set on defeating our fantastic governor, Charlie Crist, and filling the soon-to-be vacant seat of Senator Mel Martinez.

If I were mean and not the daughter of my mother, I would send back the postage-paid envelope to the Florida Republicans in an attempt to cripple them with tiny expenditures, one empty envelope at a time. But I don’t want to do that.

If we disable the Republicans, I want it to be because we’re better, not because they ran out of money for stamps.

Two days after I got the letter, I got a phone call from a guy who asked for me by name and then said he had an important message for me and before I could say, “But - but!, But!! - -” he put a recording of Newt Gingrich and another guy having a convo about the future of the Republican Party. Newt said because I am such a strong supporter, he wants to send me a copy of his new documentary, “Rendezvous With Destiny,” which sounded to me like a Bruce Willis movie that I might be into. I was firmly encouraged to stay on the line and talk to Newt’s associate, who would tell me how I could get my free copy of the video.

“Aaaaaaaalll riiiiight,” the associate said when I told him my secret identity. He clearly was writing it all down to report back to Newt and the other associates.

He promised to take me off of the list, but he couldn’t help me on the Florida Republican Party thing. So until it gets straightened out I’m expecting to continue to get letters, calls and hopefully some free cool stuff.

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