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Here’s my anecdote: DNC’s ’seminar caller’ campaign was an embarrassing disaster

Posted By Kathy Shaidle On March 1, 2010 @ 12:00 pm In NewsReal Blog | No Comments

(credit: ThePeoplesCube.com)

I think kids these days call this sort of thing an “epic fail.”

On Friday, Matthew Vadum and I told you about “On the Air,” a new astroturfing project from Obama Organizing for America, the activist wing of the DNC. Volunteers were supposed to go to the “On the Air” website, then follow instructions on how to listen to the radio and dial the phone (I’m serious). The plan was to flood conservative talk radio shows with so-called “seminar callers,” who would squeeze as many leftist talking points as they could onto the airwaves before they were inevitably hung up on.

Yep, following Air America’s crash and burn, that is what passes for “liberal talk radio” these days! It’s pathetic and parasitical, and not surprisingly, Operation”On the Air” was an impotent failure.

Once again, I’m forced to wonder why so-called “progressives” insist on clinging to old, worn out tactics that simply don’t work (see “boycotts”).

“On the Air” is clearly inspired by 2003’s “Flood the Zone Fridays,” Ezra Klein’s stupendously unsuccessful (hint: Bush won) Democrat letters-to-the-editors campaign. A contemporary commentator mocked “Flood the Zone Friday’s” “See Spot Run” how-to’s (deja vu warning):

It’s Editorial Correspondence for Dummies! Having edited L2Es myself, I understand the necessity for urging people to cool-headedness, but it’s still a surprise to see that Democrats keep the Special-Ed Teacher Mode switch turned on even when talking to other Democrats. Organizer Matt Singer goes on to explain that newspapers tend to run letters at no more than about 250 words, which amounts to saying, I guess, that one should have read a newspaper at least once before sending a missive to its editors. Hey, Matt, you forgot to tell ‘em not to use crayon.

“Flood the Zone Fridays” was such a failure that most web links to it have now disappeared.

But let’s face it: socialists wouldn’t be socialists if they weren’t absolutely certain that a bad idea can and will work, if simply tried. One. More. Time.

The new “On the Air” campaign quite innocently carries within it the seeds of its own demise. Being emotional, unscientific leftists, the organizers are convinced that anecdotal evidence trumps every other kind, so Organizing for America specifically advised callers to tell conservative talk show hosts about their own supposedly harrowing personal experiences with America’s “broken” health care system, and those “evil” insurance companies.

Trouble is: those talk show hosts had just spent the last 24 hours gleefully mocking those “heartrending” (and highly suspect) anecdotes Democrats had shared at the Blair House meeting. Mark Steyn coined the phrase “second hand dentures” on the Hugh Hewitt show, and Glenn Beck & crew improvised a bit that became an instant radio classic.

And like people who don’t think anybody can see them picking their nose if they do it in the car, the DNC is seemingly ignorant of the fact that other people can read what they write on the internet. Organizing for America foolishly didn’t count on the fact that opponents would find out about the “On the Air” campaign, blog about it — and even call up their favorite radio shows to warn them about it.

By the time Rush Limbaugh took to the mic at noon Friday, the “On the Air” campaign was D.O.A. All that was left for Rush to do was sign its death certificate and hammer some nails into its coffin:

[Call screener] Snerdley and I talked about this earlier today.  We’re still undecided, but we might devote just a whole half hour to nothing but Obama seminar callers today.  We haven’t decided.

We’ve put together a montage of Democrat sob stories from the health care summit yesterday, so you spammers, you seminar callers sharing a personal story about how health care reform — like if you happen to be using the dentures of a dead woman, like Louise Slaughter mentioned yesterday.  [Reading from "On the Air" website:] “Sharing a personal story about how health reform affects you and your family is a great way to show the importance and urgency of health reform.”  So if you’re confused about this instruction, here are the professionals at this. [start Blair House audio clips]

OBAMA: I can certainly remember Malia coming into the kitchen one day and saying, “I can’t breathe, Daddy.” … My mother didn’t have reliable health care and she died of ovarian cancer.

REID: A young man by the name of Jesus Gutierrez.

MURRAY: I remember a little boy, who was 11 years old, who’s name was Marcellus.

HOYER: I had a message on my machine: “I was just diagnosed with a tumor.”

HARKIN: Got a letter yesterday from a farmer in Iowa.

ROCKEFELLER: I knew this kid, Samuel Ford, and he had leukemia.

CONARD: My own father-in-law in his final illness.

WAXMAN: People from California who were told by Anthem WellPoint that their insurance was going to go up 39 percent.

DODD: A guy in my state, Kevin Galvin.

SLAUGHTER: Her sister died. This poor woman had no dentures. She wore her dead sister’s teeth. [end audio clips.]

RUSH:  Can you believe these stories happen in America?  So that’s just a little hint, this is a page from the Democrat playbook that’s been used and worn for now over 30, 40 years (…)

So, anyway, Snerdley is waiting for you.  And if you do want to call here and be a seminar caller, just tell us.  You know, we always put people that disagree to the front of the line, we never hang up on anybody here, and so if you want to go for it, use this program to spread the lie — I don’t even want to say that because I don’t want to be contentious.  If you want to use this program to spread the word on the Obama health care plan, feel free.

No one called.

PS: I’m a Canadian, with supposedly “reliable health care.” My mother died of ovarian cancer, too. Pretty much every woman with ovarian cancer dies of it, because it is currently very hard to diagnose until it hits stage 4. I hate to harsh your utopian mellow but: people die.

In our fallen, imperfect world, that’s life.


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