Famous Last Words: Falling on Deaf Eyes
I read seven newspapers a day. Two of them—The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Wall Street Journal—are consumed in hard copy over coffee in the early morning. The other five—The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Guardian, Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post—are scanned on the Internet along with regular visits to AOL’s news page and Matt Drudge’s deliciously scurrilous Web site (www.drudgereport.com). One morning, when things were going particularly badly in Iraq and former NFL star Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan, I saw a Web ad for John Kerry in The Times and sent him $500 charged to my American Express card. Among other things, I wanted to see in action the new Internet political fundraising phenomenon pioneered by Howard Dean. How would the Kerry campaign treat a $500 donor who was a perfect stranger?
“Always say thank you,” says legendary fundraiser Roger Craver. “It’s the polite thing to do.”
Daily, I looked in my snail mail and e-mail for a thank you and an upsell. No such message was forthcoming in either medium. Instead, I was put on the “Kerry for President” and Democratic National Committee e-mail lists and received 19 missives in one month—more than one every two days—urging me to sign a petition, fire Rumsfeld, hold a fundraiser in my home, get angry at how Kerry’s war record is being besmirched, etc.
Here’s the lead from one of Kerry’s e-mails:
“On your block there’s a woman named Sue. Like you, she supports John Kerry. Like you, she’s appalled at the future George Bush is creating for her children. But unlike you, she’s not going to vote on November 2nd.”
As block captain, I know pretty much everyone on my block. The Sue I know is a poll watcher, so presumably she votes. Either John Kerry is a liar or using privileged voter information to spread malicious gossip.