THE BLOG
11/27/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Indiana Smears Cause Voter Backlash

The Indiana State Republican Party has started sending out anti-Obama smear mailers to homes throughout Indiana. I've photographed the first one and included an Obama campaign mailer I got the same day as a comparison of focus.

Click here to see photos of the smear mailer

My wife, Sharon, called the Indiana State Republican Party office and spoke with the Communications Director, Jay Kenworthy. She told him to remove our address from their smear mail list. She followed up at his request with an email, as follows:

As I mentioned on the phone to you, I was one of the first group of 18-year-olds to be given the right to vote. So, since 1972, I have been a loyal Republican. The type of misleading, propaganda-filled flyer that I received in the mail yesterday is just one of many reasons that I am now ashamed of the Party I so vigorously defended my entire life, especially during the 2000 and 2004 elections. The Party I believed in is NOT divisive; NOT hate-filled; NOT racist; and, NOT reduced to downright lying in order to possibly win an election. "There is no truth in Pravda". I am sure you know the quote. Well, there is no country in the Republican Party's "Country First" national slogan.

I thought she did an excellent job. It then occurred to me that others in Indiana probably received the same mailer. So, I sent an email to the Indiana and Central Indiana Obama groups for their comments. They follow, with the names removed to protect from possible threats and attacks:

I received it also. I was seriously considering voting for Mitch Daniels, but not after receiving that mailer. I also emailed the Republican Party and voiced my outrage and withdrew my potential vote for any Republican on the ticket.

Note: Mitch Daniels is Indiana's Republican Governor running for reelection.


I was also going to vote for Mitch Daniels. Unless he retracts this aggressively, I am pulling my vote for him as well.


To Republican Party: "I am outraged that the Republican Party sent this kind of smut to my home (William Ayers flyer). While I am an Obama supporter, there were other Republicans on the ticket I was poised to vote for, including Mitch Daniels. This mailer did not sway me to change my vote to McCain, but it did convince me that I need to withdraw my support for any Republican on the ballot. There is no place in this election this garbage. It will not work; not this time. We need a leader with integrity."


I received the same smear flyer in the mail today and immediately scanned it and submitted it to the "fight the smears" portion of the Obama website. I then marked "return to sender" on it and placed it back in our mailbox for pick up on Monday. I don't even know if the mail will take it back but I just know I don't want that trash coming to our home. I am promptly going to email the communications director and ask them why they are sending this smear mailer to our address.


I sent this to our local newspaper The Republic. I then called a person I know in Mitch's office and told them what I did. I also sent my copies of my mailers to http://radar.barackobama.com/. We have received one "live call" and 4 mailers from McSame in the last week.

"I am a Hoosier in Northwest Indiana. I have so had enough of this type of campaigning and would appreciate a cease and desist on this mailer. Attempting to dumb down Hoosiers and playing to the baser instincts of human nature is despicable. I don't like it when it comes from any campaign.

Stop the madness!

The only result I can see from this type of mailer is to further divide our state and divide our nation. I do not like it when it comes from a Democrat or a Republican.

Stop.

Enough."


I took my 3 mailers (that I received in the previous two days) to the Republican Headquarters in Fishers IN PERSON. Told them (nicely) that I appreciated the motivation it gave my Republican husband of 38 years to get up early Saturday morning and wait in line for 2 hours to vote for Obama. Then I ripped them in two and told them I didn't even want them in my recyle box. In fairness, I did acknowledge that they were probably just volunteers and not responsible for the the content of the mailers. Also mentioned that if that was the type of thinking that gets their guy elected, then God help us all. I did not make a "scene"...just a statement, and they did not say a word.


I got one email from a McCain supporter, Beth Essex, who either is on one of the Obama supporter email lists, or saw my comments on someone's blog post.

You asked for copies of emails we sent to kenworthy at the GOP and here is mine:

"On the "Crime and Punishment" mailer. I'd like to see one about the "cling to guns, religion and antipathy and anti-immigrant sentiments" myself, and think that would hit home with a LOT more people! Far too many people weren't watching when that was in the news!

Ignore the whiny liberals being directed to complain to you from blogs and keep up the good work."


Beth's email only further enhances the negativity of the mailer, by showing that some rank-and-file McCain supporters are enjoying the smears. I'm sure she thought she was making a point or being clever, but, just like the sarcasm, lies and smears the campaign is producing, it only motivates Obama supporters to vote straight-ticket Democratic on November 4th.