It looks like the Republican dirty tricks machine has been in full force over the weekend sending fraudulent robocalls to voters in multiple states. Here's the details from Talking Points Memo (who's actively tracking the story) :
What we're talking about is something a bit different. What we're seeing is an apparent coordinated effort from the NRCC -- the House GOP committee -- to place calls that appear to be from the local Democratic candidate and then automatically call the same number back as many as seven or eight times each time the caller hang-ups. If the caller listens to the whole message it goes on to bash the Democratic candidate. But if the caller hangs up prematurely, the computer calls right back. Hang-ups are the achilles heal of robo-calls. So this seems to be an attempt to cover for that weakness by making those who hang up think the Democratic candidate is basically harassing them with phone calls. The GOP wins either way.
What is there to do about it. As described, the calls appear to be in violation of federal regulations which mandate that these calls clearly identify their origin. The repetitive call back may also be a violation in different states. The New Hampshire AG apparently just intervened to force the NRCC to stop the calls in that state. But frankly, none of that matters. Because the folks placing the calls factor in the price of whatever fines might be meted out after the election when the damage is already done.
This is exactly the sort of thing we should expect from the party of big business. Our nation's laws mean nothing to these creeps. To them, the fines they'll probably end up paying for this criminal activity are nothing more than another line item on the campaign's expense report. Dispensing a few grand to pay the fines for committing electoral fraud won't phase them any more than paying campaign staff or buying ad time would. Thousands of dollars in legal fees and fines will be money well spent if they get to keep controlling the government.
This sickening disregard for our laws is indicative of everything these scumbags stand for. With the Abramoff scandal, the GOP was embroiled in a patronage and bribery operation that has tentacles into almost every facet of the right wing machine. For the Bush Administration, American birthrights like habeas corpus, due process, and checks and balances have been thrown aside in an attempt to consolidate power. And now these latest Republican dirty tricks which echo their earlier attempts to hijack democracy such as the New Hampshire phone jamming case, Tom Delay laundering corporate campaign money through his political action committee, and voter suppression efforts aimed at minorities in Florida, Ohio, and elsewhere. These robocalls aren't an isolated incident, they're the instinctual behavior of a party that will break any law that stands between them and their lust for power and money.
This latest attempt by the GOP to subvert our democratic process makes me ill. That our nation's predominant political party would lie, cheat, and steal to stay in power should stun and sadden every citizen. This isn't just unethical, it's un-American. As a democracy that strives towards an open and honest debate of ideas, the fraud and deception of the Republican party is antithetical to our core values. The Republican party should be ashamed of themselves. We all deserve better.