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What a Shock | Main | Latest Battleground Polls: Concerned Christian Conservatives Conservatively Expressing Christian Concern That McCain/Palin Is Guilty of Aggravated Skull-Fucking With Intent to Distribute
September 15, 2008

America Is Suddenly Bursting With Concerned Christian Conservatives Expressing Conservatively Christian Concern over McCain/Palin

People may be confused why in every post I say I'm a concerned Christian.

Astroturfing.

David Axelrod is called the "Master of Astroturfing." Astroturfing is the dishonest PR technique of inserting PR messages straight from the PR shop out into the public, but in the guise of "concerns" of "real citizens" who are "independent" and have "no relationship" whatsoever to the PR campaign.

It tries to disguise itself as a "grassroots" phenomenon -- but it's artificial and inorganic. Hence, "Astroturf."

And David Axelrod is notorious for making extensive use of this controversial tactic -- and was notorious for it even before he begain running Barack Obama's campaign.

Axelrod is working his astroturf magic by seeding comments throughout the internet containing his talking points. His new technique is to have the pro-Obama, anti-McCain/Palin talking points coming, supposedly, from "Christians" or "lifelong Republicans."

It's not just the internet of course. Letters to the editor from concerned conservative Christians are being printed too. From Best of the Web:

The Lebanon (N.H.) Daily News carries a letter to the editor from Christopher Tarsa, who makes the case for crossing party lines to support Barack Obama:

As a Republican and strong McCain supporter in 2000, I was disappointed and saddened in 2004 when McCain permanently traded in his maverick credentials and sold out his principles to support George W. Bush. I now find it equally disturbing to see him gamble our security and future with a reckless choice for a running mate.

Gov. Sarah Palin clearly has a bright future in politics. She may even have the depth and diversity of experience to be a vice-presidential candidate four years from now.


The McCain ticket, with all of its newfound "freshness" and despite all of the claims, has quickly devolved into the politics-as-usual that we have come to expect in the last eight years. McCain and Palin quickly emerged from the rhetoric of their convention as the uniters of dividers.

I talk politics with a lot of people from all walks of life. I find it compelling that many of the ordinary Republicans I talk to understand that their families cannot afford another four years like the last eight. We all deserve better.

But the paper appends a tagline that rather undercuts Tarsa's claim to speak "as a Republican": Tarsa is chairman of the Lebanon County Democratic Committee." Apparently party lines run right through Christopher Tarsa.

I'm surprised the paper noted this big McCain supporter's actual party affiiation.

But note the letter follows the pattern of the classic Astroturf sockpuppet:

1) Claim to be either a Christian, a Republican, or a former McCain backer.

2) Claim to have a basic emotional affinity for McCain, Palin, or Republicanism ("Gov. Sarah Palin clearly has a bright future in politics") and say some weakly "supportive" things in order to convince people you "think like them" and are basically "on their side" before you...

3) Push all the Obama HQ-approved talking points against the ticket, often expressing smears against McCain or Palin that you're merely "concerned" will begin to weight down the ticket when the "story begins to break."

I like that last tactic -- see, they're not pushing these unsourced, unverified claims on you. They're not asserting they're true or anything. They're just worried that when the "story gets out" it will hurt the ticket. They're just "raising questions" that they, as Concerned Conservative Christians, are conservatively Christianishly concerned by.

Robert, down the page (in the Jesus Was a PR Flack post), is very concerned, for example, that McCain is not really pro-life and that he's lying about it. He's worried McCain will make his real pro-choice politics explicit. And he frets that this will then harm McCain's standing with Concerned Christian Conservatives such as himself.

It's transparent, it's absurd, it's blatantly dishonest, it's scandalous in its contempt for fair play, nevermind the contempt shown for the intelligence of the American voter, and, most important of all, it's a big juicy story about shabbily dishonest political skullduggery the MSM should be covering but of course will not.


And, as a concerned Christian conservative, I support the media's brave and honest digging into Sarah Palin's history while studiously avoiding Barack Obama's.


PS: The media is in a uniquely advantageous position to report this story. As many of these Concerned Christian Conservatives are posting on the media's comment boards, any MSM organization out there could begin looking at the IP's of Concerned Christian Conservatives to see if they originate from DC or Chicago. Or if they've been suspiciously anonymized.

And they could even just ask Axelrod if the campaign is doing this -- getting them on record before they begin checking.

But they won't.

They know damn well Axelrod is doing this -- but they approve of the technique.

And, as a Concerned Christian Conservative conservatively concerned by Christian commenters conservative Christian concerns, I applaud them!


PPS: Didn't McCain do this too?

Yes and no. "No" being the more important answer.

It is true that McCain's website encouraged readers to put out the McCain message out on blogs, and to refute smears against him, and etc.

He was rapped for this encouragement -- including by me. Not for its actual dishonesty. More for the Ron Paul-esque pure annoyance factor.

But his encouragement was not a dishonest one. He did not encourage his readers to pose as "liberal leaning former Hillary voters" who "think Obama is a nice guy and has a good sense of oratory" but who is "simply not prepared to lead."

He encouraged his real readers-- real people -- to just push the McCain message out there -- but, crucially, not to disguise the partisan leaning of the commenter pushing the message.

In Obama's case, it's not merely supporters of Obama pushing his message. Seattle Slough does this every week, but no one accuses him of hiding his liberal bent.

No, in Obama's case, he has PR professionals busy, busy, busy at their keyboards, falsely claiming to be Republicans or Christians, all working off the same basic three-part script. 1, Claim to be conservative or Christian, 2, say some weakly charitable things about McCain and/or Palin to "prove" you're not a partisan, 3, stick the dagger in and then break it off.

And once again, as a Christian conservative filled with concerns (as well as some chagrin -- did I mention my chagrin?), although I will concede that John McCain served his country well and Sarah Palin is an attractive candidate, I must express my Christian conservative concerns that they are Nazis who hunt, kill, butcher and eat human beings.

I don't know about your Bible, but mine says I can't even eat fucking shelfish*, never mind people.

* True, this is in the "Jew Section." As a Concerned Christian Conservative, this edict does not apply to me, as it is supplanted by Jesus' Sermon at the Red Lobster.


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posted by Ace at 05:24 PM

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