A few moments ago, I got a call from a real live person affiliated with Tom Cole's (Republican National Committee chairman) office at the RNC, offering me some sort of "Congressional honors"...I'm sure at a price.
The call was to "honor" me with some sort of impressive-but-amorphous-sounding Congressional award, apparently for my "leadership in business." (In truth, I do own three LLCs, but a glance at the bottom line in any of them -- thanks in part to Bushonomics -- would be enough to suggest that statement above should come with its own laugh-track.) Oh, yes, and also to accept Cole's invitation to join some fancy-named "roundtable" of business leaders, which I'm sure was another way to ask for a hefty contribution to the RNC coffers.
I kept quiet during the spiel, even though the temptation to burst out laughing was almost overwhelming. (After all, I figured the call was on the G.O.P. dime, so why not drag it out as long as possible?) Finally, after the sales pitch ended, I replied, as slowly as possible, something like "well, I'm not sure you've checked your records recently, but you should be aware that I was a Legislative District delegate for Barack Obama in the Democratic Caucuses." After a brief pause, and without much of a sense of surprise, the caller replied that she'd update her records, and the conversation ended as cordially as could be expected.
Now, aside from being amusing, one thing struck me about this: leaving aside my presence on the progressive Intertubes (which I wouldn't expect them to know about), and my campaign work for and appearance on Seattle television in support of Senator Kerry in 2004 (likewise), I have been a Democratic delegate four out the past seven Presidential cycles, and I have voted Democratic on the primary ballot every time since Washington ditched the open primary. You would think that voter records would indicate that I was on the Democratic side of the equation. But, apparently, the national Republican leadership doesn't bother cross-checking such information in drawing up their lead lists. As far as I know, since my businesses aren't in the Yellow Pages, they could only have gotten me down as a business owner from one or another third-rate directory of companies -- the sort that robocall me at inopportune times to verify my mailing address and phone number, and get those and nothing else from me.
I think it's symptomatic of the current political climate that the Republicans are either a) running an unsophisticated phoning operation that doesn't bother to identify their solid leads, b) so desperate for support that they're literally calling everybody with a business license, or c) both. Seriously, could you imagine Howard Dean running a cold-calling operation that would solicit contributions from McCain delegates?