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Newt called me last night. Maybe he's called you, too? If not, I'll bet he will. Apparently, he's actually running for president.

Though this may be just another of his scams.

Anyway: when Newt calls you, I suggest you answer. I had fun doing it, and so can you!

(I think I'm going to answer each and every one of the Republican calls this year. Why, and how I did this one, below the orange power-doodle.)

So, the phone rings.

My wife shouts to me: "Newt's calling you again!" and I dash for the phone. I had barely missed the call the night before, and that miss had given me time to think. At my age, time to think is very, very important.  

"Newt 2012" is on our caller ID. I lift the phone. Boy, am I stoked.

"Hello," I say.

"Hello," comes the voice, "this is Newt Gingrich, and,,," the recorded voice tells me all that is wonderful about Newt and his glorious history (Speaker of the House!), and how he will save us from a failed and socialist Obama, and how he (Newt!) is better than all the other in-fighting Republican candidates (but any one of them would be better than that failed socialist Kenyan).

I made that Kenyan part up. Sort of.

Newt goes on. Continents drift, and collide. Mountains buckle, and fall. Kingdoms rise and vanish. Species evolve and perish. Children are born and grow and are lavished with affection, and leave home, and then never, ever call their parents. (No, wait, that’s a different one. I’ve got all this stuff twirlin’ around my head.)

Newt goes on a bit more--as some of the most recent mountains begin to cool--and, eventually, he asks me to hold while one of his minions gets ready.

I wait. A few empires rise, and a thousand species vanish. There is no disturbance in The Force.

"Hello!" Debbie says, "Thank you for holding. I want to tell you..." And she does. And does some more. Debbie sounds like a very nice, earnest person. She clearly believes in Newt, trusts him. Apparently, a number of women have trusted Newt, but Debbie fails to mention this...nothing at all about Family Values™.

Anyway, after asking me for "Seventy-five, or a hundred dollars, or more," Debbie finally pauses.

"I am really excited that Newt called," I say.

"Oh?" Perhaps Debbie smells a rat.

"Yeah! The last time I heard from him, it was a fax, telling me I had been selected as an outstanding Physician of the Year. All it was going to cost me was $5000, and it included a meal with Newt, and a nice certificate to hang in my office." Then I add (which may be a lie; who knows?): "My brother got one of those faxes, too.  Five thousand dollars for a dinner and and framed piece of paper."

"But the campaign limit is $2500," Debbie objects. "So, $5000--"

"Yes. But this was a scam. There are no limits to scams. And, I understand that Newt did the same thing with businesses, asking $5000 for them to receive some sort of outstanding American entrepreneur award. One of the businesses he scammed was a strip club, and--"

"I am not a scam," Debbie says, rather vehemently. And I think of Nixon, because, you know, I got all these thoughts twirlin' in my head...

"I know you are not a scam," I reassure Debbie, and I hear her sigh. "But Newt is the walking, talking embodiment and incarnation of a scam."

Debbie gasps a little. I smell blood, but I try to stay nice. Or at least pretend.

"You can look it up," I say. "Google Newt, scam, physician. Or google Newt, scam, business."

"I had no idea you felt this way."

"You should get to know Newt a little better," I say. I am about to remark on Newt's serial adulteries, marriages, flip-flops on multiple issues. I want to ask Debbie about Fannie and Freddie. But Debbie, quite understandably, has other calls to take.

I wish Debbie well. I hope she will google Newt, scam, etc. I don't know if Debbie is a true believer, an employee, or what. I hope I did her a bit of good; I doubt it.

But a person can try. So: I am asking all of you to try.

Here is what I would suggest:

1) Take the call. If have caller ID, go ahead, pick up. Listen. Thank them for calling.

2) Be prepared, well in advance. Have a couple of key points you want to ask about, and make them ones that the person on the other end likely cares about (personal integrity!), and can find out information easily. Give them a couple of words to google.

3) Be polite. You are interested in the candidate. You know something about the candidate you wish to share. The person on the other end is a warm, caring, feeling human being. (Their candidate, of course, is not. But let them make that discovery.)

4) Be firm. You know what you are talking about. You prepped for this, right?

5) Take the call. Take the next call. And the next.

I welcome a frothy mix of further suggestions on how to talk to the callers about each of their candidates.

Originally posted to CitizenJoe on Sun Nov 27, 2011 at 11:08 AM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.


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