Those Annoying Robot Campaign Calls

By Michael Kaufman

In the last few days alone I’ve gotten phone calls from Ed Koch (twice), Carl Paladino, Nan Hayworth, Chris Christie, and a happy-sounding guy who sounded like he was from Texas. The guy who sounded like he was from Texas invited me to attend “the mother of all tea parties” Saturday in Putnam County.  Last week there was a call from someone who told me that “Rockland County needs Scott Vanderhoef.”

Because these messages are recorded, I was unable to respond.  I would have liked to have told Koch that his endorsements mean nothing to me. (I would have voted for David Carlucci anyway and I have no intention of voting for Nan Hayworth.) I would be more careful talking to Paladino: I wouldn’t want him threatening to “take me out” the way he did Fred Dicker, the venerable reporter who covers the dysfunctional political scene in Albany for the New York Post. That Paladino dude scares me.

I’d have politely told Hayworth that I prefer to have someone in Congress who will fight to preserve the Social Security system and who will work for better healthcare reform.  I would thank Governor Christie for taking time out of his busy schedule to call me—a  voter in a neighboring state—just to urge me to vote on Election Day. He didn’t even mention any candidate or political party by name. He just sounded like a swell guy with no ulterior motives such as national political aspirations.

And I would have read the tea party guy something someone emailed to me the other day. It goes like this:

To the Tea Party crowd….
You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed.
You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.
You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
You didn’t get mad when we spent over 800 billion… (and counting) on said illegal war.
You didn’t get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined.
You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq .
You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
You didn’t get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.
You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.
You didn’t get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.
You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You didn’t get mad when we let a major U.S. city, New Orleans, drown.
You didn’t get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend, the filthy rich, over a trillion dollars in tax breaks. You didn’t get mad with the worst 8 years of job creations in several decades.
You didn’t get mad when over 200,000 U.S. citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance.
You didn’t get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused U.S. citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments, retirement, and home values.
No…..You finally got mad
When a black man was elected president and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.
Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, job losses by the millions, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, and the worst economic disaster since 1929 are all okay with you, but helping fellow Americans who are sick…Oh, Hell No!!

And finally, to the guy who told me that Rockland County needs Scott Vanderhoef, I would say, “I don’t know about Rockland but Orange County needs him like a hole in the head.” 

As for my choice in the State Assembly race in the 97th District, I’m going with Myrna Kemnitz over Assemblywoman Annie Rabbitt. Not only do I agree with Kemnitz more on the issues, but I haven’t gotten any robot calls from her or her supporters.

FROM THE VIRTUAL MAILBAG—Thanks to Tom Karlson for his suggestion for a campaign slogan to set the record straight on healthcare reform: “They passed the bill, healthcare went up, without this law, we’d be (bleeped).” Now why didn’t the DNC think of that?

Michael can be reached at


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