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Hullabaloo


Sunday, May 17, 2015

 

It takes a criminal mind

by Tom Sullivan

After signing the credit card draft, the customer asked for his carbons back. (That tells you how long ago this was.) The waiter (moi) must have gotten a puzzled look on his face.

"Nobody ever asked you that before?" the customer asked.

Nope.

The customer explained that dumpster-diving thieves would steal carbons to get credit card numbers.

"Huh? That never would have occurred to me," I said.

"That's because you don't have a criminal mind," the man said.

Which brings us to this piece in the New York Times. It seems Republican PACs are making a concerted effort to "inhabit the liberal role" on social media and dupe lefties into sharing anti-Hillary Clinton memes. Bill McKibben (350.org), the A.F.L.-C.I.O., and others have fallen prey to the tactic:

For months now, America Rising has sent out a steady stream of posts on social media attacking Mrs. Clinton, some of them specifically designed to be spotted, and shared, by liberals. The posts highlight critiques of her connections to Wall Street and the Clinton Foundation and feature images of Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, interspersed with cartoon characters and pictures of Kevin Spacey, who plays the villain in “House of Cards.” And as they are read and shared, an anti-Clinton narrative is reinforced.

America Rising is not the only conservative group attacking Mrs. Clinton from the left. Another is American Crossroads, the group started by Karl Rove, which has been sending out its own digital content, including one ad using a speech Ms. Warren gave at the New Populism Conference in Washington last May.

The Times continues, "Conservative strategists and operatives say they are simply filling a vacuum on the far left ..." Out of the goodness of their hearts.

Ken Goldstein, a professor specializing in political advertising at the University of San Francisco, explains that this effort shows Republican strategists are "thinking a couple steps ahead.” Steven Law, president of American Crossroads, says the goal is to erode support for the Democrats' presumptive 2016 presidential candidate among base voters:

“It can diminish enthusiasm for Hillary among the base over time,” he said. “And if you diminish enthusiasm, lukewarm support can translate into lackluster fund-raising and perhaps diminished turnout down the road.”

If Hillary Clinton wasn't their target, it would be someone else. If it wasn't Karl Rove's stealing opponents' campaign letterhead, it would be another scam. Somewhere they must have a handbook for this shit.

It never ceases to amaze me how smart American lefties think they are, and how easily we fall for tactics like these. Not that we'd ever admit to being played for suckers. That would blow our whole "smarter than thou" vibe that already turns off lots of voters — even when opponents are not branding us elitists.

Heads up, people.