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September 18, 2005

More fun with internet domain names

Remember when the Mass. GOP bought up a couple of possible "Reilly for Governor" internet domain names and threatened to put anti-Reilly propaganda on the sites?  (So far, there's nothing on those sites, but maybe there will be when the campaign heats up.)

Well, it appears that some Democratic-leaning activists have taken a page out of the GOP's playbook.  As you know, Pat Jehlen, having won the primary for the Second Middlesex Senate seat, faces Republican Bill White in a special election on September 27.  White, like any good 21st-century candidate, has got a website, BillWhiteForSenate.com,  on which you can find out a bit more about him, make a donation to his campaign, etc.

The one thing you can't find out on White's website is what party he belongs to.  His entire site is remarkably devoid of any reference to the fact that he's a Republican.  This is no accident - to the contrary, it appears to be White's considered strategy to finesse his party membership (thanks sco). 

Now to the internet angle: some enterprising folks - we don't know who because they have purchased a private domain name registration - have put up a competing site, WhiteForSenate.com, the point of which is to remind the good people of the Second Middlesex Senate district that Mr. White is, in fact, a member of the party of George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, you get the picture.  The site is faintly amusing - one of the upcoming events reads "September 26: Election-stealing seminar with guest speaker Katherine Harris."

On the whole, though, this sort of stunt is not exactly the best way to elevate the level of political discourse.  Certainly, it's fair to ask Mr. White the extent to which he supports the stated platform of the party of which he is a member.  But to suggest - by posting a link on the joke site - that White supports, for example, the Article 8 Alliance (the dopes who want to impeach the SJC Justices who voted for gay marriage) isn't especially constructive. 

So let's have everyone behave like grownups.  Mr. White: if you're embarrassed about being a Republican, for God's sake quit the party and declare yourself an independent (it's probably too late to do this formally, but you could still say it).  You'll probably get a lot more votes, though the "R" is going to be next to your name on the Sept. 27 ballot, regardless of what you say in your campaign.  Otherwise, tell us loud and proud that you're a Republican, tell us why, and tell us where you disagree with the national party platform.  And to the mystery owners of the WhiteForSenate.com site: if you've got any evidence to show that White is simpatico with the Article 8 crowd, or the Christian Coalition, or is basing his campaign on the country turning its back on "wickedness and rampant sodomy," bring it on; otherwise, it's fine to note that White is a Republican and to ask him to explain, but let's leave it at that.

Posted by David at 07:25 PM in Massachusetts | Permalink

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yeah the party that brought us the willie horton ad and swift boat veterans for truth is all about "political discourse." how many times do you let yourself get cheapshotted before you realize that the other guy isn't playing by "the rules"? wake up, man.

Posted by: karl rove | Sep 18, 2005 11:53:42 PM

Oh David, get real. The only thing I know about Bill White is that he is a Republican who wants everyone to think that he isn't REALLY a Republican. Whoever did this site recognized the same thing -- and found a great way to express it. Good for them!

Bill White, at some point, chose to be a Republican. He doesn't want to tell us what about that party's values he finds so appealing. Not the kind of person I want as my state senator!

And as far as acting like grownups: acting like grownups isn't going to bring back the thousands of dead Americans from George Bush's insane wars, the unnecessary death and suffering in New Orleans, or help the millions in poverty around the country who are getting fewer and fewer opportunities to make it because of Republican policies.

But we can start to turn things around by winning elections, and we do that, in part, by talking honestly about what the Republicans are really all about -- and there's nothing wrong with doing it with a little humor. They've been doing it to us for decades (except for the "honestly" part).

Bill White's political party has caused our country and our state great harm. Shame on us if we DIDN'T point this out.

It might not be the "best" way to elevate the political discourse, but it might be a fine way to win some elections. And we certainly need more of that!

Posted by: Medford Dem | Sep 19, 2005 1:35:09 AM

hat's great. Remind people he is a republican, like the last senator thjat was very much loved and delivered for his district, even when he was a repub.

Posted by: the troll | Sep 19, 2005 8:23:35 AM

The Republican party in 1990 was hardly the same thing as the Republican party today.

Medford Dem and David make good points about wanting to know WHY Bill White affiliates himself with this party yet hides that affiliation.

However, I also agree with David that this kind of tactic, while amusing, hurts in the long run more than it may help in the immediate. The Dems are going to win this race with or without back-handed tactics. Why resort to them?

Posted by: eury13 | Sep 19, 2005 9:25:25 AM

I-hear-a-train-a-come'n.
Hear the whistle? BILLLLL WHIIIIIITE

Posted by: The troll | Sep 19, 2005 9:48:41 AM

I think Bill White really is a Republican, who isn't about to renounce his party affiliation. On the other hand, downplaying that in this race is very sound election strategy, and I am not the least bit surprised that he's doing it. It's what I'd advise him to do if I was on his campaign. As for the joke site, it's clearly a joke site, and I think it's funny.

For someone to see that site, not understand the joke, and actually take it to mean that White is an Article 8, Christian Coalition type is... considerably less likely (or informed) than for someone to make those same assumptions based simply on knowing White's party affiliation without seeing that site. So I see no appeal in David's "grow up" platform, for either side. Bill White gains nothing by talking up his Republican affiliation in this race and I doubt he'd do it, and the site is a fine joke that makes its hoax nature clear by being outrageous, and should perhaps get even more outrageous.

(I have no affiliation with either the White campaign or the joke web site - which I found out about just now by reading this post)

Posted by: Cos | Sep 19, 2005 11:31:37 AM

I see no appeal in David's "grow up" platform, for either side
Not really my point. The appeal in my suggestion is, I would think, for the rest of us. White is a chickenshit if he's afraid of telling people he's a Republican. The "joke site" proprietors could be accused of the same, since they have taken the trouble of shielding their identities on their domain registration. Neither strategy benefits the public.

Posted by: David | Sep 19, 2005 11:39:43 AM

Somerville and Medford is one of last few places where party matters.
Bill White still will gbet more votes then you think.
Not as many people vote by party. Less so in l;egislative races, but state senate is not u.s. senate where every vote is needed.

Posted by: The troll | Sep 19, 2005 11:53:42 AM

Somerville and Mefford are..

Posted by: The troll | Sep 19, 2005 11:54:14 AM

Troll, is this like your prediction that Jehlen would come in third behind Casey in the primary?

Posted by: eury13 | Sep 19, 2005 11:59:05 AM

Even better eury.
I have been looking at the numbers, runing some algorithms I devised. Talked to some colleagues at the Jet Propulsion Lab, and they verified my data.
Bill White is a shoe in. Bet the house.

Posted by: The troll | Sep 19, 2005 12:35:32 PM

Re: voting by party

In a special election, it might be true that more people come out for the candidate than for the party, given that the people who come out to vote in these elections are likely to be involved in the community and may know the candidates either personally or by reputation.

That said, in a normal election, party is extremely important for local races, moreso than for President or Governor or other high-profile races. The reason for this is simple -- in the absense of information about a candidate, people will vote for the person from the party they most identify with. Often it is very difficult to get good information about downballot races; there are no ads on TV, maybe you get a phone call or a pamphlet in the mail, but if you are not plugged into the community you will not necessarily know much more than that.

This is one of the reasons that Romney's Team Reform got rocked in 2004. Many of the people who came out to vote for Kerry knew nothing of the legislative races and voted straight D down the ballot.

Posted by: sco | Sep 19, 2005 12:36:35 PM

To be effective, satire has to be funny and have some relationship to reality. The whiteforsenate.com page fails both tests.

If you actually know Bill White, you'd realize that he finds the Christian Coalition, Article 8 Alliance, Rick Santorum, and other right-wing nuts anathema to everything he stands for. He's not too fond of Mitt Romney, either. He considers himself a Republican in the tradition of Rockefeller, Frank Sargent, Edward Brooke, Eliot Richardson, and Bill Weld.

If neither Joe Mackey nor Pat Jehlen had won the Democratic primary last month, many left-leaning Democrats would likely be supporting Bill White next week.

I'm voting for Pat Jehlen, but I find the whiteforsenate.com 'parody' to be offensive, and wish whoever created it would take it down.

(P.S. Have you noticed that its links to the Christian Coalition and Article 8 Alliance have now disappeared?)

Posted by: Ron Newman | Sep 19, 2005 1:57:02 PM

So, how many friends of Mackey and Callahan and Casey, and republicans and independents are sending out dear friend cards and making call for Bill white. A lot of Mackey and Callahan supporters - who were anti-jehlen to begoin with- would have so much joy in seeing Jehlen lose.
Is there abehind the scenes movement going on for Bill White? I bet there is.
Will it be effective? Who knows

Posted by: The troll | Sep 19, 2005 2:17:22 PM

Medford Dem,
Take a chill pill, the Democratic Party is not a religion and Bill White is not sinner.
Your all or nothing total devotion is quite frankly, creepy.

Posted by: The troll | Sep 19, 2005 2:19:56 PM

If Bill White finds the mainstream Republican Party so offensive, why is he a Republican? He could run as an independent if he felt found his party's platform so disagreeable. But no, he wants to have it both ways. He wants whatever Republican support system exists in the district, while pretending he isn't a Republican with talk of his campaign as "progressive," "liberal," and "urban" and hiding his political affiliation on his website. If White were as progressive as he and his supporters want us to believe he is, he should have gone through the same Democratic primary process as the others.

If he's going to cast his lot with the Republican Party, then White needs to reap the consequences of what that party stands for. Look at the party leadership. You've got Rick Santorum's hatemongering, Tom DeLay's corruption, Bill Frist's hypocrisy, Dick Cheney's corporatism, and George W. Bush's cronyism. That is the Republican Party, and that's what Bill White is signing up for when he puts that R behind his name.

Actions have consequences, and Bill White has chosen to lie down with dogs. Did he really think he'd escape their fleas?

Posted by: Karl Rove | Sep 19, 2005 8:16:31 PM

I really get a kick out of this attitude that Bill White is committing a major wrong by not advertising he is a republican.
Karl Rove - you want to talk about party leadership? The repub leadership blows the dems leadership AWAY. yOU MAY NOT AGREE WITH THEM BUT THEY DO HAVE THEI ORGANIZATIONAL shit together.

Posted by: the troll | Sep 19, 2005 8:29:07 PM

Yes, they're effective because they're skilled at doing what you just did: changing the subject. Nobody said the Republican leadership wasn't good at leading their party. They've obvious done a fantastic job of that, as evidenced by the Republican control of the White House and Congress.

The issue isn't effectiveness at winning elections here for the Republican Party. The issue is morality and good governance, and all five of those people mentioned all get failing marks in that department.

If Bill White wants to take advantage of whatever Republican network exists in the area to help his campaign--as opposed to running as an independent--then his campaign must also take on the baggage of what the Republican Party stands for.

The Republican Party can talk all it wants about its "Big Tent." The reality is that they are a party that consistently favors special interests over public interest. Business over the consumer. Big business over small business. Evangelical Christians over freedom of religion. Anti-abortion over the freedom of choice. The Iraq War over The War on Terrorism. The NRA over public safety. Industry over our air, land, and water. The privileged few over the rest of society.

Sure, the Republican leadership has been amazingly effective at taking special interest positions and getting enough people to vote for them against their own best interests. That's kind of like showing off your marksmanship by climbing up in a tower and picking off people walking below. It's impressive and all, but at the end of the day, you're not really helping out society much. (Unless you're at Bob Jones University, that is.)

Posted by: Karl Rove | Sep 20, 2005 10:36:09 AM

Karl,
obviously you must have moved here from somewhere else and will jump around Cambridge, somerville, maybe Medfford, maybe Brighton, for the next few years. Then you will have family and say screw this and move to suburbs. Unless,you're a true believer or gay.

The reason I say this is because you have no sense of independent minded republicans in MA that worked very well with dems. Not knee jerks like many in state legislature now, but smart independent minded like Frank Hatch, Frank Sargent, Ed Brooke, Eliot Richardson, and even Charlie Shannon.
Many more republican reps and senators pre-1980's. There are some up there now, but most are dumb and repub puppets. White doesn't advertise it because he is not.
And he is Harvard educated.
I am a democrat and this blog knows I have real problems with party. If I was a candidate for state senate and it was said I am a fraud because I don't ewmbrace John Kerry publicly, well that is just stupid. Like your reasonong behind this Bill White is bad bad bad person because he is repub. But is not running on republican platform.

I don't see your argument. Is he going to transform into a monster if he is elected?

BILL WHITE RULES

Posted by: The troll | Sep 20, 2005 10:58:27 AM

When I run I I do not feel I have to take on the Baggage of the De4ms - and there is much baggage. But I will run as a dem.
Open up your eyes Karl. This is noty a religion. Yet the dems are use intimidation and demonizing of their own party members if they do not totally 100% agree with the party on every nuance of the 3 litmus test issues 1. Abortion 2. Gay marriage 3. Whatever the Teachers' unions want.
I am a dem but I tell the party to screw regarding their litmus test issues.
So where do you see it that Bill White is another Jesse Helms, other then the fact he is a republican?
Tell more Karl.

Posted by: The troll | Sep 20, 2005 11:06:10 AM

P.S. I have always been ambivilant about gun issues and have never owned one or shot one (would like to shoot one though) but after Katrina, hmmmmmm shouldn't we all own a gun?

Posted by: The troll | Sep 20, 2005 11:08:03 AM

Yes, that was the problem in New Orleans. Not enough guns. If only the citizenry of New Orleans had been strapped...

But seriously, not supporting John Kerry is one thing. Many of us found him an incompetent candidate and thoroughly unlikeable. However, if that led you to cast a vote in favor of George Bush, then you have serious problems, the likes of which can't be resolved on a blog.

Of the three "litmus tests" you mention, abortion is really the only one. John Kerry came out against gay marriage in the campaign. He supported civil unions instead. And the teachers' union one... That's so out of left field I don't even know what to say. But as for abortion, yes you're going to encounter strife if you're an anti-abortion Democrat. Because that's a special interest position. It takes the religious views of a particular group and attempts to force all Americans to live under those views.

On every single you can come up with except civil rights, the Republicans never fail to come down on the side of the rich and powerful and special interests, and the Democrats never fail to position themselves closer to the side of public interest. It's not as black and white with civil rights, but if you consider civil rights to be in the public interest, which I certainly do, then it's a clean sweep for the Democrats in terms of being closer to the public interest than the Republican. Therefore, any position you take that might stray to the right from the Democratic platform is by definition a step away from the common good of the public interest. You're obviously free to do so. You just need to be honest with yourself about what you're doing.

And you might want to lay off the gay stuff. You seem quite concerned with homosexuality for a heterosexual. Gays and lesbians want the rights and privileges afforded married couples in this country. I haven't heard any requests for passage of a law allowing them to bugger straight folks against their will, so your bum is probably safe for the time being.

Posted by: Karl Rove | Sep 20, 2005 11:40:13 AM

Karl,
not only did you not follow my point about John Kerry, you never answered my question.
As for "lay[ing] off gay stuff" why? Now we can't even talk about, huh? Like using the "N Word" is it now?
But anyway, thanls for wasting my time reading that last comment.
But again, can youn answer my question?
Why should we be so concerned about Bill White. Even Ron Newman defends him above.
You should keep quiet Karl and let others who agree with you but are more intelligent do your bidding. Really, you would be doing yourself a favor.
Unless you come back with something on point and backed up by facts or at least antecdotel examples which help prove your narrow minded puppet point

Posted by: The troll | Sep 20, 2005 11:54:33 AM

"And the teachers' union one... That's so out of left field I don't even know what to say."

Karl,
what hole did you just crawl out of. To be clear, I am talking more about the state dem party when it comes to the teachers' unions. But for that being out of left field. Hmmm, your comment comes past left field, beyond the Cask-n-Flagn', and somewhere in Kenmore Square.
You just lost all credibility with that commewnt.
Pat Jehlen wouldn't know how to vote on education if not for the teachers' unions telling her what to do and spoon feeding her the words to use.
She is the ultimate puppet for the three litmus issues I mentioned.

Seriously Karl, how long have you lived in this state, and more importantly, how long have you been paying attention to state politics. Remmeber , this senate run is about state politics, not about the Irac war, you puts.

Posted by: The troll | Sep 20, 2005 12:00:01 PM

Karl, how do you feel about charter schools and vouchers.
just wondering?

Posted by: The troll | Sep 20, 2005 12:04:20 PM

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