Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Stop Calling, Stop Phoning...I Don't Wanna Talk Anymore..."

Lady Gaga sang, "'Cause I'm out at the club and I'm sipping that bub, and you're not going to reach my telephone." I'm guessing that a lot of Maryland voters this year - myself included - have a new appreciation for Gaga's telephonic frustrations.

As The Sun's Julie Bykowicz reported, the influx of so-called political "robocalls" into Maryland households has emerged as a bipartisan source of irritation.  I can't imagine these calls are effective. Surely most people - unless they happen to be a political junkie like me - hang up after a few seconds.

As for me, I haven't received this many annoying calls from politicians since I worked for Eric Wargotz.

Several weeks ago, I received two robocalls, one each from the opposing sides in a competitive primary election for an open State Senate seat. I'm Facebook friends with both of the candidates, who apparently got my number via Facebook. Unfortunately for them, I do not live in the district they were seeking to represent.

In addition to these robocalls, there's also the scripted call phenomenon. I received two such calls. Each time, the youthful caller read the exact message below:

"Hello this is a brief message from the Maryland Republican Party. The politics as usual in Washington must come to an end. Liberals in Annapolis and Washington refuse to listen to voters, and their reckless spending threatens our country’s future.  Bob Ehrlich, our candidate for governor, and all our Republican candidates up and down the ballot are our best chance to stop politics as usual in Annapolis and Washington. We hope Bob and our Republican team can count on your support this election. This call has been paid for by the MD Republican party and is not authorized by any candidate."

I give these guys credit for moxy, but I didn't find the above message all that compelling. It is a little too, well, vanilla for my taste. What about words or phrases like "change," reform," or "fiscal responsibility"? They don't get into the main reason for the call - drumming up support for Bob Ehrlich and other GOP candidates - until halfway into it. By then, I'm guessing the average caller has hung up and gone back to watching reruns of Matlock.

I guess I can afford to unplug my phone for the next five days. That has worked well enough in helping me dodge my various alma maters who keep bugging me for donations.

So, pols, if you try calling me over the next few days and can't reach me, just assume that I'm unreachable because I left my head and my heart on the dance floor.

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