If you’re part of an organization with a name like the Right To Life of Michigan Political Action Committee, and you’re going to be making telephone calls telling people how to vote in the upcoming congressional elections, the least you could do would be to make sure that the voices making the telephone calls were actually alive. That’s not how the Right To Life Of Michigan PAC sees things, apparently.
This morning, the Right To Life Of Michigan PAC reports that it has made independent expenditures on behalf of Republican congressional candidates Rocky Raczkowski, John Kupiec, Tim Walberg, and Rob Steele. Those independent expenditures bought the services of TollFreeZone.Com. TollFreeZone is a company that helps politicians make robocalls – telephone calls made automatically by a machine, which blasts a pre-recorded message at any person who should be so unlucky as to pick up the phone when it rings.
TollFreeZone, of course, promotes its services in a more positive tone. They promise:
“Voice broadcasting is a message delivery service that plays your pre-recorded message on your customer’s answering machine, voice mail service, or even to a “live” person — depending on the voice broadcasting program you choose. The voice on the broadcast message sounds so incredibly real and unscripted, people believe you actually took the time to call them personally!”
I can’t say about what anyone else things when they receive a robocall, but as for me, I do not believe any politician actually took the time to call me personally when I get a political robocall. I pick up the phone, and I say hello, and am interrupted by what sounds like a rude person talking over me. If the sound quality is good, I then say something like, “I’m sorry I interrupted you,” but then the recorded message keeps right on talking at me, as if I’m not there. I hang up mid-message, and feel a seething resentment for the political candidate who authorized this mechanical harassment.
Let’s say that someone didn’t catch on very quickly, however, and they thought that the political candidate was actually calling them personally on the telephone. What would happen at the end of the message? The person being called would say something like, “Thanks for the call, you’ve got my vote!” Then, they would be met with silence – a rude, cold silence. Only the most dense person could possibly believe at that point that they were being called in person by a real candidate.
So, why is the Right To Life Of Michigan PAC paying for this callous approach to political campaigning? Well, for one thing, it comes dirt cheap. The most that this special interest group paid to bother voters with robocalls today was in Timothy Walberg’s district, where they were able to arrange upcoming robocalls to a large number of voters for only $361.99.
The other important factor is that the Right To Life Of Michigan PAC isn’t a real grassroots activist organization. It mostly just shifts money around, trying to trade cash for political influence. The organization’s business address is a post office box.
So, the Right To Life Of Michigan PAC doesn’t have enough volunteers to pursue a genuine effort to reach out to voters. The few people who are members of the Right To Life Of Michigan PAC don’t care about this year’s election enough to actually get on the telephone and really call people. They prefer to let robots do the work in promoting their half-hearted ideals.
The lame campaigning of the Right To Life Of Michigan PAC is a reminder that, as corrupt as this year’s independent expenditures game has become, there’s one thing that money just can’t buy: Genuine enthusiasm.