The best thing about the polls closing this evening is that it spells the end of the ceaseless telephone calls from candidates and their annoying campaign offices. By Sunday night I was getting about 3 per hour. That’s a lot of deleting off the answering device.
Please keep in mind that as a registered Green, I don’t vote in these primaries. Greens don’t have candidates, let alone primaries. (Guido is a registered Democrat, but she studiously ignores the telephone year-round, as a matter of lifestyle.)
Earlier in the election season, campaigns deployed the poll game, sneaking lies and propaganda into the questions they asked in the guise of opinion-mining. E.g.: “Does it make any difference to you as a voter that Bill McCollum is a deformed lying cretin who would slit his grandchildren’s throats for a vote, or would you prefer an honest white man who works for a living?” “Would allegations of Alex Sink’s menopausal rage leading to alcoholism and spouse abuse influence your decision to hand her the keys to the state’s Treasury?”
I got weekly calls from breathless mumblers who asked me “If the election were held today, would you vote for Steve Geller or Sue Gunzberger?” Yes, I answered. They’re the only two running, right? That stopped ‘em, if briefly. When they clarified, I mentioned that I’m not a registered Democrat – did they want my opinion anyway? They did not.
I’ve heard from Jeff Greene, his mother, and his wife. I will never vote for anybody who thinks it’s a good idea to have his family play political pimp. Can you imagine: “This is Mary Todd Lincoln. My husband Abe needs your support next Tuesday…..”?
And who are these people? “Opinion Florida.” “Campaign Data Systems.” “Vote Florida.” One night the caller ID showed “PAI” and an 800 number. What’s PAI? “Phones Are Irritating?”
Most of the calls have been recordings, robbing me of the opportunity to reel off stupid questions and insults. But many times there’s nobody there…..the automated system connects elsewhere. When I don’t pick these up, the recorder in the other room starts with the singsong “If you’d like to make a call, please hang up and try again…..” Maddening.
Millions of dollars are wasted like this. Does anybody believe that zillionaires dump truckloads of cash into this horse race out of commitment to the public? Ricky Scott and Jeffy Greene specifically tell you they don’t: “We’re smart businessmen, not politicians,” they say, “And we’ll run the state like a business.” Which means they intend to make their cash hemorrhage an investment that pays off handsomely – to themselves and their backers. That’s how business works, and that’s what businessmen do. It turns out there really is something worse for the public than a career politician.
Anyway, it ends today, if only temporarily. I’ll take it.