October 21, 2004


British intervention in poll backfires (David Rennie, 21/10/2004, Daily Telegraph)

Dan Harkins, a political activist in the vital swing state of Ohio, was excited when he first heard that the Guardian newspaper was recruiting readers to write to voters in his state in the hopes of giving foreigners a voice in the American election.

Yesterday, the first of about 14,000 Guardian readers' letters started arriving in the mailboxes of Clark County, Mr Harkins's home region - chosen by the British paper as a pivotal election district where President George W Bush and Senator John Kerry are neck and neck.

The first letters to be made public all urged Clark County voters to reject Mr Bush. As he watched the reaction of friends and neighbours, Mr Harkins was delighted.

He is the chairman of the Clark County Republican Party, and his neighbours' reaction was outrage. "It's hysterical," laughed Mr Harkins, showing off sheaves of incensed e-mails and notes from local voters.

The Republicans' delight compares with the gloom among local Democrats, who fear that "foreign interference" is hurting Mr Kerry.

There's nothing more damaging for a campaign than when a concrete event confirms the caricature of the candidate. This whole episode confirms Mr. Kerry as the candidate of transnationalism vs. the candidate of liberal democracy, George W. Bush.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 21, 2004 8:55 AM

Dear Guardian,

Please launch a similar campaign for my state of NJ. It looks like we might be in play and we'll need you to put the Republicans over the top.



Posted by: NKR at October 21, 2004 9:24 AM

Apropos of our little discussion below is this quote from the Telegraph article:

The young soldier's mother, Sarah, was indignant at the letter's talk of Iraq war casualties. "If our son has to go to Iraq, and is killed, it's something we are ready to sacrifice for freedom, and so is he."

Posted by: David Cohen at October 21, 2004 9:33 AM

It's right put of Polish history. Foreign powers interfering with your elections and controlling the operation of your legislature--pre-partition Polish history, that is.

It is a hoot this time, however. They just don't get it. Most of us are not like Jimmy Carter, and we do not regret our independence.

Posted by: Lou Gots at October 21, 2004 10:29 AM

The Grauniad editors seem a bit deluded as to both the nature and effect of their project:

Ian Katz, Good-Humoured Guardian Editor: In Denial?

Posted by: Scott Burgess at October 21, 2004 10:55 AM

Why is it that the Left worldwide has such a poor grasp of basic marketing skills?

Posted by: Bret at October 21, 2004 11:55 AM

Bret: I would hypothesize it is because they have a mistaken understanding of human psychology and behavior, which misinforms all their efforts and programs.

Posted by: jd watson at October 21, 2004 12:26 PM

Of course, the British editorialists don't get it.

They are used to being treated as superior to the normal run of man, because of their birth and position, not due to the quality of their thinking or their knowledge.

That does not happen in egalitarian societies like the US.

Posted by: Bart at October 21, 2004 1:30 PM

Would "I told you so," be inappropriate?

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at October 21, 2004 2:04 PM