Micro-targeting Mormons

I recently stopped by a fave blog of mine, Frank's Weekly Rant, the personal blog of Frank Schubert, who, when he's not busy blogging, is the co-manager of the 'Yes on 8' campaign in California.

Avid readers of Frank's blog, like me, had recently become very concerned with the decidedly non-weekly and increasingly infrequent fresh rants available at Frank's place, so we were all very relieved to read this in his latest post:

I've heard from several fans ... noting that my Weekly Rant has missed a few weeks. I apologize for the lapse. It's been a busy time as our firm works tirelessly to pass Proposition 8, the common-sense marriage initiative. If I weren't so busy battling the People's Lawyer [Jerry Brown], I could have written more columns. I'm back on track now.

Now that Frank is back on track, I hope he might make himself available to answer a few questions from this inquisitive fan.

Is your Prop 8 campaign strategy - which takes advantage of Mormon volunteers to identify potential 'Yes on 8' voters in California - one that was formulated in your office or did that strategy originate elsewhere?

I mean, you're obviously someone who understands how costly such micro-targeting efforts can be.

Frank in February:

The big news being reported out of the SF convention is that the state GOP apparently has a big donor on the hook to erase the crushing debt it accumulated during the 2006 election cycle. That's a sordid tale of its own. The GOP went heavily into debt to, in part, finance the highly-touted "micro-targeting" strategy undertaken by political advisors to Arnold Schwarzenegger. Micro-targeting involves integrating political databases with commercial databases to create a profile of an individual voter. Those deemed "persuadable" are targeted by the campaign. Schwarzenegger's advisers had seen micro-targeting used in the 2004 presidential election, and credited it for helping Bush carry critical states like Ohio. But the 2006 Schwarzenegger micro-targeting effort came with a steep price - at least $26 million. Arnold won reelection, but the micro-targeting effort that was counted on to boost the prospects of GOP candidates and causes was a complete and costly bust. With the presidential election fast approaching, the GOP is still trying to pay off those old bills.

My only concern here is ... who to credit for such a brilliant plan?  Falwell?  Romney? You?  Whoever it was, saving $26 million bucks oughta be a feather in somebody's cap ... is that cap yours?

As a follow-up question, if you are, in fact, the genius behind the current Mormon precinct-walking, vote-counting effort, did you bother to take into account the potential risk of mobilizing members of a faith who've historically displayed a willingness to follow counsel given by racist Mormon leaders, such as Apostle Mark E. Petersen?

Mormon leader Mark E. Petersen:

"The discussion on civil rights, especially over the last 20 years, has drawn some very sharp lines. It has blinded the thinking of some of our own people, I believe. They have allowed their political affiliations to color their thinking to some extent, and then, of course, they have been persuaded by some of the arguments that have been put forth....We who teach in the Church certainly must have our feet on the ground and not to be led astray by the philosophies of men on this subject.... "I think I have read enough to give you an idea of what the negro is after. He is not just seeking the opportunity of sitting down in a cafe where white people eat. He isn't just trying to ride on the same streetcar or the same Pullman car with white people. It isn't that he just desires to go the same theater as the white people. From this, and other interviews I have read, it appears that the negro seeks absorbtion with the white race. He will not be satisfied until he achieves it by intermarriage. That is his objective and we must face it. We must not allow our feelings to carry us away, nor must we feel so sorry for negroes that we will open our arms and embrace them with everything we have. Remember the little statement that we used to say about sin, 'First we pity, then endure, then embrace.'.... "Now let's talk about segregation again for a few moments. Was segregation a wrong principle? when the Lord chose the nations to which the spirits were to come, determining that some would be Japanese and some would be Chinese and some Negroes and some Americans, He engaged in an act of segregation.... When he told Enoch not preach the gospel to the descendants of Cain who were black, the Lord engaged in segregation. When He cursed the descendants of Cain as to the Priesthood, He engaged in segregation.... "Who placed the Negroes originally in darkest Africa? Was it some man, or was it God? And when He placed them there, He segregated them.... "The Lord segregated the people both as to blood and place of residence. At least in the cases of the Lamanites [Native Americans] and the Negro we have the definite word of the Lord Himself that he placed a dark skin upon them as a curse -- as a punishment and as a sign to all others. He forbade intermarriage with them under threat of extension of the curse. And He certainly segregated the descendants of Cain when He cursed the Negro as to the Priesthood, and drew an absolute line. You may even say He dropped an Iron curtain there.... "Now we are generous with the negro. We are willing that the Negro have the highest education. I would be willing to let every Negro drive a Cadillac if they could afford it. I would be willing that they have all the advantages they can get out of life in the world. But let them enjoy these things among themselves. I think the Lord segregated the Negro and who is man to change that segregation? It reminds me of the scripture on marriage, 'what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.' Only here we have the reverse of the thing -- what God hath separated, let not man bring together again."

-- LDS (Mormon) Apostle Mark E. Petersen:  Race Problems - As They Affect The Church, speaking at the Convention of Teachers of Religion on the College Level, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, August 27, 1954

Seriously now, having followed your rants, I'm having a hard time pegging you as a bigot in the mold of the Mormon Elder Petersen I've quoted above.  I don't think you are.  For example, I thoroughly enjoyed this April rant of yours:

I am convinced that attacking smokers is the only remaining acceptable discrimination out there. While on a recent business trip, I flew through Chicago. Most every airport is nonsmoking. I get that. On a layover at O'Hare on my way to the east coast, I stopped at the United Red Carpet Club, to whom I pay $400 a year for the privilege of being insulted and inconvenienced, and asked the woman at the desk whether there were any smoking areas at the airport, fairly certain of the answer. She stares at me with a most disapproving look and says, "Why don't you not smoke and add a minute to your life."

This is a woman who is at least 50 pounds overweight. How is it that this fat woman feels that it is okay to lecture me about smoking when her rear end is spilling over the sides of her chair? I could have told her that I was concerned that her weight would result in heart disease, diabetes and any number of other medical ailments. I could have lectured her about how much American taxpayers spend each year to provide medical care to obnoxious fat women. I could have adopted a sanctimonious attitude and advised her about the obvious benefits of a Stairmaster, letting her know that it might turn her rear end into an attractive human body part instead of the planet she was lugging around her solar system. Instead, I laughed and said, "Gee, thanks for the tip. I wasn't aware that smoking was bad." Then I walked off.

I am not asking for sympathy, but I am asking people to seriously think about how acceptable it has become to attack smokers, and think about the broader implications this has on basic American principles. Like, say, this crazy idea of liberty and freedom that is at the core of our civilization.

...

There are also proposals to prohibit parents from smoking in their own car if children are present. These same parents are free to decide how to educate their children, teach them a value system, decide what type of food to ingest into their bodies, determine their leisure pursuits, decide what kind of clothes they'll wear, determine if they should see a doctor when they are sick, and otherwise make decisions covering every aspect of their young lives. But, by God, these parents should be prohibited from engaging in a legal pursuit (smoking) while in the presence of their kids.

If a lawmaker authored a bill to prohibit blacks from renting an apartment, they would be recalled from office. If there was a proposal enacted to ban women or gays from driving a car, a lawsuit would immediately be filed challenging the measure. But when a proposal is offered to discriminate against smokers, it is met with applause.

If there is one thing the Constitution of the United States stands for, it's the principle of equal protection for all. It's not just the favored who enjoy constitutional rights. Or the privileged. Or the rich. Or the popular. It's ALL. Yes, even smokers.

However, in the context of discussing your work in favor of Prop 8, might I gently suggest that perhaps attacking smokers is NOT the only remaining acceptable discrimination out there? I gotta admit, I was sorely tempted to edit your final "Yes, even smokers." to read "Yes, even gays." .. but that'd be plain silly, now wouldn't it?  Everybody knows that us smokers are out there fighting the good fight every day, whereas those damn gays, well, what's that all about anyway?  Deviants.  I should be able to blow a little smoke in my boy's face without having some PC patrol coming along telling me I'm less of a father for it ... right, Frank?  I mean, I'm heterosexual, so back me up here.  Who are these people bringing the judgment down on our parenting choices?  Like you, it's gettin' me riled up and rearin' for a fight.  Although, before I come out swingin', could you remind me again who the enemy is here?  You seem to enjoy taking the do-gooders to task, but at the same time, you seem to be relying on the same do-gooders to help you pass Prop 8.  Color me ... confused.

Of course, all my inconvenient questions aside, it's not that I don't understand the WHY behind Prop 8.  You're a smart guy, and as a professional (and strictly GOP) PR flack, you obviously understand the challenges ahead for your party, as another one of your February rants makes clear:

There has been a decided lack of enthusiasm among Republicans for any of the people who entered the presidential race this cycle. In fact, Republicans have been dispirited for a good long while now. After more than a decade of power in Washington, it's as if rank and file Republicans have a hangover. And for good reason: GOP Congressional leaders bungled their years in power and became the party of big spending, rather than fiscal conservativism. "Conservative" lawmakers became experts in earmarking, bringing home the federal pork for their districts at the expense of the national interest. War heroes like Duke Cunningham turned out to be on the take. Conservative stalwarts like Tom Delay and John Doolittle got wrapped up in the Jack Abramoff influence peddling scandal. Despite their rhetoric, the GOP did nothing to secure our borders when they had the chance. And then the war in Iraq went south, and with it, the final reason for GOP passion.

Until Prop 8 came along, right?

Right?

I mean, until the chance came along to hate on an unpopular minority, you were pretty much SOL, weren't you, Frank?

In any case, I hope you won't use the following excuse to avoid responding to me directly (admittedly, I've grown tired of the responses I've gotten from your Secretary-cum-Communications-Director Jennifer Kerns on this issue):

Frank in June:

This is why I almost never talk to the media during a hotly contested initiative campaign. I would much rather have a press secretary handle those chores. First, if the media thinks they can talk directly to the campaign manager, they will always want to talk to me and not the press secretary. Second, the press secretary can honestly avoid discussion of subjects about which she or he is not informed. If the media asks me, for example, how much money we are going to spend on an ad buy, I have to tell them, "I'm not going to say." That sort of response doesn't make the campaign look very good in print.

With all due respect for Jennifer's talents, and with apologies for any hassle that answering this question might involve, please allow me to ask you directly:  how much are you saving by mobilizing the Mormons, Frank?

What I mean is, I wanna interface directly with the patriot who penned this memorable paragraph on his blog in April:

In our history, we've seen women, minorities, students and taxpayers all win important freedoms through application of the Bill of Rights. Sadly, today we increasingly see demands that unpopular people lose certain freedoms--the freedom to smoke in one's own car or house, and the freedom to own a gas-guzzling car or truck are but two of countless behaviors under constant attack. That's the thing about the Bill of Rights. It applies to all, and must be defended if it is to be meaningful.

And, if/when you reply, could you also let me know your true feelings about the Field Poll? I've recently read comments of yours dissing the Field polling that's been done re Prop 8, but pardon me if I place more credence in these earlier comments of yours (which strike me as a tacit endorsement of the same polling outfit that you've been slagging lately).  

Frank in January:

With the Field Poll results on Proposition 93 showing the term limits measure tied at 39 percent `yes,' 39 percent `no,' the game of legislative dominoes is now on. There's little doubt that Prop 93 will be defeated. Support for this proposal is down 11 points in the past month, while opposition is up 7 points. All the momentum is favoring the `no' side of this contest, and there isn't much that can be done to reverse that momentum.

It was pretty funny watching Gale Kaufman - an exceptionally talented consultant and someone with whom I've had the pleasure of working - attempt to spin the Field Poll results. Her campaign didn't say the survey results were wrong, but instead were "volatile." That's like saying the last voyage of the Titanic was "trending downward." Prop. 93 is tanking and will soon be resting at the bottom of the political sea.

Pretty funny, indeed.  Considering the latest Field Poll, thank goodness you have a Press Secretary to cover for you, because Prop 8 is tanking.  In any case, eight months of Frank's Rants later, I'm thinking we've found a new ally in the fight against Prop 8.  

Welcome aboard, Frank.

---

Footnote:  All the words in blockquotes above are Frank Schubert's own (other than the Mark E. Petersen quote).

Chino Blanco

Tags: Frank Schubert, Gay Marriage, lds, Mormon, Proposition 8 (all tags)

Comments

1 Comment

How to save $26 million ...

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

As a follow-up to our request for volunteers to help with the Yes on Prop 8 campaign this Sunday, we have a little more information for you. The stake has been divided up by zip codes, and since our ward has no specific geographical boundaries, we've been asked to help three of the other wards in the stake with volunteers. You will be assigned to a Zip Code Supervisor (ZCS) to help in the work of contacting voters in the area to get the word out about Prop 8.

There's lots to be done, and you don't have to just be available on Saturday mornings or go door-to-door to help. We need volunteers to call voters, drivers to transport the door-knockers, people to help enter the data we collect, etc. Hopefully, with the range of responsibilities and the flexibility to help when your time allows, we'll be able to get everyone's support on this great campaign to help strengthen the family in California. Please email ___ so we can get you assigned to one of the ZCS's in the stake to use your valuable time and talents.

We look forward to your enthusiastic support as we sustain our priesthood leaders in defending the family as Heavenly Father has established it. We have a duty to fulfill, and the Lord will bless us as we give of our best efforts in supporting this cause.

With love,

Your Brethren in the Bishopric

by Chino Blanco 2008-08-24 08:12PM | 0 recs

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