A few follow up thoughts on my reporting of the Raphael Shore/Obsession mini-scandal. Thanks to reader Robin, who asked what an “Israeli-Canadian” is doing trying to throw a U.S. presidential election? What does the Israeli government think of one of its citizens attempting to insert himself into the U.S. presidential politics on behalf of one party’s candidate? If I were Tzipi Livni this would cause me some concern as the nation’s foreign minister. In fact, if I worked for the Obama campaign I think I might make a discrete phone call to the Israeli embassy to ask them a question or two about Shore’s activities and whether they have the approval of the Israeli government.
Robin also notes an interesting interview Haaretz did with Shore’s brother, Hollywood writer David Shore, who created the Fox medical drama, Dr. House. She notes that David almost gives us a set of cue cards allowing us to parse brother Raphael’s behavior:
Q: One of the key phrases used in the show is “everybody lies.” House says it a lot. That’s a very pessimistic view for network TV in America.
A. “Again, I didn’t expect it to be this popular. I wrote that line in the pilot; it was just another line in the script. And then as we were doing the pilot, actually filming it, it suddenly became, obviously, … the defining thing about the show. And it’s not as pessimistic as it sounds. It’s more that everybody has secrets, and everybody sees the world their own way. It’s really a line that speaks to this character’s pursuit of truth. And that truth doesn’t come from just asking a person a question and getting an answer. Truth comes from digging deeper and finding out what’s behind that answer and what that answer really means. And even when a person’s not consciously lying, they are seeing a version of the world that may not be exactly the real version of the world. This character wants to find out the ultimate truth.”
Robin expands with her own commentary on the connection between David Shore’s insight into human behavior and Raphael Shore’s duplicitousness:
Considering the shadowiness of the Clarion Fund, it’s statement that “[producers Peter] Meir” and [Brett] “Halperin” are aliases, it’s refusal to state where the donations–in particular the sugar daddy donation for the mass mailing come from–I find David’s statement “everybody lies”, [and his contention] that truth [is] a matter of perception shrouded in personal secrets very illuminating…Don’t just ask questions, dig deeper, get at the answer and what the answer really means.
Indeed, so true in the case of the mass distribution of “Obsession”, who ALL is behind it, and what is their goal?
And on a related matter, there are other pro-McCain smearmeisters doing their damnedest among the Jewish electorate to throw the election. This report is from No Blood for Hubris:
Key West resident Joelna Marcus received a phone call today. She was asked if she is Jewish, and she replied in the affirmative.
She was asked if she was religious.
She was then asked if her opinion of Barack Obama would change if she knew that Obama had given lots and lots of money to the PLO.
Sounds like…John McCain’s Smear-Talk Express, not unlike Ol’ Man River, just keeps rollin’ along.
Update: Another FL voter (from Gainesville) has revealed he too received a similar push-poll call.
Ben Smith gives an account of a larger number of these calls spread over a larger geographical area:
Debbie Minden of Pittsburgh described receiving the call from “Research Strategies” late yesterday afternoon…
The caller asked, as she recalled: “Would it change your mind about Obama if you knew that his church was anti-Israel? Would it change you rmind if you knew that the leaders Hamas had endorsed Obama? Would it change your mind if you knew he had met with the leaders of Hamas?”
She also said one question asked whether it would change her mind if she learned he were a Muslim…
One of Smith’s astute commenters notes that Research Strategies is none other than Wilson Research Strategies, whose founder is Chris Wilson. Wilson is a top Republican consultant and friend of, you guessed it, Karl Rove:
Rove…is a longtime friend of Oklahoma City pollster…Chris Wilson of Wilson Research Strategies; the two worked together in Austin, Texas in the mid-1990s when Wilson was executive director of the Texas Republican Party and President Bush was governor of Texas.
Amazing, a little bit of blog sleuthing leads this filth right to the door of the Republican party. I hope Smith is calling Wilson as I write this to ask about his involvement in the push polling. And then he should be calling McCain’s campaign to ask if this is the type of “support” he wants or needs from his fellow Republicans.
Returing to Smith’s report, he notes the widespead geographic reach of the Jewish push-polling:
Jewish readers in New Jersey and Philadelphia report getting the call, as did The New Republic’s Jonathan Cohn, who took notes, and lists the negative messages:
Obama has had a decade long relationship with pro-Palestinian leaders in Chicago
the leader of Hamas, Ahmed Yousef, expressed support for Obama and his hope for Obama’s victory
the church Barack Obama has attended is known for its anti-Israel and anti-American remarks
Jimmy Carter’s anti-Israel national security advisor is one of Barack Obama’s foreign policy advisors
Barack Obama was the member of a board (sic) that funded a pro-Palestinian chartiable organization
Barack Obama called for holding a summit of Muslim nations excluding Israel if elected president
Regarding the last smear on the list: one wonders why anyone would think Israel should attend a “summit of Muslim nations.” But critiquing the rhetoric of these individual statements seems almost a waste of time when the root of the enterprise itself is as dirty as they come.
Cohn reports that his call came from a company called Central Marketing, which has done push polls on behalf of the campaigns of Republicans John Thune and Michael Bloomberg.
The calls are clearly designed to suppress Jewish turnout for Obama. If they can reduce the number of Jewish Obama voters by a few percentage points in key swing states, they figure they strengthen their chances of winning.
The way these things work the candidate has plausible deniability because the calls aren’t made by the campaign. They’re made by some sleazy operation operating on McCain’s behalf, but not directly affiliated with him. This is American presidential politics at its most disgusting. Will McCain be made to pay a price for it?