Political Dirty Tricks

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Say you really wanted to win an election, no holds barred (and no second thoughts about ethics), how would you do it? Allen Raymond worked as a GOP consultant and spent three months in jail for dirty political tricks in New Hampshire in the 2002 election (he now says what he did was wrong, and says he hopes to empty the political bag of dirty tricks). Some of the ideas he mentions in his new book, How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative: Jam your opponents' phone lines on election day (the stunt he did jail time for). Call thousands of voters in the middle of the Super Bowl claiming to represent your opponent. Drum up a phony press release on your opponent's letterhead full of lies and half-truths. And that's just to warm up.
As the race for President really starts to get interesting, we'll talk with Raymond today about his story, and some of the underhanded tactics we might see between now and November.

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This sounds much like "win at any Cost".
Does your guest accept the premise that although something may not be legal it is still WRONG? Does this approach to winning contribute to the feeling among the public that politics is corrupt?

Sent by Richard R. Smith | 3:54 PM | 1-7-2008

You're guest talked about making political phone calls that pretend to be from the oponent - isn't that fraud?

Sent by Chris Harris | 4:07 PM | 1-7-2008

Hi Mike, re: Political Dirty Tricks:
I wanted to ask your guest about the stories surrounding the gubernatorial race that brought Cristie Whitman to power in NJ. As I recall, it was reported that the tactics used by a Republican operative (Ed Rollins, I think) to suppress the black vote in that race included rewarding black ministers who would tell their flocks not to vote. Shortly after the election, he reportedly took credit for these tacktics as well as for the election's outcome until he was advised that what he was claiming was illegal. I think these reports are relevant because old Ed is back in the saddle advising a Republican candidate for the presidency.

Sent by Andy klemer | 4:29 PM | 1-7-2008

Negative ads backfire so well. They would be high on my list.
Have MY people put together a negative ad (almost to the point of slander). Which I would respond to as completely false the next day. Followed by a "truth correcting" ad on the second day.
People dislike bullies, I would try to portray my opponent as "the bully".

Sent by Harold | 4:49 PM | 1-7-2008

This interview was disgusting and not worthy of Talk of the Nation. Raymond and the interviewer discussed the political dirty tricks as if they were fraternity pranks. It was troubling to hear the author represent his behavior as something done by both sides without question by the interviewer. However, the worst part of the interview was when the interviewer called it a "stroke of genius" that Raymond's callers represented themselves as Democrats when they called swing voters during the Superbowl.

Republican dirty tricks have been so damaging not just in the specific election in which they are used, but in the very fabric of our faith in government.

Sent by sclairet | 11:03 AM | 1-8-2008

Sadly, I've just found that even competing Democratic groups aren't immune from this sort of dirty trick. In SC our County organizer's cellphone number was deliberately placed without authorization in the local newspaper - which resulted in her line being so clogged she was unable to contact her workers, volunteering for: Obama. The local Dem office had a receptionist who wore a Hillary T-shirt and told visitors they didn't have any info on Obama. I would have thought that people would think first about how such behavior could reflect on the candidate they are supporting.. Perhaps I'm a bit naive, but such incidents appalled me. And I saw my fellow workers were equally upset. However, we were told very firmly to stay above the fray and not to lower our own standards.

Sent by hilary stookey | 7:51 PM | 1-27-2008