Mitt Romney's top strategists don't have to look very far to see where things went terribly wrong. All they have to do is check the bottom line. According to Kantar Media's post-election tally of 2012 spending, the Romney campaign spent an average of $666 per television spot—$72 more than its Democratic rival.
Post-election, the conservative base has focused much of its ire on Team Romney's failed voter-turnout tool (code name: Project ORCA). But the gap in per-ad spending is perhaps more illustrative of the technological chasm between the rival campaigns—a gap that Team Obama leveraged into an edge in fundraising, messaging, and, ultimately, the election. It was no accident. Over the last four years, the Obama campaign has sought to turn the art of campaigning into something closer to a science.
President Obama is using a Cold War-era mind-control technique known as "Delphi" to coerce Americans into accepting his plan for a United Nations-run communist dictatorship in which suburbanites will be forcibly relocated to cities. That's according to a four-hour briefing delivered to Republican state senators at the Georgia state Capitol last month.
On October 11, at a closed-door meeting of the Republican caucus convened by the body's majority leader, Chip Rogers, a tea party activist told Republican lawmakers that Obama was mounting this most diabolical conspiracy. The event—captured on tape by a member of the Athens-based watchdog Better Georgia (who was removed from the room after 52 minutes)—had been billed as an information session on Agenda 21, a nonbinding UN agreement that commits member nations to promote sustainable development. In the eyes of conservative activists, Agenda 21 is a nefarious plot that includes forcibly relocating non-urban-dwellers and prescribing mandatory contraception as a means of curbing population growth. The invitation to the Georgia state Senate event noted the presentation would explain: "How pleasant sounding names are fostering a Socialist plan to change the way we live, eat, learn, and communicate to 'save the earth.'"
The meeting consisted of a PowerPoint presentation followed by a 90-minute screening of the anti-Agenda 21 documentary, Agenda: Grinding America Down. It was emceed by Field Searcy, a local conservative activist who was forced out of the Georgia Tea Party in April due to his endorsement of conspiracy theories about the president's birth certificate and the collapse of World Trade Center Tower 7. The presentation also featured a special video cameo from conservative talking-head Dick Morris in which the former Clinton aide warns that Obama "wants to force everyone into the cities from whence our ancestors fled."
About 23 minutes into the briefing, Searcy explained how President Obama, aided by liberal organizations like the Center for American Progress and business groups like local chambers of commerce, are secretly using mind-control techniques to push their plan for forcible relocation on the gullible public:
They do that by a process known as the Delphi technique. The Delphi technique was developed by the Rand Corporation during the Cold War as a mind-control technique. It's also known as "consensive process." But basically the goal of the Delphi technique is to lead a targeted group of people to a pre-determined outcome while keeping the illusion of being open to public input.
How perilous is the situation? Here's a slide from the presentation comparing Obama's record to that of Mao and Stalin:
Courtesy of Better GeorgiaObama, of course, has taken no steps to bring the United States under the control of a United Nations sustainable-development-themed dictatorship. (Environmental groups complain that he hasn't even taken sufficient action to combat climate change.) But that hasn't stopped state legislatures and local conservative groups from taking aim at the perceived threat. In May, the Kansas Legislature approved a resolution blocking Agenda 21 from being implemented in its state, following in the footsteps of Tennessee. Rogers, the Georgia Senate majority leader, introduced legislation in January that would have blocked the nonbinding UN resolution from being applied to his state. Among other things, the resolution noted that, "according to the United Nations Agenda 21 policy, social justice is described as the right and opportunity of all people to benefit equally from the resources afforded by society and the environment which would be accomplished by socialists and communist redistribution of wealth."
If it seems as if Rogers is just repeating John Birch Society conspiracies, he is—literally. As in Tennessee, large portions of his 2012 bill, SR 270, were lifted word-for-word from draft legislation prepared by the Birchers.
But as Seth Clark, the Better Georgia volunteer who filmed the Capitol conspiracy bash, points out, Rogers' warning extended well beyond the actions of liberal politicians. According to one slide that was featured at the presentation, "Smart Growth and Sustainable Development are often promoted by NGO's, Chambers of Commerce and [public–private partnerships] that are unelected and unaccountable to the people." In August, when the Georgia Chamber of Commerce handed out its official grades for state legislators, Rogers got an A+.
Apparently the conspiracy is coming from inside the Capitol.
Update, 11/15/12: Rogers defended the presentation in an email to the Cherokee (Ga.) Tribune, noting that the meeting had been requested by constituents. "This is not the first time our office has facilitated this type of request and won’t be the last, I am sure," he said.
Update II: That was quick. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Jim Galloway reports that Rogers has withdrawn his name from the Senate majority leader race.
Glenn Beck's new novel, Agenda 21, is set in a dystopian future in which in the implementation of a United Nations treaty on sustainable development has turned the United States into a police state where workers spend their waking hours attempting to minimize carbon emissions and to have children with as many different partners as possible, as ordered by the central government. I should just end this post right there, really, but the rest of the book's blurb is too good to pass up:
Woken up to the harsh reality of her life and her family's future inside the Republic, Emmeline begins to search for the truth. Why are all citizens confined to ubiquitous concrete living spaces? Why are Compounds guarded by Gatekeepers who track all movements? Why are food, water and energy rationed so strictly? And, most important, why are babies taken from their mothers at birth? As Emmeline begins to understand the true objectives of Agenda 21 she realizes that she is up against far more than she ever thought. With the Authorities closing in, and nowhere to run, Emmeline embarks on an audacious plan to save her family and expose the Republic—but is she already too late?
It's like The Giver, but for conservatives who think the end times are coming. (It's nothing like The Giver.) Beck's novel sounds absurd, but it actually taps into a very real concern on the far right, centering on Agenda 21, a non-binding United Nations declaration to promote sustainable development and global harmony that was introduced two decades ago and never ratified by the US Senate.
Some conservatives, including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), have long argued that the internationalist endorsement of sustainable development—that is, leaving a little bit of Earth for future generations when we can manage it—amounted to a dangerous step toward collectivism. As Bachmann put it, "They want Americans to move to the urban core, live in tenements, [and] take light rail to their government jobs." This, in turn, has had serious policy consequences at the state and local levels, with activists fighting everything from public transit to zoning plans to manatee habitats under the auspices of taking on the blue helmets.
Obviously in the event of an actual invasion by United Nations manatees, you should disregard this post entirely and go buy Glenn Beck's book.
No one ever expected Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) to go out with a whimper.
The tea party icon went to bed on election night trailing Democratic challenger Patrick Murphy by 0.8 points (about 2,500 votes) in the 18th congressional district, to which he had moved after redistricting turned his previous district decidedly blue. Since Florida law stipulates that a recount can only be requested if the race is within half a percentage point, under normal circumstances that would have been the end of the show for the losing candidate. Good job, good effort, time to begin plotting a comeback in 2014.
Except West wasn't finished. He alleged almost immediately that the election had been stolen by a pro-Murphy clerk in St. Luicie County. He asked for an injunction—which was refused—to impound the voting machines in St. Lucie and Palm Beach counties, and demanded a full hand recount in St. Lucie. He got his wish on Sunday, sort of. The county board of elections convened in an abandoned shopping mall to do a partial recount of the ballots that came in during the last three days of early voting. The tally, per the Palm Beach Post:
Murphy’s total dropped by 667 votes and West lost 132 votes in the recount of 16,275 ballots from the last three days of early voting in St. Lucie County. West's net gain of 535 votes still leaves him about 0.58 percent behind Murphy in congressional District 18, which also includes Martin County and part of Palm Beach County.
That's quite a swing, given the limited sample, but it still leaves West behind by more than the margin needed for a recount. The West campaign insists the real problem wasn't with the last three days of early voting (as problematic as the counting turned out to be), it was with the first three days of voting. So the St. Lucie partial recount has only exacerbated their anxiety. On Sunday, West's campaign was characteristically apopleptic, issuing this statement:
What was originally viewed as dangerous incompetence on the part of [St. Lucie County Elections Supervisor] Gertrude Walker now appears more and more like a willful attempt to steal the election for Patrick Murphy. Nothing about this story adds up. If there is truly nothing wrong with the data from the first three days of voting, why will it not be released?
West for Congress will pursue every legal means necessary to ensure a fair election, not only to ensure Gertrude Walker is held accountable, but also ultimately replaced, so the citizens of St Lucie County will be ensured fair and accurate elections."
Given that West is already alleging a conspiracy against him, this episode doesn't stand much chance of winding down any time soon.
In 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle sized up Rep. Pete Stark, a California Democrat then serving out his 16th term, thusly: "Only a politician who assumes he has a job for life could behave so badly on a semi-regular basis by spewing personalized invective that might get him punched in certain East Bay taverns." That was nine years ago. But Stark, comfortably situated in a deep-blue East Bay district, really did seem to have the seat for life, affording a level of job security that allowed him to comfortably do things like threaten to throw reporters out of windows and call a female Republican colleague a "whore."
In 2011, though, California introduced a new open primary system, in which the top two finishers advance to the general election regardless of their party—which meant that, for the first time in forever, Stark faced serious competition. The result: A six-point loss on Tuesday to Alameda County prosecutor Eric Swalwell.
Stark, though, didn't go out quietly. In a desperate bid for a 21st term, he launched a campaign built on a series of totally unsubstantied claims about his opponent, the local media, and anyone who crossed him. Via the San Francisco Chronicle:
In the latest episode raising questions about the erratic behavior of California’s longest standing Congressman, a former California State Assembly Majority leader said Tuesday that East Bay Democratic Rep. Pete Stark erupted in an angry tirade—questioning his sanity, threatening his livelihood and even vowing to call social workers to check on his kids—after he informed Stark he would endorse his opponent in the November general election.
Elsewhere, he launched 100-percent false arguments at the Chronicle itself, sourcing the claims to his 16-year-old son:
In a Tuesday meeting with the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board, [Stark] wrongfully accused Debra Saunders, a Republican who writes the paper's "Token Conservative" blog, of having donated to the campaign of his primary opponent, Eric Swalwell. When asked to provide evidence for his claim, Stark paged through a pile of research materials (which he oddly said had been prepared by "a 16-year-old investigative reporter"—his own son) before admitting he had incorrectly named Saunders. He then tried to point to former Dublin City Councilwoman Claudia McCormick and claimed she worked for the Chronicle, but that was wrong, too.
This week, Castro Valley real estate broker Otto Catrina said Stark made a false charge about him. Catrina contacted a lawyer.
Catrina said he was shocked when his phone started "ringing off the hook" this week after he was named in an attack mailer from Stark that claimed he was one of the "shady," big-money "developers" who have donated to Swalwell, a Dublin city councilman.
"I've never developed anything in my life," said Catrina, who is on the board of directors of the California Association of Realtors.
Despite the fact that allegations that Swalwell was being bribed by developers were unsubstantiated, Stark erupted at his opponent during an April debate:
Stark, still seated at the dais at the Hayward City Council chambers, reportedly called Swalwell a "fucking crook" as they shook hands.
When contacted later by phone, Swalwell confirmed the exchange with The Citizen while adding Stark also called him a "slimeball" and told him "you're going to jail."
That was in addition to calling his opponent a "pipsqueak" and a "junior leaguer."