WASHINGTON, DC - Still smarting from last month's midterm rebuke, the Republican National Committee has introduced a new campaign it hopes will suppress voter turnout in the future. Entitled, "You're Busy, Why Bother?," the multilingual program will highlight all of the important things people need to do besides vote.
Standing in front of a bright red, white and blue banner reading "¿Usted Está Ocupado, Por qué Incomodidad?," Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee explained that the program will focus on voter education, employer relations and deliberate obfuscation. "We certainly learned an important lesson in November," said Mehlman, "the more people that vote the less seats we as Republicans are going to win. You know how the old saying goes, 'fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me,' we're not going to let ourselves be fooled again in 2008 and this program will be a big part of our success."
Mehlman went on to describe the details of "You're Busy, Why Bother?." "It's going to kick off in early 2007 with voter outreach - both directly and through the media - to highlight all of the things people need to do that are more important than voting: seeking affordable health care for themselves and their children, trying to find jobs that will pay a living wage, doing all they can to keep their jobs if they have them, etc. We envision weekly newspaper columns that talk about the important non-voting things busy people need to do and perhaps voter checklists of 'dumb things I gotta do'.
"We're also going to start working with employers now to make the Tuesday after the first Monday in November a National 'Day of Employer Appreciation' that will require hourly employees to spend their entire day at their workplace doing the very best job they can," continued Mehlan. "The feedback we've received from some of America's biggest employers has been very positive."
Regarding obfuscation, Mehlman put a positive spin on the term. "Too many people think of obfuscation as a negative concept; but it all depends on your point of view. If we're able to confuse people about their responsibilities as voters - and how to fulfill those responsibilities - it could be a very positive thing for Republican candidates. At the end of the day, my job is to help elect Republicans and so I don't see any problem with limiting turn out."
While few details were provided, Mr. Mehlman did hint at improved multilingual voter outreach and education. "We've been testing Icelandic as the ideal language for reaching urban voters and have found that less than two percent of focus group participants even understood that the messages were intended for them - which is very promising news."
While plans originally existed seek comment from Democratic National Committee for this story, Mr. Mehlman asked that we not. "C'mon," he said, "you guys gave them a total pass last month; they're just going to whine and complain about this whole thing and you know it." His plea and tone were so pathetic that no opposing views were sought.
"Remember," he said at the conclusion of his remarks, "when it comes to voting - especially if you're a Democrat, 'You're Busy, Why Bother?'."