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This action will most likely backfire. The British might think the Americans are too unimformed, or stupid to know who to vote for, but they do not realize that Americans are way too independent to let some foreigner tell them who they should elect as their president. This might aesily swing an undecided voter toward Bush.

Letters from Nigel, Trevor, Ian and Peneople are sure going to make an impression on Americans named Buck, Tammy, Waneeta, and Earl.

How wonderful that these fools who read and follow the guardian were left behind when millions fled europe for the american shores.
Now they are trying to effect the outcome of a vote in an election by people who ran away from their self-inflicted impotency.
What is really wrong with these pathetic and desperate souls?
I will truly savor the large Bush victory that is just 14 days away. What will these pasty, ashen faced and backwards euro lefties do with themsleves then?
I am still awaiting their London march for peace in the Sudan as more are killed via racism and bigotry on a monthly basis there than have been killed in the entire iraq campaign.
Damn imbeciles.

Well, it says nowhere that they can't praise Bush in their letters.

Are you guys maybe just a little bit paranoid?

It is just a pathetic attempt to try and turn the clock back to a place it will never go. EUrope and the liberal left just can't understand the United States of America that was before 9/11 is history. The post 9/11 USofA will fight the terrorist when and where the USofA decides, not when or where the EU decides, not when or where the UN decides.

Letters from leftist loonies to folks in Clark County Ohio will garner votes for Bush. It's going to hurt more then it will help.


@Alois

Such a typical trite comment from the left.

*Sigh*

http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/10/19/britain.letters.reut/index.html

Reminds me of that Jedi mind trick quote from the movie Star Wars: "No, these aren't the droids we're looking for..."

Ich wünsche mir zur Bundestagswahl 2006 hier in Deutschland in sämtlichen überregionalen Tageszeitungen eine ganzseitige Anzeige, in der renommierte Persönlichkeiten wie Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, George W. Bush, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill O'Reilly und andere ihre Wahlempfehlung bekunden, schließlich hat Deutschlands Politik erstaunlich unerstaunliche Auswirkungen auf die ganze Welt.

@James:

I do not consider myself a leftist, or even left-leaning. I just wanted to point out that anybody, even you, can send those voters in OH a letter, and you can write whatever you like.

By slapping the "leftist" label on anyone who dares to think independently you're just making a fool of yourself.

Oh, and please spare me the arrogant "*Sigh*". You sound like Al Gore when you do that.

Thank you.

@Downer

The reason being is the by definition Conservatives ( Republicans ) want to change the world:

Abraham Lincoln
Theodore Roosevelt
Ronald Reagan
George Bush (x2)
Margaret Thatcher

And by definition, Liberals ( Democrats ) have to compromise along the way:

Jimmy Carter
William Clinton

Schröder has to compromise, he has no real convictions but only a grand desire to be elected. Therefore, most real progress in the world is dependant on conservative leaders...

The Telegraph published an op ed commenting on the Guardian's efforts to influence the election. Read it here: http://www.opinion.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2004/10/19/do1902.xml&sSheet=/opinion/2004/10/19/ixopinion.html.

@James:

I can't follow your argument about liberals and conservatives. How does your claim that "most real progress in the world is dependant on conservative leaders" follow from the fact that Schroeder wants to get elected?

How do you define a Republican when you say "by definition Conservatives (Republicans) want to change the world"?

Also, I want to point out that Lenin and Stalin probably wanted to change the world far more radically than Abraham Lincoln or George Bush, and neither Lenin nor Stalin were Conservatives (Republicans).

There does not seem to be a link between being a conservative/liberal and wanting to change the world.

@Alois

Then perhaps your comments were best directed to a different blog that had a different theme altogether. This thread, which Ray supplied the links to, identifies articles that show a foreign media directly meddling in an important American election.

“paranoid”

A foreign country directly contributing to our election process? As Ray mentioned, “Just imagine the shoe on the other foot: Brits and Germans alike would be absolutely outraged (and rightfully so) if Americans wrote them letters asking them to vote a certain way in the next elections and blasting the elected leaders of those countries...”

Alois, I don’t dislike independent thought, I exercise it everyday: I’m an American living in Germany and I know exactly what Ray and David strive to expose here in the German media.

I didn’t mean to insult you with my sign comment. Your comment came across like a typical posting by East German Jo, Klink, et al. Brief, non-descriptive, curt, shallow and quick... An ephemeral comment that satisfies a sound-bite, but hasn’t much meat in it and who’s effectiveness fades with the applause. In inner-city speak : “to dis.”

As your brief comment was so reminiscent of Jo, a sigh was in order, I think other posters like Niko and Joe would agree.

By the way, how were your thought so “independent?”


@Alois

"Also, I want to point out that Lenin and Stalin probably wanted to change the world far more radically than Abraham Lincoln or George Bush, and neither Lenin nor Stalin were Conservatives (Republicans)."

But they failed. Nor, may I add, were Hitler, Tojo, and Mao and they all failed as well.

I think that most effective progress in the world is based solely on Liberal Democratic form of governments (i.e. Western Civilisation, Japan, South Korea, et al ). Here is some evidence:

The Soviet Union may have had a formidable army, a developed space program, but was unable to produce what it’s people essentially needed : enough toilet paper, desirable clothing, potatoes, toothpaste and scarcely any globally competitive products. As Reagan said, it was left in the ash heap of history.

China and India have realised this along the way and adopted market reforms which have paid off immensely. China however, is still in denial of the full benefits of democracy, the communist party will not relinquish power. But for the time-being, “to grow rich it good.” The benefits of such reforms will reach a ceiling and stop until China becomes a democracy.

We only need to make a brief review of the rest of the world : Arabia, although situated in the cradle of civilisation, produces nothing more than carpets and oil which uses American/British and Norwegian technology to fill their terrorist financing coffers. Africa is in shambles. South America is on the rise, but slowly.

Which leaves only Liberal Democratic governments and their host countries to supply the worlds: education, patents, microchips, software, financing, films and movies, drugs, satellites and dominant culture.

You question is just: what makes one country richer than another? And I stress that it is due to strength of Liberal Democracy. Since this argument can be limited to Liberal Democracies then we must evaluate who has historically led them, this is only necessary since the end of WWII. Ask yourself who were the appeasers? Who were ones were controversial held convictions that desired change/progress? Reagan and Thatcher.

While Bush’s/Blair’s invasion of Iraq is controversial, it is progress. It will bring Iraq and the region closer to the rule of law, which will lead to stability and eventually a democracy.

Hope this isn’t too brief for your satisfaction, but I gotta go...

Alois says:

"How do you define a Republican when you say "by definition Conservatives (Republicans) want to change the world"?

It could be he's telling you the label "conservative" is being misapplied. Certainly the classical definition of "liberal" hardly describes the vast majority of left-wingers, whatever they may call themselves.

@James:

O.K., let's look at the facts: The link in Ray's posting reads "anti-Bush letter writing campaign". The CNN article you pointed out with your *sigh* bears the headline "UK anti-Bush letters spark outrage".

Where, on the Guardian site, does it say that readers should write an anti-Bush letter? In fact, just go to the link in Ray's article and show me where either the word "Bush" or "Kerry" appears on the Guardian page that is being linked to.

Ray's posting, as well as the CNN article, as well as the comments on the article don't point out this obvious misrepresentation of the letter campaign as an anti-Bush campaign.

This is what I mean when I'm suggesting you're being just a tad paranoid.

Of course, the question whether foreigners should write any letters to potential voters in the first place is a different one. But the outrage, especially yours, seems to focus on an anti-Bush aspect that is really just an indication of the reader's political bias. Would you honestly have protested if, say, there had been a Polish newspaper that had explicitly asked its readers to write pro-Bush letters to undecided voters? Really?

I think by pointing this out this fact I made an independent contribution that was to my knowlege not made by anyone before me. Most other comments just focus on the anti-Bush/pro-Kerry aspect that has already been discussed in numerous articles on the web, and does not, as such, show any independent thinking being done.

@James:

I think by hawking the benefits of a liberal democracy you're really beating a dead horse. Everybody has figured out by now that a liberal democracy is the best form of government there is.

You don't honestly believe that John Kerry, or any Democrat in the U.S., would disagree with you on this point.

Wonderful, this will backfire. Typical leftist arrogance.

"You may not have heard of it, but it's one of the most marginal areas in one of the most marginal states..."

Is this just me, or does this "not heard of it" and "marginal" imply an insult to both Ohio and Clark County? It creates in my mind a picture of poor, benighted souls, living in shacks on the 'margin' of civilized society, never listening to the BBC or reading The Guardian--the sort H. G. Wells once dismissed as the 'people of the abyss.' Perhaps that's how the Guardian and its sort regard much of our nation. We're the serfs they once "let go" over the sea. Now they assume we'll be overcome with joy to get a letter from our former lords and masters.

The term they probably meant is "swing." These are swing voters in a swing county in a state that could go for Bush or Kerry. In any case, the British have enough problems of their own--declining schools and a violent crime wave. They should leave our elections alone. It's our country and not theirs.

--Mike Perry, Inkling blog , Seattle

I've seen several references to a monumentally stupid letter-to-Ohio written by the hard-leftist professional biologist Richard Dawkins. In it, he derides the US response to 9/11 as "the Tony Martin school of foreign policy." Most people outside the UK would have no idea who Tony Martin is, so the Guardian helpfully -- and stupidly -- explains that he's a farmer who was sent to prison for shooting a burglar inside his home. I think we can take for granted that most American readers of Dawkins's diatribe will conclude that Dawkins is telling us that when the odd terrorist drops by for a visit, we should just bend over and take it. That kind of argument might wash in the UK, where the public has, against any semblance of self-interest, allowed itself to be stripped of the right to self defense, but will it work in mostly working-class Ohio? If the Grauniad editors and Dawkins had any understanding of the American public, they'd know the answer to that question. Obviously they don't.

@Hartmut

Let the river run its course and ruin the damn. Also Alois has claimed, "I do not consider myself a leftist, or even left-leaning..."

@Alois

"You don't honestly believe that John Kerry, or any Democrat in the U.S., would disagree with you on this point"

No, but maybe you would. “Which leaves only Liberal Democratic governments and their host countries…” was a point that I made above, and herein is the issue:

* John Kerry was only tough on Iraq with rhetoric, but it took George Bush to put words into action.
* Similarly Jimmy Carter was tough on the Soviets with words, Reagan smartly used words like “we will not merely contain communism, we will transcend it.” And also pursued a strategy which worked.
* Clinton only had the nerve to lob a few cruise missiles at Osama following the embassy bombings. George Bush made cave-life a necessity for Osama.

“Where, on the Guardian site, does it say that readers should write an anti-Bush letter? In fact, just go to the link in Ray's article and show me where either the word "Bush" or "Kerry" appears on the Guardian page that is being linked to.”

Alois, are you being serious? Please re-read the cnn article: http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/10/19/britain.letters.reut/index.html

Have a look for the quote in the article where it says: “But the newspaper, whose cartoons regularly portray President George W. Bush as a semi-literate ape, was unrepentant.”

Hmm, do you honestly believe that the newspaper does not desire encouraging Kerry?

Personally, I think that it is embarrassing and completely inappropriate for the Guardian or any foreign newspaper to meddle in the business of another country’s election. It is in obvious violation of the independent spirit of an election. In fact, I think there should be laws against such activity if not already so.

"I think by hawking the benefits of a liberal democracy you're really beating a dead horse"

This was in response to YOUR point “Also, I want to point out that Lenin and Stalin probably wanted to change the world far more radically than Abraham Lincoln or George Bush, and neither Lenin nor Stalin were Conservatives (Republicans).”

Dude, you’re spinning on yourself…

@ Alois

By slapping the "leftist" label on anyone who dares to think independently you're just making a fool of yourself.

So if Rush Limbaugh asked his listeners to write letters to the voters and didn't tell them who to favor you would believe claims that his action was entirely neutral? Common Alois, Guardian is a left-wing publication and its readers are overwhelmingly left-wing. So when they buy American voters' addresses and sign people up to write them, it is not to start a love-fest for George W. Bush, even if they don't explicitly tell people to write for Kerry. We don't have to play stupid and ignore the obvious political motives behind this just because Guardian has packaged this to appear neutral.

I think it is telling that they ask their readers to consider how it would feel to receive a letter from the US asking them to vote for Blair or Howard. Why Blair and Howard? Clearly, those are the folks that Guardian readers love to hate because they stood together with Bush on Iraq.

No, I am not being a "tad" paranoid and neither is CNN...you are being a "tad" naive and a "tad" politically blind.

---Ray D.

@James:

You just don't get it, do you?

1. I am, and always have been, in favor of a liberal democracy.
2. So has John Kerry and the Democratic Party.
3. The Guardian's campaign nowhere, nowhere, and I repeat again: nowhere, says their readers should write an anti-Bush letter.
4. You are drawing your quotes from second-hand sources. I refer you to the original Guardian page, as linked to by Ray.
5. You seem to have this urge to turn me into a left-wing radical that you can then lecture and patronize.

Dude, re-read my postings, I'm not spinning on myself, you're the one who is insinuating stuff which has never been said.

ray, they don't mean john h. but michael h., I guess

the rest of your argument is of corse still accurate,

BIG respect for your 'PW'activities btw!

@Ray:

Hey, nothing prevents you from going to the Guardian web site, signing up, and then writing letters to those voters in OH. I don't know whether this will influence their decision this way or another but you can do it.

I don't understand why people get so worked up about this, especially since it is highly questionable whether this campaign will have any effect at all.

Personally, I agree with those who say it will probably backfire. So much the better for you, then.

I'm not naive, you're just a whiner.

OK, let's stop the flaming now, it's becoming tiresome and childish.

alois, john kerry is in favour of Liberal Democracy, are you an American Liberal or an Australian liberal?

what do you make of j.w. moellemann's 'liberalism'?

beats me if we haven't met before *rolleyes*!

The Guardian have posted some responses to those e-mails :o)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1329858,00.html

"Would you honestly have protested if, say, there had been a Polish newspaper that had explicitly asked its readers to write pro-Bush letters to undecided voters? Really?"

You can make an assumption just by reading what he wrote just under the Guardian quote, but you're apparently not into making any sort of assumptions or reading between the lines. A left-leaning (to put it lightly) publication all the sudden (don't remember such nonsense in the past elections) has a major interest in influencing the US election by actively recruiting people to write to voters in a specific place in the US and you think it's "paranoid" to assume their motivations are as anti-Bush as their publication has consistantly been? I don't know why you chose the word "paranoid", totally ridiculous, it's called a safe assumption, not paranoia. Or maybe you're right and assumptions based on past record = paranoia.

listen to hugh hewitt righ now, kerry spoke french today, I have tears in my eyes again, laughing!

right now of course, its hilarious, hugh is all over it!

'no, he is not out off touch! is he?! *ggg*

'of', hmpf :(, ;), I will shut up again, too much celebration today, sry :)

BTW, german PRO7 will broadcast scumbag moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 on Nov. 1. How pathetic.

Alois, you made some fair points and asked one good question.

Fair point: No one is precluded from writing a letter in support of Bush.

But, the letters posted by the Guardian from 'prominent' Britons were all anti-Bush. And keep in mind that there is a contest involved; the writers of "best" 3 letters, as judged by the Guardian, get to come to Ohio and campaign for "their" candidate.

So, please don't tell me there is no anti-Bush agenda.

As to your fair question: Would I be just as offended if the same effort came from the Polish?

Absolutely.

Here is my response:

Dear Lady Antonia,

Some jackass sent me the enclosed letter using your name. I thought you might want to know about it in the event you would like to teach him or her some of those 'manners' you Brits are supposedly famous for.

Toodles,

Pamela

And now I think I'm just all out of 'polite'.

It is also quite revealing that the Guardian chose Ohio. It's difficult to see how Bush can win if he fails to carry Ohio, while losing Ohio would not be fatal to Kerry. To use an old Bolshevik expression, it is no coincidence that the Guardian chose Ohio, as opposed to New Jersey or Michigan or, God forbid, California.

What the Guardian's done is by far the funniest thing to happen in this campaign. I can't wait to read accounts of the lucky winners' visits to Clark County; I was born and raised in Montgomery County, Ohio, which is 30 miles away from Clark County. I think they'll survive their exposure to the American Great Unwashed as long as they wear their rubber suits, oxygen tanks and don't have too many Moon Pies and RC Colas.

Alois, not only is the Guardian a left wing paper that never has the slightest good word for Bush, but over on the right side of the Guardian link you will see a link to "letters from three prominent Britons", each of whom denounces Bush. There's another here.

Now, if you are ignorant of the Guardian's extreme political views, very well -- but don't try to tell people who are aware of them that they're being "paranoid".

If, on the other hand, if you are aware of it, and persist in semantic quibbling, you look like a damn fool.

But I don't care who Guardian readers endorse, I want them to stay the hell out of my country's elections.

@ Alois,

Yeah, it probably will backfire, precisely because it is politically motivated and people see right through it. Many folks are getting understandably worked up because it is a politically motivated ploy attempting to interfere with US elections. What, you don't think Germans or Brits would be unhappy if Americans started writing them letters suggesting they vote for a certain candidate? Get real "Alois" you are obviously a Kool-Aid drinker my friend.

---Ray D.

I live in California. Does that mean Nigel won't be sending me a letter expressing his grief that I haven't made the connection that Bush=Hitler?

Maybe he letters are having an effect. The polls show that Kerry is leading in Ohio. Or are they folks in Ohio just misguided from reading Der Spiegel?-Vic

Hmmmm.

1. Anyone who thinks that a large number of Americans won't be incredibly offended by this letter writing campaign is smoking a crackpipe. Heck Americans don't even like other Americans telling them what to do or how to vote.

2. I don't live in Ohio and I haven't gotten a letter but just the thought of some unknown person having my name and address just creeps me out.

3. One part of the Guardian's process involved donating money. No idea if they've removed it or not but if they haven't, then they should. Foreign donations to American elections is a violation of federal law. Considering how bitterly contested this election is going to be I don't think that any rational person would want to chance having interpol pick them up for extradition to America. Don't think this could happen? Both the Democratic and Republican parties have each signed up about 10,000+ lawyers to litigate all across America. For each lawyer there's going to be at least 1-3 paralegals. There's also probably going to be about 500 legal reseachers and librarians. Then toss in probably 150+ established legal scholars. Now imagine yourself stuck in the middle of all that.

4. I'm rather looking forward to this coming election. Our election process has been stumping on for a couple hundreds years without any serious reform. I think it's time for some reform. Just in case some people don't know how elections work in America it's all state based, not federal. In other words the state of Maryland is responsible for all elections in Maryland and the federal government has no control at all. Each state can choose how the elections are done and who is responsible for it. In most, if not all, states the election is on a county by county basis, or something similar. Unless the state dictates otherwise each county then can operate independently of the state and run the election it's way. Each county has it's own committees, polling areas, polling workers and supervisors. Each county can also choose, if allowed by the state, to operate it's choice of polling mechanism. In most states the counties have the jurisdiction due to history. It's always been done that way so it continues to be done that way.

So it's entirely possible for one county to use touch screen computers. Another adjacent county to use written ballots. Yet another county to use "butterfly" ballots, so called because the ballot opens up like butterfly wings, and a metal punch to push out "chads". etc etc etc.

To a Briton the closest analogies is your "Mad Maiden Aunt's attic". A lot of junk in a fithy unorganized jumble overripe for sorting and cleaning, but a staggering proposition to anyone who would actually have to go and do the work.

5. Bush is going to win New Jersey. As a resident of New Jersey I'm pretty confident of this. A lot of residents of New Jersey were involved in some way with 9/11. Many of us lost friends or loved ones. Most of us could see the smoke cloud and that unforgettable smell of that burning hell that was the WTC. If Kerry could be at all credible on the War on Terror then he'd have a chance. But not in 2004. The Democrats should have gone with Howard Dean.

6. What amazes me is that there is a clear example of how to influence America and Americans, but one that is evidently unpalatable to many Britons. Tony Blair. So if you want to influence America and it's citizens then work at being a good ally. But if that's completely unacceptable to you, then no problem. Just don't complain if we ignore you like we do France.

...

As for America's relationship with Europe. I think it's time we ended the fiction that we are allies and that we have common goals.

They forget that "no taxation without representation" means that representation comes at a cost. I believe we might be able to work out some kind of, ah, arrangement. Maybe $100k a vote. Sell 5,000,000 votes. That's real money. I believe there's a deal there.

What happened to W's mighty coalition of the willing? Now, the Brits are turning against him and favor his opponent? Who's next? Poland? Australia? Marshall Islands? Palau?

schadenfreude Jo?
I thought Vorfreude was the beste Freude..
except for Germans when it is about the US.
Then SCHADENFREUDE is it..

Hey Jo,

Well, Australia, the UK and Poland certainly have more to offer as allies than Germany at the moment. And the US didn't have to defend any of those countries for nearly 50 years at great expense from the USSR. I think that is pretty sad for Germany Jo.

And please don't misunderstand me: I would hardly say that the Guardian is representative of all of the UK. I got an email on that today from a reader in the UK. They are certainly left of center. If anyone got the impression that I was equating Guardian to all Brits from my article I want to say "sorry" for that, nothing could be farther from the truth.

---Ray D.

@vic: "Maybe he letters are having an effect. The polls show that Kerry is leading in Ohio. Or are they folks in Ohio just misguided from reading Der Spiegel?-Vic"

Depends on who conducted the poll. Fox has Bush +5 in Ohio. Rasmussen has it as a tie and ABC has Kerry +2. ElectionProjection shows Bush up by 1.4%:
http://www.electionprojection.com/elections2004.html

Joe (resident of a battleground State where the margin is even closer).

"What happened to W's mighty coalition of the willing? Now, the Brits are turning against him and favor his opponent? Who's next? Poland? Australia? Marshall Islands? Palau?"

Interesting Jo. Where did you see the leftist PM of England, Tony Blair, endorse the Guardian's view? Please post the link. I also seem to recall something about Oz just having an election. Did Latham win?

As to the French/German/Russian coalition, did you see Putin's latest remarks?

The buzz on talk radio and Fox is that the campaign is having a negative effect for Kerry. Many Ohioans are aghast that any foreigners are lecturing Americans on how to vote.

Apparently many American recipients of these letters from well meaning Englishmen/women are mailing back advice to the original senders on oral hygiene.

Mal wieder in der "Financial Times Deutschland" Antiamerikanismus vom Feinsten. Wenn das Wirtschaftsblatt so weiter macht, steht es bald hierzulande an der Spitze hetzerischer Publikationen:


"Die politische Mitte Amerikas (...) will heute einen Präsidenten, der Terrorverdächtige weltweit foltern und liquidieren lässt und dem nichtamerikanische Opfer amerikanischer Angriffskriege keine Erwähnung wert sind. Ein düstereres Urteil über den Zustand der USA nach dem 11. September gibt es nicht."

http://www.ftd.de/pw/in/1097912326029.html?nv=lnen

jo,

Well one thing for sure is America does not have to worry about the Germans and french. They were never part of any alliance other than one to make money.

The good news is their time will come. It will be interesting to see what they do then.

Just a thought, what would the Germans think if the US decided to make an issue of who was going to win the next national election?

There are some positions that the US could take to inform the German people that 6 more years of Gerhard might not be in the best interest of their well-being.

Do you think they would get upset? Do you think they would actually consider those US positions?

How do you think they would vote? Would there be a backlash against who ever ran against Gerhard?

amiexpat,
yes definetely "schadenfreude." If Spiegel would try to "buy" voters, some people here would spin like crazy. But the British Guardian? Suddenly, the world is not so black and white anymore, is it?

Joe
Where did you see the leftist PM of England, Tony Blair, endorse the Guardian's view?

Tony Blair a leftist? Give me a break.

They were never part of any alliance other than one to make money.

Welcome to my world. At the bottom line, it's always about money. What else would the "coalition of willing" be about other than making money?

Do you think they would get upset?

Well, since Anti-Americanism is so prevailing in Germany such a campaign would actually backfire, wouldn't it?

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