GOTV in NY-26

Ian Murphy, who writes for the Buffalo Beast and is running on the Green Party line in NY-26, got a buzz cut, put on a polo shirt, and did some volunteer calling as “Steve” for his Republican opponent Jane Corwin at her local headquarters:

“Hi, sir, my name’s Steve and I’m a volunteer for the Jane Corwin campaign–”

“Jesus!” a guy screams at me. “You know, I was thinking about voting for Corwin, but this is too much! You people have called me a dozen times in the last two days! I am sick of it!”

“But Jane Corwin wants to rule over you with an iron fist,” I calmly relay. “Don’t you crave strong leadership?”

“What?!” he balks. “An ‘iron fist’?”

“Yes,” I assure him. “These phone calls are just the beginning. When Jane’s in Congress she will do everything in her power to crush you mentally and physically.”


123 replies
  1. 1
    FuriousGiorge says:

    That’s….really unethical? Is that the point here?

  2. 2
    The Snarxist Formerly Known As Kryptik says:

    That…yeah. I mean, demerits to the Corwin campaign for being snookered in, but I’m not sure how much this kind of sabotage sits well with me. Though at least he was actually on the campaign rather than being some third party robo-call group pretending in order to smear. Not much better, but it’s still a distinction.

  3. 3
    Nemesis says:

    Sounds like a stunt James OKeefe would pull.

  4. 4
    JGabriel says:


    That’s….really unethical?

    Yeah, I’m thinking that’s kind of unethical too. Freaking hilarious, but bad form.

    OTOH, the unethical part is probably somewhat ameliorated by the fact that he doesn’t even rate in the polls and doesn’t stand a chance of winning.


  5. 5
    Peter J says:

    This is beyond stupid, the guy’s an idiot.

  6. 6
    Hunter Gathers says:

    Remember, if the GOPer loses today, it has nothing to do with the Paul Ryan Coupon Care plan. If the GOPer loses, it will be a combination of her insufficient conservatism, ACORN, Black Panthers, Democrat dirty tricks, outside agitators, voter fraud, the liberal media and Bill Clinton.

  7. 7
    ppcli says:

    All props to Ian Murphy, who was the brains behind the fake Koch call to Scott Walker, and who invented my favorite fake disease: “Asperger’s Syndrome by Proxy”. But this is really unacceptable. It would be bad enough if he were just kind of gonzo journalist, but as a rival candidate it’s obviously unethical and if it isn’t illegal it ought to be.

  8. 8
    dmsilev says:

    @Hunter Gathers: However, if the GOP does eke out a win in a historically-red district, that’s evidence that the national mood is strongly in favor of the Ryan Plan and definitive proof that orphans should be sent to workhouses.

  9. 9

    Yeah, this is a little icky, although this:

    “Some of these people are saying that Jane is going to end Medicare–just because that’s what the Wall Street Journal wrote. What should I tell them–should I lie?”
    “Hmm…” Bob thinks about this for a few seconds. “They’ve been asking about Medicare?”
    “Yeah.” And they were.
    “Shit,” he mumbles under his breath. “Don’t lie. Tell them that, if they’re 55 or over, Jane’s plan won’t change their Medicare. And if they’re 54 or under tell them that Jane’s plan will…um…make things…better.” He walks away.
    “But, Bob?” I call after him. “Some of these people are younger and they think Medicare is a problem…should I tell them that Jane’s plan will end Medicare?”
    Yeah, if it helps,” he says, running back to his desk.

    made me feel a whole lot icky-er.

  10. 10
    Cricket says:

    Ugh. This is sleazy and accomplishes exactly nothing.

  11. 11
    Alex S. says:

    I’ll change my vote from Hochul to the green guy. We need real progressives in the House.

  12. 12
    Fred says:

    Bahahahah! He is a much better person than I. Can’t stand to be within earshot of those morons. Imagine working a phone bank with them…..yikes!

  13. 13
    Fred says:

    @Cricket: Call the waaaambulance.

  14. 14
    Fred says:

    @Hunter Gathers: Sounds about right. She will be the poor innocent victim. They are always the victim…..when they are not busy blaming real victims.

  15. 15
    Sportello says:

    Funny trumps unethical.


  16. 16
    Cricket says:

    @Fred: Spoken like someone who’s never done a lick of work organizing, but loves to bitch from the sidelines.

  17. 17
    TimE says:

    Wow, who knew there were so many delicate flowers here? I didn’t think this was anything other than hilarious. Of all the things going on right now, this stunt doesn’t even register on the “things I need to fret about” scale.

  18. 18
    MattR says:

    More than anything, any ratfucking by Murphy was unnecessary. He should have just volunteered as a caller, stuck to the script provided and then reported back how disfunctional the whole thing is.

  19. 19
    Jay C says:

    Not that I care all that much about Jane Corwin’s electorate prospects (though as a committed Democrat, I hope they are suitably bleak); but isn’t there just the slightest possibility that shock-jock pranks like Ian Murphy’s might backfire just a tad? I know that if I were a wavering or uncommitted voter, getting an assholish call like this would certainly NOT make me run out and vote for the candidate they might (even if obliquely) be promoting.

  20. 20
    Fred says:

    @Cricket: Poor baby. Poor spiteful sulking baby.

  21. 21
    slippy says:

    Oh, I think any GOPer complaining about the ethics of this would have a lot of bullshit to walk back. I’m loving it.

  22. 22
    slippy says:

    Oh, I think any GOPer complaining about the ethics of this would have a lot of bullshit to walk back. I’m loving it.

  23. 23
    Peter J says:

    @Fred: Call the waaaambulance.
    I guess it would be ok if republican activists joined democratic campaigns and started to sabotage them from the inside?

    This shouldn’t be approved of.
    And liking to it without disapproving it, that almost as bad…

  24. 24
    SonofMog says:

    What a bunch of wusses. I guess we should all just bend over and take our reamings from the Right, taking solace in our nobility as the fucking world crumbles around us. Brilliant.

    This guy is funny and this is closer than any “respectable” journalist has gotten to the inner workings of Corwin’s organization. And the differences between him and O’Keefe are obvious — he’s not lying, and he’s targeting those in power.

  25. 25
    Fred says:

    @MattR: Urrrum… do realize this story is sarcasm right. He could not say that in a small room of morAns without other people hearing him. Nobody on the other end would take that kind of talk seriously anyways.

    He probably did follow the script. Lighten the fuck up.

  26. 26
    mws says:

    This makes some of you uncomfortable? Well, too bad. For once in my life, instead of a circular firing squad, why don’t we redirect our anger at Corwin? She’s got a robo-call from Allen “I’ll keep my hands of Medicare when it’s gone” West claiming that the Democrats are destroying medicare. And your pissed off at Murhpy? STFU. Once Hochul wins, then you can all write any blog comments about what a dick Ian Murphy is. Fight the right fucking enemy for once.

  27. 27
    Fred says:

    @SonofMog: I was just about to bring up O’Keefe to all these wussy moral compass police.

    But then decided against it when I realized they will just start in with the false equivalency diatribe.

  28. 28
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @dmsilev: There will also be another layer of spin if the poor, beleaguered GOPer loses : the GOPer and the TeaBagger will have combined for a majority of votes. Therefore, it just proves that the nation is looking for true conservative leadership, and will give Paul Ryan 500 electoral votes in next year’s election. Besides, Obama is just another vile gangster thug drinking 40’s while white people suffer.

  29. 29

    sorry, its funny, and possibly incumbent on the campaign to have some clue who is phone banking for them.

  30. 30
    Han's Solo says:

    Unethical? Sleezy? Stupid?

    Politics isn’t bean bag. The other side is willing to do most anything regardless of how sleezy, unethical and stupid. I get that the wingnuts have nothing that approaches good policy ideas and therefore have to resort to such tactics, but just because the Ds actually have viable ideas doesn’t mean they should disarm.

    The bottom line is that there is going to be a fight and the wingnuts will bring guns to said fight. If the Democrats want to show up with knives it won’t end well for them.

  31. 31
    forked tongue says:

    Actually, my problem with him is more that, as a Green candidate, he may be diverting votes from Hochul than with the ethics here–which are admittedly dubious. Funny shit, though.

  32. 32
    Jazz Superluminar says:

    It was on a visit to New York State by Mr Gladstone that I was privy to a most remarkable conversation between the then Governor and the French ambassador the Comte de la Fromage on how the American system operates. It was pointed out to me that only a select group of those of the correct breeding were allowed to rule, with the exclusion of those classes who were “Near”, which led to an incestuous and gossipy political culture that was really quite wonderful for those of us also of the correct breeding. Why, I was just in Applebees the other day when someone said to me…etc

  33. 33
    Fred says:

    @Peter J: HellOOOO! Rethugs already do that. Ever hear of the heavily edited O’Keefe videos and what happened to ACORN. Briebart getting Sherrod fired.

    HellooOOOOOO. Anybody in there?!

    And don’t start in with false equivalency. What they do on a daily basis is much worse than this!

  34. 34
    trollhattan says:

    I can imagine other phone-bankers overhearing “iron fist” and adapting it to their pitch because it sounds cool. In a Republican iron-fisty way.

  35. 35
    MattR says:

    @Fred: Ah. It’s sarcasm. In that case why should we believe a word of it, including how screwed up the Corwin camp is? And therefore what was the actual point then and why did he bother to actually show up and make phone calls before weaving his tale?

    @mws: Yeah. Who cares about rules, cheating or ethics? All that matters is winning. You sure you are not a Republican

    @Fred: Since you have decided that this is OK because Republicans do it too, you now have no right to complain the next time Republicans do something like this. In fact, you should be laughing at the hilarity of the pranks that O’Keefe and Breitbart have pulled.

  36. 36
    FuriousGiorge says:

    I like the false choice we’re being given here. Either we support any and all political tactics that our (so-called) allies might choose to use, or we’re pussies who don’t realize what’s at stake.

    If you think that crossing this line is perfectly acceptable then that’s your business. I do not.

  37. 37
    Cricket says:

    @TimE: I agree that it’s not something to fret about. That doesn’t mean it isn’t sleazy. I’ve worked on progressive campaigns where we had people who came in to sabotage our phone banks. I thought they were sleazy too. Why not put your efforts into, oh gosh, getting your message out there or something proactive?

    Imagine if this prank was pulled on the Hochul campaign by some libertarian.

  38. 38

    @FuriousGiorge: So what? The GOP has been unethical since at least McCarthy.

  39. 39
    mr. whipple says:

    That’s….really unethical? Is that the point here?

    Yes, unethical and juvenile jackassery. As if congress already doesn’t have enough children.

  40. 40
    Cricket says:

    @Fred: Ah, I see.

  41. 41
    boss bitch says:

    These people need serious training. They should not be yelling at voters. period.

  42. 42
    SonofMog says:

    I didn’t notice nearly as much hand-wringing when the same guy prank-called Scott Walker as David Koch, or when we were LOLing at, which is also his. The Walker-Koch call alone has done more for Democrats than probably everyone in this thread put together in their entire lives.

  43. 43
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Cricket: Fred is quite persuasive, isn’t he?

  44. 44
    FuriousGiorge says:

    @Han’s Solo: This is the problem with making everything into a battle metaphor. You start to act as if you’re in an actual battle, instead of a metaphorical one, and you use that to justify basically everything. Politics is not war. Karl Rove does not get to fucking win this argument.

  45. 45
    ShadeTail says:

    Complaining that this is unethical is like white people complaining that they’re the victims of racism. No they aren’t, and the GOPers are not the victims here either. Even if this did go down with him literally scaring people with talk of Corwin’s iron fist (incredibly unlikely, as Fred pointed out a few posts back), do try to remember that Corwin specifically, and the GOP in general, have tied the albatross around their own necks. They’re the ones working a stealth crusade to destroy Medicare, and infuriating people with obnoxious tactics. Did any of you complainers actually read Murphey’s saga? Corwin’s campaign is deliberately pissing voters off with repeated phone calls on the theory that telling them to vote for Corwin often enough will convince them to do so. Yet, it’s Murphey who is being unethical here? Spare me.

  46. 46
  47. 47
    jacy says:

    Did anybody who’s clutching their pearls actually read the linked article?

    Even if it’s not hyperbolic tongue-in-cheek (which was my take), “Steve” would be the least of the phone bank’s problems.

  48. 48
    Ken says:

    This is politics, right? You have to be somewhat sleazy to win, or wait until the other side fucks itself so much that electing the opposition is the only feasible choice.

    I don’t want to be the sleazeball for the left, but I think it’s naive in this day and age to act as though we don’t need our own sleazeballs.

  49. 49
    David in NY says:

    I’m against it primarily on ethical, but also on prudential, grounds. How does he expect anybody, ever, to take the Green Party seriously now?

  50. 50
    Cricket says:

    @ShadeTail: So, are you arguing that what Murphy did was ethical? Or that an unethical tactic is justifiable?

  51. 51
    FuriousGiorge says:

    Corwin’s campaign is deliberately pissing voters off with repeated phone calls on the theory that telling them to vote for Corwin often enough will convince them to do so.

    Please explain to me 1) how this works and 2) how it’s unethical.

    (Also, lol terrible metaphors. You defending this behavior is exactly like the Trail of Tears. No, it’s like the sinking of the Lusitania. Wait, it’s exactly like when Kirk and Spock had to battle each other for the amusement of some Godlike being or another.)

  52. 52
    Nerull says:

    Yeah, the GOP does it, therefore we need to do it too. Sure, maybe it’s unethical, but HEY LOOK A BIRD OVER THERE.

    People have been learning from the torture arguments, haven’t they?

    Tell me this – The GOP is often unethical, yes. I want to vote for someone better. If you’re willing to do anything unethical just because the GOP did it first, why the fuck should I vote for you?

  53. 53
    artem1s says:

    reminds me a bit of when Dan Savage ‘volunteered’ for the Bauer campaign in Iowa back in, what, 2000? He may have done what he claimed to do to the doorknobs at the campaign headquarters and maybe he didn’t. Repulsive, but still funny.

    I get push polls conducted by douchbag campaigns trying to smear their opponents (mostly conservatives but sometimes not, most of the locals are Dems)and I hate them with the fury of a white hot nova. I find them far more egregious than this sort of out in the open stunt.

  54. 54
    MattR says:


    Did anybody who’s clutching their pearls actually read the linked article?
    Even if it’s not hyperbolic tongue-in-cheek (which was my take), “Steve” would be the least of the phone bank’s problems.

    Yep I read the whole thing yesterday. The Corwin campaign sounds like it is in complete disarray. But if Murphy was exaggerating and making up details about his calls why would we believe his details about the rest of the story? And if he was telling the truth about his calls, why bother messing around like that when the campaign was already imploding without his help?

  55. 55
    TimE says:

    @Cricket: No, I get what you’re saying, it’s just that the main point is how the Corwin campaign is essentially lying to the people whose votes they want. I find that *far* sleazier. I’m not saying that this prank is all sunshine and puppies, I just think that it’s not as bad as other things, like the kind of lying the Corwin campaign is doing.

  56. 56
    Fred says:


    The more you type the less I want to waste keystrokes. You sound like you were born yesterday.

  57. 57
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Fred: Okay, Fred, where would you draw a line? Obviously not here, but one assumes you would draw one somewhere. What is too far for Fred?

  58. 58
    mr. whipple says:

    I’m against it primarily on ethical, but also on prudential, grounds. How does he expect anybody, ever, to take the Green Party seriously now?

    Why would anyone ever take them seriously in the first place?

  59. 59
    Dennis SGMM says:


    I want to vote for someone better.

    I’d prefer a less-better Democrat to any fucking Republican. Deriding Murphy’s actions is like getting into a bar fight and yelling “Marquis of Queensbury Rules!” All you get are some honorable and ethical stitches from having the other guy cold conk you with a beer bottle.

  60. 60
    ShadeTail says:


    I didn’t argue anything about Murphey’s ethics. I pointed out how eye-rollingly stupid it is to complain about his busting the Corwin campaign on their tactics and political positions.

    As I made quite clear.

  61. 61
    MattR says:


    The more you type the less I want to waste keystrokes.

    In that case, I will keep typing if that means you will shut the fuck up. (Or was this comment not verbose enough for you)

  62. 62
    Ella in New Mexico says:


    Ugh. This is sleazy and accomplishes exactly nothing.

    Well, it made this demoralized citizen and chronic pain victim laugh her ass off, so it actually DID accomplish something, IMHO.

  63. 63
    joeyess says:

    Can I just remind everyone here crying foul over ethical behavior that politics is a contact sport? I know, I know…… we don’t want to stoop to their level and blah, blah, blah, but these people are damned well fucking determined to install a permanent under-class of service employees and cocktail waitresses and still demanding that strip clubs close and that all women should just accept their fate when it comes to reproductive rights or keep their legs closed.

    These draconian fools need to lose by hook or by crook. They need to be destroyed politically. Cast into the dustbin of history along side the Whigs and the Dixiecrats. They’re a dangerous bunch of Randian fools that care only for the America that they’ve conjured in their fucking heads. Reality is verboten, war is perpetual, poverty is someone else’s problem, health is a “personal responsibility” no matter what caused or how you got your cancer and Wall Street can do no wrong.

    The vast majority of them are living in a fantasy world where they’re not being shit on by wealthy plutocrats on a daily basis, but they’re just temporarily out of the club. It’s fucking delusional behavior that should never be rewarded with political power of any stripe.

    Jesus-fucking-KEeeeeRist! I don’t care how they lose or what unethical behavior brings it about. As long as it’s not illegal or violent, I’m all for twisting these twatwaffles until they turn blue. And by “blue”, I mean politically.

    They either get it or they get the fuck out of the way.

  64. 64
    shortstop says:

    @FuriousGiorge: I’m cryin’ over here.

  65. 65
    Cricket says:

    @TimE: Gotcha. I agree that the Corwin campaign is being sleazy in misrepresenting their candidate’s positions, and that that sleaziness is greater than Murphy’s.

    I suppose this stunt bothers me because I’ve been on the other side of it. I just can’t applaud the tactic.

  66. 66
    PaulW says:

    Illegal as hell. This shit isn’t funny when Nixon’s plumbers pulled this kind of prank in 1972.

  67. 67
    joeyess says:

    @PaulW: Huh? What exactly do you think Nixon’s “plumbers” were doing?

  68. 68
    The Moar You Know says:

    This makes some of you uncomfortable? Well, too bad. For once in my life, instead of a circular firing squad, why don’t we redirect our anger at Corwin? She’s got a robo-call from Allen “I’ll keep my hands of Medicare when it’s gone” West claiming that the Democrats are destroying medicare. And your pissed off at Murhpy? STFU. Once Hochul wins, then you can all write any blog comments about what a dick Ian Murphy is. Fight the right fucking enemy for once.

    @mws: What you said. I can’t believe I’ve read even one disapproving comment about this, let alone more. You fucking Juicers are a bunch of pussies who would rather get ratfucked to death, living under the iron fist of a Republican party that would love nothing more than to march you out to die in the desert without food, water, or clothes, rather than put up and fight and start doing what has been done to you for the last 30 years (start with James O’Keefe and work your way back to St. Reagan’s thugs).

    You people make me sick. Fuck all of you. You deserve to lose this one, you fucking holier-than-thou crybabies.

  69. 69
    bryanD says:

    If Ian Murphy’s adventure really happened, then the story should have been *better*. It would have *some* nuance; not be so much the set piece that suspiciously conforms to a friendly reader’s foremost comfortable assumptions. Such does not conform to real life.

    Also, the phone conversations f/ “iron fist” and other improvisations. I’ve volunteered at a campaign phone bank once and I’ve observed several more. These cold-callers are practically sitting on each others’ laps and everyone must talk loudly and there is no way a stranger like this Ian Murphy, with dyed hair, girl glasses, and a purse is not going to be watched….for the donuts’ sake if nothing else. The walls have eyes AND ears.

    The picture-document strikes me as gilding the lily, too. As if without it his story might not be totally believable to his own fans. So color me skeptical. Again: the story is not good enough to “ring true”. I’m going to file it under “Pic-ih-nic Basket, Yogi Bear”.

  70. 70
    Cricket says:

    @ShadeTail: It wasn’t clear to me, which is why I asked.

    For the record: I like having conversations with people I disagree with. Looking at the eye-rolling, waaahmbulance calling, etc. that my comment generated is making me think I made a mistake posting here.

  71. 71
    Steve says:

    That was a hilarious article. I don’t think most of the people complaining actually read it. I’m also not sure how people who thought was fair game have a huge problem with a phone call like this, because it’s essentially the same tactic.

  72. 72
    John says:

    If your actions require you to assume a false identity, you are over the line.

    (Note I say false, not anonymous or pseudonymous.)

  73. 73
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    You people make me sick. Fuck all of you. You deserve to lose this one, you fucking holier-than-thou crybabies.

    Thank you for sharing. Ethics and laws are meaningless as long as we get our way? Is that it? What if one of the things we want is a political process that respects ethics and laws? Yeah, politics isn’t bean bag, but it isn’t Hobbes’s state of nature either.

  74. 74
    SonofMog says:

    @bryanD: Murphy has been pulling stunts like this for years. People always doubt their veracity, and they always turns out to be true. I have no doubt that this event occurred as presented, with no embellishments. And just because space was cramped in your phone banking experience doesn’t mean all people have precisely your experience.

  75. 75
    Cricket says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: Good! Laughter is definitely a worthwhile outcome. I’ll amend my prior statement:

    This is sleazy, but it does provide some laughs.

  76. 76
    Paul in KY says:

    @Dennis SGMM: Good point. In politics, the winners write the rules.

  77. 77
    kevin says:

    You guys need to understand that this is what the Buffalo Beast does — they take their pranks to a fairly extreme/impressive level that makes people uncomfortable. I thought this was a hilarious story, even if it was unethical.

    If anything, this should show the ineptitude of the Corwin campaign’s volunteers and workers.

  78. 78
    chopper says:

    can’t it be both unethical and funny? like porky pig raping elmer fudd?

  79. 79
    FuriousGiorge says:

    @chopper: Of course. These are not mutually exclusive things.

  80. 80

    @ppcli: It’s a four candidate race, right?

    I might feel some sympathy for Corwin if this kind of ruse was accomplished using people off the street.

    But it’s the candidate. If the paid staff doesn’t recognize the opposing candidate… caveat emptor bitches!

    At some point people need to accept some responsibility for knowing things they should know.

    Freedom is a terrible burden.

    BTW, people should read the link. The Corwin staffer directs the volunteers to say whatever it takes about Medicare to get the votes. If the voter likes Medicare, portray Corwin as improving the current program. If the voter doesn’t like Medicare, portray Corwin as favoring it be dismantled.

  81. 81
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:


    can’t it be both unethical and funny?

    Yes it can be both.

    I don’t think I’ve ever laughed as hard in my life over something political as I did over HST’s account from Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail 1972 of what happened when he loaned his press pass to Peter Sheridan aka The Gin-Soaked Boho, who used it to hitch a ride on the Muskie campaign’s Sunshine Express whistlestop train right before the Florida primary and ended up terrorizing everyone on the train including the candidate. But that don’t make it right.

  82. 82

    How would we get evidence of Republicans behaving unethically if it weren’t for a little undercover work?

  83. 83
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Carl Nyberg: I have less of a problem with the undercover work aspect of it than I do the sabotage aspect.

  84. 84
    jwest says:

    Hang your heads in shame, liberals.

  85. 85
    shortstop says:

    @Carl Nyberg: That’s some nice snark.

  86. 86

    @Omnes Omnibus: I think that’s a reasonable position.

    Sending people into campaigns as volunteers and gaining information is OK.

    Sending people in to participate and undermine the campaign from within crosses an ethical line.

  87. 87
    maus says:


    Hang your heads in shame, liberals.

    A million of these guys wouldn’t have the reach and media adoration of Breitbart’s stooges.

    We’re not encouraging it, but you can’t seriously believe this will have any scope or wide-reaching effects.

  88. 88
    The Moar You Know says:

    Hang your heads in shame, liberals.

    @jwest: Not hardly. Your party’s been sodomizing the country, the political process, and human decency since the days of Nixon; and I can only attest to it going back that far as I wasn’t alive beforehand.

    When we’ve been doing it for 40 years straight, give me a call. I’ll tell you you’re an asshole, because at that point we’ll be nothing more than even.

  89. 89
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @maus: Yeah, I don’t feel much responsibility for the actions of a candidate from a political party I do not support doing things of which I generally disapprove. Maybe I’m just weird that way.

    Edited slightly

  90. 90
    Citizen_X says:

    @Carl Nyberg: I agree with that.

  91. 91
    Peter J says:

    I guess for a lot of people in this thread, the only thing wrong about O’Keefe is that he’s a republican…

  92. 92
    David in NY says:

    @bryanD: I agree. I can’t believe he wasn’t overheard if he actually said some of this stuff, either. Furthermore, I never heard of anybody phone banking keeping somebody on the line for 20 minutes.

    So odd. Calls at this point in a campaign are not, in my experience, to convince people. They’re to make sure your own folks come out. Or perhaps it’s early enough to screen for which voters are on your side, pending a later GOTV call. But if somebody is obviously strongly against your candidate, the point is not to waste time on them, but to find people on your side and get them out.

    This smells.

    And if this weren’t a Republican operation, and if Republicans were not all practically certifiable, I’d be 100% sure it was a fake story.

  93. 93
    Judas Escargot says:

    FYI, the Republicans don’t even have to wait for the results to come in before running to those ‘activist’ courts they so despise.

    Oh well, at least they let us go through the motions of voting.

    And you pantywaists are worried about decorum? No wonder I refuse to call myself a “Liberal” in public anymore.

  94. 94
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Judas Escargot: Who said anything about decorum?

  95. 95
    MikeB says:

    Murphy is a satirist. Was it unethical for Sascha Baron Cohen to pose as
    Borat or Bruno in order to spoof various unsuspecting groups or individuals?

    Please. The Buffalo Beast (where Taibbi started out by the way) is a humor
    site best known for it’s annual “50 Most Loathesome” lists. Murphy’s
    Koch/call to Walker was inspired and exposed the governor as a shill for
    powerful interests, something the MSM is reluctant to do.

    The Beast’s version of Corwin’s website is hilarious as well, urging voters to be sure to vote tomorrow (the election is today).

    Unethical or funny, you decide, I’m going with funny.

  96. 96
    beergoggles says:

    @David in NY:

    Furthermore, I never heard of anybody phone banking keeping somebody on the line for 20 minutes.

    You’ve never called old people to gotv have you? Between the offcolor jokes and tales of their kids and other pains they have, it can easily fill 20 minutes if you don’t have the experience to cut them off without letting them know you’re doing it.

  97. 97
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeB: Were Murphy not an actual candidate in the election, I would agree with you.

  98. 98
    maus says:

    @beergoggles: Back in ye olden days when I did graveyard shift support, the older customers would literally buy computers just to get a person on the line to speak with. 24 hour, multi-year warranties went pretty far for the social element, at least. Plenty of people on fixed incomes would call and chat for as long as you would let them about their lives and phantom “problems” with their computers that didn’t exist.

  99. 99

    Murphy is a prankster. This is what he’s known for.

    It seems like it’s a little unfair to ask Murphy to sheath his only weapon, a weapon the Corwin campaign was presumably aware of.

    Murphy did something that gave the Corwin people a fair chance to stop him.

    Is Murphy a candidate? Well, he’s on the ballot, but if the Corwin campaign considered him a factor, don’t you think they should recognize him?

    At some point Team Corwin has to take some responsibility for their ineptitude.

  100. 100
    MikeB says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: He filed the papers, it’s true, but he was excluded from debates, ignored by the local media
    and branded a “gag” candidate. On his campaign website, he offers some
    progressive views on the issues, interspersed with satirical bits.

    I agree the line is somewhat fuzzy here, but certainly Murphy’s motivation going
    in was to make a point, not win the election, making the ethics issue
    irrelevant IMO.

  101. 101
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeB: I think he goes over the line; as I noted above, I am more bothered by the sabotage than the sneaking in. If you are a candidate, you should be held to the standard of other candidates. If you are a satirist/journalist, you have license to do things that a candidate cannot/should not do. I don’t think he gets to claim both roles.

  102. 102
    Judas Escargot says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Who said anything about decorum?

    I did.

    Because, with ZERO chance of winning this election (or even placing second), Murphy’s entire candidacy is itself an act of satire. He’s certainly not going to see any direct ill-gotten gain or benefit from this election, and he knows it.

    Also, too, he’s both a known prankster AND a declared candidate– as Carl Nyberg just pointed out, it’s not Murphy’s fault that the mouthbreathers at Corwin headquarters were too stupid/uninformed to recognize him.

    I’m sure the fake janecorwin site fooled at least a few people, for a few minutes. And Stephen Colbert has made an entire career out of similar pranks. Are these threats to democracy and the rule of law, too?

    So yes, IMO some folks are fluttering their handkerchiefs over a simple, trivial matter of decorum. And not much else.

  103. 103
    Han's Solo says:

    @Peter J: “I guess for a lot of people in this thread, the only thing wrong about O’Keefe is that he’s a republican…”

    No, that isn’t it at all. O’Keefe’s problem is that he edits his videos so that they misrepresent his victims actions.

    I wouldn’t have a problem with him dressing up as a pimp and attempting a sting operation. Who cares?

  104. 104
    MikeB says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Ah, but he was not given the chance to be held to the standard of other candidates. The powers
    that be decided that he was not a “real” candidate, and he was not allowed to
    present his ideas in the public forum along with the other candidates thanks to some establishment
    screening process that makes sure the two party system is protected from
    rabble rousers, (Nader for example). I would argue that the political power structure can’t have
    it both ways either. Let Murphy be part of the process or be prepared to
    suffer the consequences of disrespecting an accomplished prankster.

  105. 105
    SonofMog says:

    @Han’s Solo: Indeed. If ACORN actually were enabling child prostitution, then O’Keefe would be a damn hero.

  106. 106
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @MikeB: A valid point.

  107. 107
    Rihilism says:

    @Carl Nyberg: Funny and unethical, IMO. For me the most unethical part is participating in the harassment of the people Corwin’s campaign staff are incessantly calling. Granted, Corwin’s campaign would do this anyway, but it’s the harassment in furtherance of a prank that rubs me the wrong way.

    Walker is a public figure, but the people being called are not. Most probably just want to be left alone and are probably pretty pissed about the harassment. Knowing that someone is calling them as a stunt would probably piss them off even more and since they didn’t exactly deserve to be harassed in the first place, it would probably make the harassment just a bit shittier to endure. Probably…

  108. 108
    Rihilism says:

    @Judas Escargot:

    And Stephen Colbert has made an entire career out of similar pranks.

    I’m not sure about this. I don’t recall Stephen going after someone who didn’t deserve to be mocked or who wasn’t in on the joke. The guy Murphy called wasn’t in on the joke…

  109. 109
    Arclite says:

    Okay, that’s FUCKING HILARIOUS. It’s almost a shame Ian Murphy won’t get elected.

  110. 110
    Arclite says:

    I’m not sure about this. I don’t recall Stephen going after someone who didn’t deserve to be mocked or who wasn’t in on the joke. The guy Murphy called wasn’t in on the joke…

    No harm, no foul.

  111. 111
  112. 112
    NonyNony says:


    I’m not sure about this. I don’t recall Stephen going after someone who didn’t deserve to be mocked or who wasn’t in on the joke. The guy Murphy called wasn’t in on the joke…

    If you’re talking about the linked article:

    1) “The guy Murphy called” was the guy that Corwin’s “get out the vote” operation told him to call

    2) “The guy Murphy called” had angrily responded to the call – directed by the campaign staff, remember – with a “what the fuck is wrong with you people” bit of anger

    3) At that point Murphy responded with a joke because what the fuck why not? The campaign had already alienated the guy – the joke might actually have helped defuse the situation a bit.

    This isn’t Murphy going out there and doing this to make Corwin look bad – if what he says is an accurate representation of her phone bank, they’re doing it to themselves. Murphy went in and found a dysfunctional GOTV operation – the one-off gag is less sabotage and more the kinds of jokes the people in Hell tell each other to get through the day.

    And his story actually rings true – stupid College Republican me phone banked for George W Bush back in ’92 (when I was an idiot) and it was hands down one of the worst experiences of my life because the guys running the goddamn phone bank used that exact same strategy – if the person on the list didn’t say they were going to vote for Bush they went on another list and got a call back a few days later. And being the poor idiot who called back someone who had already said “fuck off and die dirtbags” is not what I’d call a “fun” experience…

  113. 113
    Rihilism says:

    @NonyNony: I should have been clearer. I was responding to the idea that Colbert had built his career out of similar pranks. To my knowledge, he hasn’t.

  114. 114
    stickler says:

    This is an old game, and when played well works. Calling it “dirty” is, as someone put it above, like yelling “Queensbury Rules” in a barfight.

    Hell, the master of the game got his start ratfucking Nixon’s Senate campagin back in 1950. Dick Tuck, anyone? (Tuck continued to sabotage Nixon from 1950 right up until Watergate. He’s the one who had Chinese posters painted with “What about the huge loan?” for a 1962 Nixon rally in LA’s Chinatown … among many, many other pranks.)

  115. 115
    Rihilism says:

    @NonyNony: Let me also state that I’d never be able to pull this stunt off. As soon as I got off the phone with the angry guy, I’d have stood up, slammed the phone and computer against the wall, screamed “What the fuck is wrong with you motherfuckers! Why don’t you just leave these people alone!”, and stormed out slamming the door behind me.

    For the same reason, telemarketing was never a good career option for me…

  116. 116
    shortstop says:

    @stickler: Hughes loan, not huge loan. As in Howard Hughes. That was a classic.

  117. 117
    stickler says:


    Wikipedia says the sign was supposed to say “Hughes loan” (to Tricky Dick’s brother), but the actual Chinese characters read “huge loan.” Doesn’t make much difference, I suppose.

    Even better: in 1968 the Nixon for President campaign had a bunch of ethnic outreach materials printed up in (I think) Chicago. Some was in Greek, some in other non-Latin alphabets. Someone saw the pamphlets laying in a neat pile, immediately presumed it was another Dick Tuck prank, and had thousands of dollars worth of material shredded. Of course, it wasn’t a Dick Tuck prank and they wasted a bunch of money because of paranoia.

    Someone found the audio on the Watergate tapes where Nixon actually said “You’re good, Segretti, but you’re no Dick Tuck.” This was just a couple of years ago; they recorded this segment and drove it out to Tuck, who’s still living in some Arizona nursing home. He apparently got a kick out of that.

  118. 118
    Lavocat says:

    This made me laugh out loud. Very funny shit!

    I would have kept repeating “We must break you”, in a monotone, into the phone, making sure to keep calling the same people.

    Nothing like engaging in aggravated harassment!

  119. 119
    keestadoll says:

    Hilarious comments in here over this. As if campaigning is EVER ethical. Fuck. More often than not, it’s a blood sport with intermittent comic relief. Yep–a circus, with breathtaking stunts and the stupid clowns that come out with obvious sight-gagging and squirt bottles.

  120. 120
    Karen says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    You people make me sick. Fuck all of you. You deserve to lose this one, you fucking holier-than-thou crybabies

    So I can assume when a Republican rapes a female Democrat that you’ll be the first in line to rape a Republican?

    And where is your gun, a Tea Party nutbag shot Gifford, I’d say that if you shoot Sarah Palin it should be equal.

    I know that the GOP plays dirty. By getting in the dirt with them, we’re no better than they are. But hey, it’s better to be winning scumbags than to be decent people who are losers, right?

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t fight back, we should. But fight back the way Obama does, by having all his ducks in a row and sneaking up on his oponents but by most of all, not by cheating.

    Be sure to tell your kid to cheat on their test because after all it only matters if you win, not if you do it fairly.

  121. 121
    shortstop says:

    @stickler: Right you are, stick. I’d never heard that about the “huge” error. All funny stuff. Dick Tuck would be a lot of fun to have dinner with.

  122. 122
    SonofMog says:

    @Karen: Yeah, this is just like rape and murder, you idiot.

  123. 123
    Syndicalist says:

    mistermix, shouldn’t you be writing about what an awful person you think Ian Murphy is because he’s running for office as a Green instead of supporting the Democratic Party?

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