"Madame, bear in mind That princes govern all things--save the wind." -Victor Hugo, The Infanta's Rose

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Secret Agent of Change" or, "Just Call Me Mr."

You may recall -- unless you have a really short attention span, in which case you should click here -- that a few days ago I came up with what I thought would be a really nifty theme song for Barack Obama. By making this idea public on the blog, I may have even secretly hoped that the candidate himself might hear of it, and realizing that my brilliant mind could be a great asset to his organization, offer to employ me as his Media Director -- or at the very least his official Theme Songs Czar. Hey, I'm qualified: I enjoyed listening to Tom Lehrer back in the 60's, so I know the value of a cleverly satirical melody with political overtones.

But then I realized that anyone from the Obama group might have a difficult time finding my post without constructing a very specific search query, so I thought I might help bring it to their attention by writing them about it. There's a place on the "contact us" page of Obama's website for "other thoughts and questions" which would seem to be a highly appropriate place to address the topic of, "hey, you should check out this song that is guaranteed to make people boogie in the aisles at your campaign stops." (I'm all about the helping.) The form required me to enter my first and last name, so to avoid any possibility of confusion due to the fact that my real name would have no obvious connection to the blog, I typed "Last name: Toast", and "First name: Mr." into the contact form. I even hinted in my message that I was one of those "undecided" voters that candidates devote so much attention to, and that I might be persuaded to actually vote for Mr. Obama if he could adequately address some of my serious concerns about the future of this nation, for example:

• Appointing a presidential commission to study the possibility of designating beer as the "National Beverage of America", a panel for which I would gladly volunteer to be a member;

• Offering large lump-sum tax-free cash compensation as reparation to certain individuals who have suffered lasting psychological damage as a result of tragic past events in our nation's history -- and by "certain individuals", I am referring to readers of this blog;

• Sending Ann Coulter and Michelle Malkin to the Guantanamo Bay Terrorist Detention Center to investigate conditions there, and conveniently "misplacing" their return tickets home;

I have many more concerns, but these will do for starters.

To be honest, I really didn't expect much to happen; but amazingly, not long after clicking the "submit form" button, I'll be damned if I didn't get an e-mail reply! Although I must say I was initially a little disappointed, I still knew that someone had actually read my message and taken it under advisement, because the email was addressed to me personally!
Dear Mr.:

Thank you for contacting Obama for America, and sharing your ideas for Senator Obama. The volume of messages we are receiving has exceeded all expectations. While it is difficult to respond to thousands of messages a week as efficiently as we would like, the level of interest and nature of the comments reflected in these communications are very gratifying.

Barack knows well that Washington does not have a monopoly on good ideas, and neither does he. That is why it's important to hear from everyone, and we will take your ideas under consideration. Your thoughts on our campaign and America's future are deeply appreciated.
Do you see that, people? My thoughts are "deeply appreciated" by an actual presidential candidate! How cool is that? As if that wasn't enough, a few days later I received another email, this time no less than a personal message from Barack's wife, Michelle Obama. (I hope he doesn't mind his wife carrying on these conversations with total strangers on the internet; you know how freaky the web can be.) But as I read Michelle's letter to me, I realized that I actually had something special that she and the rest of the Obama organization urgently wanted:

Thank you so much for writing. Right now, all across the country, thousands of Americans are taking their seat at the table and shaping the outcome of this election. One of the more than 100,000 donors who have given in 2008 is promising to give again if you make your donation today. Now is the time to own a piece of this campaign. We are building up our organization to compete in all fifty states, and your gift will help us reach our goal.
And that "something" ... is money.

This week has seen regular correspondence from the Obama team asking me to input my thoughts, my ideas for the future, and most importantly, my cash. It is good to know that I'm such a valuable asset to the organization. Today I received a message from former presidential candidate Senator John Kerry, alerting me to a slime email that is circulating that claims Obama is a Muslim who refuses to recite the pledge of allegiance, as well as other falsehoods. I'll have to admit I was skeptical at first when I saw the return address "John Kerry" in my inbox and thought it might be spam, but the Senator again addressed me personally:
Dear Mr.,

I support Barack Obama because he doesn't seek to perfect the politics of Swiftboating -- he seeks to end it. This is personal for me, and for a whole lot of Americans who lived through the 2004 election.

As a veteran, it disgusts me that the Swift Boats we loved while we were in uniform on the Mekong Delta have been rendered, in Karl Rove's twisted politics, an ugly verb meaning to lie about someone's character just to win an election. But as someone who cares about winning this election and changing the country I love, I know it's not enough to complain about a past we can't change when our challenge is to win the future -- which is why we must stop the Swiftboating, stop the push-polling, stop the front groups, and stop the email chain smears.

This year, the attacks are already starting. Some of you may have heard about the disgusting lies about Barack Obama that are being circulated by email. These attacks smear Barack's Christian faith and deep patriotism, and they distort his record of more than two decades of public service. They are nothing short of "Swiftboat" style anonymous attacks.

These are the same tactics the right has used again and again, and as we've learned, these attacks, no matter how bogus, can spread and take root if they go unchecked.

We need you to email the truth to your address books. Print it out and post it at work. Talk to your neighbors. Call your local radio station. Write a letter to the editor. If lies can be spread virally, let's prove to the cynics that the truth can be every bit as persuasive as it is powerful.

Thank you,
John Kerry
Kidding aside for a moment, this is an important issue, and if someone happens to forward you this particular slanderously distorted email, I hope you will reply with the facts and set them straight. The truth should be the truth, regardless of what your political leanings happen to be.

In conclusion, while there's been no definite word as to whether he wants to use my theme song suggestion, I'm still glad to know that I qualify for these regular updates from Senator Obama. Who knows, I might even vote for the guy, especially if he promises to investigate the conspiracy regarding the "Seabed Nectar" secret ingredient in Slusho, which causes people to burst open at the seams. (Do not drink Slusho! You have been warned!)


  • At 1/23/2008 04:20:00 PM, Blogger Chandira said…

    I love that Ann Coulter/Michele Malkin idea. I'd vote for you for President, on that basis.
    So long as you sent that freaky blonde bitch from Fox News along for the ride. With a one way ticket also. I don't want to ever see her on my tv again. Ugh.. Not that I watch Fox, except when accidentally, during a bout of channel surfing.

  • At 1/24/2008 08:23:00 AM, Blogger SupaCoo said…

    This is demonstrating my extreme reluctance to EVER give my e-mail address out.

  • At 1/27/2008 09:58:00 PM, Blogger Sphincter said…

    That is all disturbing. I once e-mailed Howard Stern's show and didn't receive that level of bizarre response. (Of course, I created a throw-away e-mail address to use expressly for that reason. I'm not a total glutton for punishment.)

  • At 1/28/2008 02:34:00 AM, Blogger Mr. Toast said…

    Howard Stern, you say? Now there's a story that begs to be told... :-0

    I do indeed have a plethora of email addresses (some more anonymous and/or transient than others) that I use for various purposes like this. And to be fair, all of the messages I have received from my new pal Barack have an "opt-out" link at the bottom, so I could stop them any time I wanted. (It would make sense that he would be somewhat responsible about that sort of thing and not want to piss off potential voters.) But strangely enough, I'm actually kind of enjoying them. Go figure.

  • At 1/28/2008 07:20:00 PM, Blogger Sphincter said…

    It was the primary before the dreadful Al Gore vs. Bush election. Many vermin/reporters were on the loose in NH. The Hub and I were interviewed and the resulting story bore almost no resemblance that what we actually said. So, I was looking for somebody unafraid to piss off the NY Times. And you know what? He talked about it on his show. I'm not shitting you. Naturally, I missed the show. One of the Hub's co-workers told us.


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